Challenges or Complements for the West: Is there an ‘Asian’ Model of Aid Emerging?

  • Marie Söderberg
Part of the Rethinking International Development Series book series (RID)


Japan was the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA)1 in absolute terms during the 1990s and still is one of the largest donors. As the only Asian member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) it is bound by many of the rules of this committee, which consists of donors with a Western, Christian background. Still, Japan has always been somewhat of an odd man out in this community of donors. The country has a belief in development through industrialisation and a concept of aid that is firmly integrated into a wider concept of economic cooperation. Japan’s aid has consisted, to a much greater extent than that of other donors, of bilateral loans and the building of economic infrastructure in the form of roads, railways, ports and power plants. Recently a number of Asian former recipients of Japanese aid have become donors themselves. China, South Korea, Thailand and other Asian states are emerging as donors (some of them with an older tradition in the field). Their ways of giving aid, or cooperating with developing countries, as they prefer to call it, have been mediated by their own experience of development. There are certain common features among the Asian donors, such as an emphasis on loan aid and infrastructure. This chapter gives an overview and analysis of Japanese, Chinese, South Korean and Thai aid policies, and explores how such ‘Asian alternatives’ may constitute a challenge or a complement to Western mainstream international aid.


Gross National Income Asian Development Bank Official Development Assistance Development Assistance Committee Concessional Loan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Marie Söderberg 2010

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  • Marie Söderberg

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