The Effect of Chinese Foreign Aid on Civil Conflict in Sub Saharan Africa

A Study at the Subnational Level

  • Sabrina He New York University
Keywords: conflict, china, FDI, aid, Chinese aid, Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, violence, civil war, conflict intensity, data analysis, regression models


This paper seeks to explain the role of Chinese foreign aid on civil conflict in Sub Saharan Africa at the subnational level. It finds that the addition of Chinese foreign aid does have a significant impact on the discourse surrounding conflict, which has traditionally been related to external demand shocks proxied by agricultural commodity shocks and exposure to banking crises. Specifically, it shows that Chinese foreign aid increases conflict in regions of high conflict intensity, thus supporting the state-as-a-prize theory, and decreases conflict in regions of low conflict intensity, thus supporting the opportunity cost/state capacity theory.