26 Feb 2015

China flexibility an asset to Pacific aid projects

3:38 pm on 26 February 2015

An academic says Pacific Island nations have become savvy at securing international partnerships that shape their development.

Paul D'Arcy, from the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific, is one of the speakers at this week's 'China and the Pacific' conference at the National University of Samoa which is examining the Chinese role in the region.

Delegates have noted an increase in Chinese aid projects in the Pacific region.

Dr D'Arcy says Island governments have learnt how to seek out beneficial aid partnerships and the Chinese are good at listening to what the islands want.

"What we are now seeing is the nature of Chinese aid, is that we get Chinese entrepreneurs or Chinese companies coming and saying what do you want? Because they have to go sell that then to Chinese state banks and so it's very much more so a partnership at a ground level getting these aid programmes going."

Paul D'Arcy says China is flexible and learning more about aid delivery by working with other donor countries in the Pacific, such as with Australia on malaria prevention in Papua New Guinea, and with New Zealand on a water project in the Cook Islands.