28 Feb 2015

China aid transparency in Pacific questioned

8:13 am on 28 February 2015

Concerns about a lack of transparency over China's aid have been discussed at a major forum on the countrys role in the Pacific Islands region.

The 'China and the Pacific: The View from Oceania' conference has just concluded at the National University of Samoa in Apia.

While delegates heard that China has rapidly become the region's third biggest aid donor, official data on China's aid programmes have not been readily available.

The Lowy Institute for Public Policy's Dr Philippa Brant says the non-transparency of the aid can lead to misperceptions.

"I think the challenge is that we do have an expectation around transparency with some of our traditional development partners and the challenge for China is, it has a small bureaucracy managing a rather large programme now it's one of the largest donors in the world, and their statistical ability is not at the same level as other donors, and so we have an expectation on China that at the moment they can't meet."

Dr Philippa Brant says China's traditional hesitancy to release details about its aid programme makes it difficult to find out the true value of Chinese aid.