GDP Center Research Shows Decline in Chinese Overseas Development Finance

The Global Development Policy Center (GDP Center), an affiliated center of Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, has released new findings from the China’s Overseas Development Finance (CODF) Database exploring the downward trend in Chinese overseas development finance and whether China will return to large scale lending levels. 

These new findings come courtesy of a policy brief – “‘Small is Beautiful;’ A New Era in China’s Overseas Development Finance?” – published by Rebecca Ray, Senior Academic Researcher at GDP Center. The brief shares insights on the state of China’s overseas development finance from 2008-2021 and how borrowers, sectors, and loan types have changed over the years. Among the research’s key findings was that China’s overseas development finance has fallen in both total monetary value and in the geographic footprint of financed projects. This trend is emblematic of the “small is beautiful” approach to Chinese economic engagement in recent years, which prioritizes smaller and more targeted projects.

The full policy brief and an outline of other key findings can be read on the GDP Center’s website. Read coverage of the Center’s findings in ANI, Asia Financial, Asian Banking and Finance, the Associated Press, China Global South Project, Politico, and Reuters.

Launched in 2020, the CODF Database is the first global, harmonized, validated, and geolocated record of Chinese overseas development finance. It covers the years 2008-2021 and includes loan commitments from China’s two main development finance institutions (DFIs), the China Development Bank (CDB) and Export-Import Bank of China (CHEXIM), to governments, inter-governmental bodies, majority state-owned entities and minority state-owned entities with sovereign guarantees. Explore the CODF on the GDP Center’s website.

The GDP Center is a university-wide research center affiliated with the Pardee School of Global Studies. Founded in 2017, the center aims to advance financial stability, human well-being, and environmental sustainability across the globe. Learn more on the GDP Center website.