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Veronica Toffolutti- Imperial College London

Veronica Toffolutti (Imperial College London) will present "Chinese Aid to Africa : A Curse or a Blessing ? Evidence on Female Empowerment from 22 Sub-Saharan African Countries" with A. Aassve, M. Le Moglie and E. Paglino.

Abstract :
China is one of the world’s largest providers of foreign aid in Asia, Latin America and especially in Africa. Despite that, the potential impact of Chinese investment in employment has barely been studied. This study investigates the role of aid funded by Chinese investors in achieving female empowerment. Using a compendium of individual-level data for 22 Sub-Saharan countries over the period 2000-2014, our preliminary results suggest that Chinese aid is associated with a significantly higher probability for an African woman to be employed. The effect appears to persist up to six years after the aid allocation. In doing so, this study makes an important contribution to this area by linking geo-located information about Chinese aid projects with geocoded individuals’ sampled in the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Employing detailed information about the timing of aid projects, we are able to assess the impact on those individuals located near the project, and consequently, track several aspects of their behaviour. In particular, we assess whether aid affects women’s empowerment, by estimating the effect on their employment prospects. Beside this technical contribution, the study offers several substantive insights. First, the literature has dedicated much space to China and its activities as an emerging donor. It has done so in terms of outcomes for the receiving countries, but the emphasis lies firmly on macro-economic and governance-related outcomes, and in a few cases, health outcomes. The extent to which Chinese aid might improve female empowerment has been almost entirely neglected. Second, assessments of aid on female empowerment are typically analyzed within the realm of World Bank and NGOs operations. Chinese aid in contrast potentially differs in the way the funds are allocated. In particular, Chinese aid is often tied to commercial projects and is thus not necessarily geared towards the neediest. In other words, the effects of Chinese aid are not necessarily the same as other forms of aid. Third, by focusing on female empowerment, this study homes in on one of the central mechanisms underlying the relationship between aid and economic development, as well as on health. Importantly, Chinese aid can influence the employment of African women directly, via the creation of new jobs, or indirectly via improvements in women’s education. These kinds of improvements might, in turn, increase labour supply or its quality. Our study disentangles these two mechanisms by focusing on women who have completed their education.

février 2021 :

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janvier 2021 | mars 2021