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Topics / Emerging Global Order

New Interactive Database Tracks China’s Global Development Funding

Mapping the footprints of half a trillion dollars given by Chinese policy banks to foreign governments


From 2008 to 2019, Chinese policy banks gave close to half a trillion dollars to foreign governments. A new interactive database that maps these development finance projects with their specific geographic footprints, created with Corporation support by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, allows users to explore the proximity of these finance projects to indigenous people’s lands, critical habitats, and national protected areas.

In the webinar above, principal researchers at the Global Development Policy Center involved in the creation of the database explain how users can examine the specific geographic footprints of 615 development finance projects.

The launch of the database has prompted coverage by Project Syndicate, which reports that “between 2008 and 2019, China’s global development finance totaled $462 billion, just $5 billion short of the World Bank’s sovereign commitments in the same period.” The Financial Times used the database to reveal a sharp decrease in lending from last year as China regroups amid growing criticism of its Belt and Road Initiative, which finances and builds transportation infrastructure in predominantly developing countries. According to Kevin Gallagher, director of the Global Development Policy Center, the U.S.’s trade war with Beijing is another reason for the dramatic decrease.

Top: An aerial photo taken on April 12, 2019 shows the Lotus Tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Sri Lanka and China signed the Lotus Tower agreement in 2012 to build the highest TV tower in South Asia. (Credit: Xinhua/Guo Lei via Getty Images)