China aid to Pacific nations plunged as Australia’s spending soared in 2020, new report finds
- Australia and New Zealand provided one-third of all aid to the Pacific region in 2020, according to a new report by the Lowy Institute think tank
- Chinese aid, meanwhile, dropped to its lowest level since 2008 and was mainly focused on Kiribati and Solomon Islands – recent converts to Beijing
The Lowy Institute’s annual Pacific Aid Map showed Chinese aid to the region dropped to US$187 million in 2020, its lowest since the institute began tracking aid flows in 2008.
Dayant said the overall drop in Chinese aid to the region comes amid negative publicity about the cost of Chinese infrastructure loans, and Pacific island nations having more choice.
Australia, which has committed A$600 million in infrastructure loans since 2019, is becoming a prominent Pacific lender and needed to take “considerable care” it did not contribute to the region’s debt problems, the report said.
Australia last week said it would spend another A$900 million (US$576.9 million) in Pacific aid.