Chinese President Xi Jinping's pledge to spend $12 billion over the next 15 years to help the United Nations achieve its goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 signals that Beijing is eager to claim a bigger role in the world of international development.
Yet Xi's pledge, made at the U.N. summit on sustainable development in New York, came as Chinese government officials are grappling with the fallout of an unprecedented anti-corruption and austerity campaign that Xi has unleashed at home. This domestic drive may have myriad consequences – good and bad – for China's overseas development assistance programmes.
China has emerged as a significant player in overseas assistance, providing some$14.4 billion in total foreign assistance between 2010 and 2012 alone. Much of this has been targeted to Africa, and Beijing has signalled that improving medical and health services is a key overseas aid priority.