II. Financial Resources for Foreign Aid
Financial resources provided by China for foreign aid mainly fall into three types: grants (aid gratis), interest-free loans and concessional loans. The first two come from China's state finances, while concessional loans are provided by the Export-Import Bank of China as designated by the Chinese government. By the end of 2009, China had provided a total of 256.29 billion yuan in aid to foreign countries, including 106.2 billion yuan in grants, 76.54 billion yuan in interest-free loans and 73.55 billion yuan in concessional loans.
Foreign aid expenditure is part of the state expenditure, under the unified management of the Ministry of Finance in its budgets and final accounts system. The Ministry of Commerce and other departments under the State Council that are responsible for the management of foreign aid handle financial resources for foreign aid in their own departments in accordance with their respective jurisdictions. Each of these departments draws up a budget for foreign aid projects every year and submits it to the Ministry of Finance for examination, and then to the State Council and the National People's Congress for approval and implementation. Each department controls and manages its own funds for foreign aid projects in its budget. The Ministry of Finance and the National Audit Office supervise and audit the implementation of foreign aid budget funds of these departments based on relevant state laws, regulations and financial rules.
Grants are mainly used to help recipient countries to build hospitals, schools and low-cost houses, and support well-digging or water-supply projects, and other medium and small projects for social welfare. In addition, grants are used in projects in the fields of human resources development cooperation, technical cooperation, assistance in kind and emergency humanitarian aid.
Interest-free loans are mainly used to help recipient countries to construct public facilities and launch projects to improve people's livelihood. The tenure of such loans is usually 20 years, including five years of use, five years of grace and ten years of repayment. Currently, interest-free loans are mainly provided to developing countries with relatively good economic conditions.
Concessional loans are mainly used to help recipient countries to undertake productive projects generating both economic and social benefits and large and medium-sized infrastructure projects, or to provide complete plant, mechanical and electrical products, technical services and other materials. Concessional loans are raised by the Export-Import Bank of China on the market, and since the loan interest is lower than the benchmark interest of the People's Bank of China, the difference is made up by the State as financial subsidies. At present, the annual interest rate of China's concessional loans is between 2% and 3%, and the period of repayment is usually 15 to 20 years (including five to seven years of grace). By the end of 2009, China had provided concessional loans to 76 foreign countries, supporting 325 projects, of which 142 had been completed. Of China's concessional loans, 61% are used to help developing countries to construct transportation, communications and electricity infrastructure, and 8.9% are used to support the development of energy and resources such as oil and minerals.
[Figure 1 Sectorial Distribution of Concessional Loans from China (by the end of 2009)]
| Graphics shows the figures of sectoral distribution of concessional loans from China to other developing countries by the end of 2009, according to a white paper on China's foreign aid issued by China's Information Office of the State Council on April 21, 2011. (Xinhua/China's Information Office of the State Council)