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The Panel Forum of International Development Aid Held in Yingjie Exchange Center

On the morning of November 4th, the panel forum of “International development aids” has been held in Sunlight Hall of the Yingjie Exchange Center at Peking University. Five speakers presented their studies on international aids, One Belt and One Road Initiatives (BRI) and others. 

The first session is chaired by Pro Minquan Liu, Peking University. 

Dr Wei Ha, Professor of Institute of Economics of Education, Graduate School of Education, Peking University, presented his study on “Do Chinese Government Scholarships target resources in Africa”. In order to answer the criticism by certain politicians and media that China has been practicing new colonialism in Africa, Dr.Ha’s study analyses whether the Chinese government’s scholarships, an increasingly important form of China’s foreign assistance, indeed target the African countries rich in energy resources. He applied the official and authoritative data on Chinese government’s scholarship and the two-way fixed effects model and fined no evidence that Chinese aid targets energy resources in Africa. We find no evidence that the allocation of Chinese student’s scholarship targets natural resources in Africa, exogenous energy discovery seems to have no statistically significant effect on student scholarship. On the contrary, population and years of diplomatic relations are the two consistent factors for the allocation of scholarship. 

The second speaker is South African researcher David Monyae, who presented “Africa and china”. Africa is a place where has lots of opportunity to grows up, however, at the same time, it also has a lot of challenges in dealing with low employment rate, low efficiency, in agriculture productivity, low rate of industrialization and highly depending on international aid. David thinks China`s development has lessons for Africa. Although china did not experienced colonialism period, China has played important role for African development. For example, in and after Bandung Conference, China supported the African countries to be independent, and china has just help to against Ebola virus in Africa. China has just launched the One Belt and One Road Initiative (BRI), this will provide a good opportunity for Africa to be involved in global value chain. This is different from the traditional international aid, it will dress the African countries up to a new development stage rather than doing simple export. The BRI does not only have infrastructure, it will help partner countries to improve their ability for self-development. 

The third speaker is Prof. Dong-Myeon Shin from Kyung Hee University. He speaks “Towards A Dynamic Social Security in South Korea”. Since the 1997 economic crisis, the social security system in South Korea has been reformed to become more redistributive and comprehensive. However, the country has experienced growing income inequality and poverty, raising future concerns about the sustainable growth of the national economy. This deterioration in welfare outcomes can be explained as a result of socioeconomic structural changes, including globalization, post-industrialization and an ageing society. Yet, a more important reason is to be found in the reality that the social security system has not effectively addressed increasing income inequality, which reflects the dualism of the labor market. The social security system is faced with institutional difficulties in coping with increasing social risks driven by the impacts of socioeconomic and structural changes. The institutional problem of broad blind spots in coverage among irregular and self-employed workers hampers the social security system in building institutional complementarities between the production regime and welfare regime. Thus, a comprehensive approach is required to break down the country`s labor market dualism, including improved social insurance coverage and expanded training opportunities for irregular workers. Self-employed workers should also be eligible for social security and job training services provided by the government. In addition, the public assistance programs have to be reformed with respect to their eligibility conditions for receiving benefits, to provide a social safety net for all in need. Lastly, in order to cope with the social risks of ageing society, social services should become one of the core elements of the South Korean social security system. When these measures are implemented, social welfare policies will not only contribute to social integration, but also enable sustainable economic growth. 

The second section is chaired by Prof. Qingjie Xia, Peking University. 

The fourth speaker is Prof. John West from Sophia University, Japan. His topic is “China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Framework of International Development Assistance”. Prof West pointed out that in the traditional international development and aid system, western countries was taking control. Since China issued BRI and established AIIB, it brings positive challenges to the international development and aid system. BRI enhanced the connection between China and neighbor countries, as well as connections between Eurasian and Afro-Asian countries. It drives international trade. The establishment of AIIB contributes to fix the huge gap in the area of Asian infrastructure investment. However, there still concerns and criticism comes from several countries and organizations. For example, in BRI project in eastern Africa, Pakistan etc., there still depends on Chinese staff and material. The critics concern that local economy cannot get benefit from that. On the other hand, some western countries mentioned that the BRI is not a multilateral agreement, but a bilateral agreement which center in China. They argued that China is trying to take control of the whole BRI agreement. Moreover, Prof. West mentioned that in fact, donor country always get bad feedback in the process of international aids. China is good at learning by doing. With the spirit of self-criticism, China will have a bright future. 

The fifth speaker is Prof Milford Bateman. He presented “Local finance for sustainable local enterprise development: The role of international development assistance in identifying best practice in a post-neoliberal world”. His work extends the analysis of the impact of “financialization” to focus on the local financial system that emerged in the neoliberal era, with the geographical focus on the global south. It argues that there is an urgent need to ensure that scarce financial resources are locally intermediated into the “right” enterprises that have defined productivity-enhancing and development-driving characteristics related to scale, technology, innovation, high skills, vertical and horizontal connections, employee participation, and the ability to develop new organizational routines and recombine assets in order to locate more productive and cooperative ways of working. Moreover, it helps that because the recent move to Post-Fordist forms of industrial organization and sources of innovation has seen a transition from heavy-industry-led development to light industry and services-led development, pro-active sub-national community-based financial institutions are actually now in an ideal position to drive development and growth “from the bottom-up”. China’s development history give those African countries a useful example to develop its local industry. 

By the end, all participants dissuaded about the reform of international development and aid, BRI and Sino Africa cooperation, Chinese development lessons for African countries.

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