Working Paper
‘Ground-Truthing’ Chinese Development Finance in Africa

Field Evidence from South Africa and Uganda

A new methodology, Tracking Under-Reported Financial Flows (TUFF), allows us to systematically gather open-source information—e.g. news reports, case studies, project inventories from embassy websites, and grant and loan data published by recipient governments—about Chinese development finance activities in Africa that can be updated and improved through crowd-sourcing. In this study we create and field-test a replicable ‘ground-truthing’ methodology following an established protocol to verify and update existing data with in-person interviews on Chinese development finance and site visits in Uganda and South Africa. Ground-truthing generally revealed close agreement between open-source data and answers to protocol questions from informants with official roles in the Chinese-funded projects.