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Civil society experts issue accelerated agenda for addressing illicit financial flows in Africa

Group highlights 14 steps African leaders can take to energize fight against Illicit Flows following Addis Ababa Action Agenda, SDGs, and ECA High Level Panel

 NAIROBI/WASHINGTON, 27 January 2017-  As national leaders meet at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa this week, a group of civil society experts has issued a set of recommendations to address illicit financial flows (IFFs), an issue of critical importance to regional development.  Titled Accelerating the IFF Agenda for African Countries (the Accelerated IFF Agenda), the purpose of the document is to highlight for African leaders fourteen steps that can be taken to jumpstart efforts to address IFFs.  Among the recommendations are suggestions to establish a multi-agency approach to fight IFFs, to collect information to identify corporate ownership, and certain tax-related measures.

Robbing the African continent of more than $70 billion per year, IFFs represent one of the largest problems facing Africa today. The international community has already recognized IFFs as a major impediment to development, incorporating reduction of IFFs into the Financing for Development Conference’s Addis Ababa Action Agenda  and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Likewise, the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa published a watershed report on the subject in 2015, and the ambitious African Union Agenda 2063 highlights the importance of eliminating illicit flows as a key way to increase domestic resource mobilization.

Development experts have identified domestic resource mobilization as the most crucial ingredient in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals,” noted Global Financial Integrity President Raymond Baker. “Illicit financial flows are corrosive to development efforts and curtail the ability to capture domestic resources.  It will require energetic and concerted action from governments to fix the problem and the Accelerated IFF Agenda identifies effective steps to kick-start the process. ”

African agency is critical to invent a future without illicit financial flows,” said Donald Ideh, Project Director on TrustAfrica’s Nigeria Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform Fund.

Jason Rosario Braganza, Deputy Executive Director of Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) in Kenya, added that “the accelerated IFF agenda for African countries comes at a time where there is vacuum in global leadership on the issues of IFFs. The 14 point agenda integrates fundamental political and institutional steps that African governments and African multilateral agencies have begun taking to curb IFFs from the continent. The Accelerated IFF Agenda is timely as African governments take up the mantle of leadership in track it, stop it, get it in order to further the continents’ development agenda.”

Donald Deya, Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU) commented on one way in which the Accelerated IFF Agenda addresses governance and accountability concerns and why the African Union should take note of the document in its discussions this week. “The AU has taken a lead role in recognizing the problem of IFFs on the continent,” he stated. “It can take a step further by including IFF-measures in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), stating loud and clear that good governance means addressing IFFs. I am in Addis Ababa this week to commence this discussion with government representatives, on behalf of our colleagues.”

Many IFFs arise from corruption within countries,” added Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Center (CISLAC). “Establishing open procurement systems, using common, accessible approaches like the Open Contracting Data Standard, ensure that a government is not contributing to the theft of its people’s future.”

Jean Mballa Mballa, Director of the Centre Régional Africain pour le Développement Endogène et Communautaire (CRADEC), spoke about the group’s plans for outreach in the coming months, stating  that “we look forward to discussing this list with senior government officials and civil society groups in all African countries. Some countries may already be working on some of these actions but have yet to embrace others.  Nonetheless, each is a critical precursor to more advanced actions to combat illicit financial flows.

Note to Editors:

Illicit financial flows have steadily increased out of Africa in scale and magnitude. GFI data indicates that from 2002 to 2011, illicit financial flows from Africa were the second fastest growing of all regions, at a rate of 19.8 % per year. In 2016, the Panama papers highlighted the depth and breadth of IFFs not to be just an African challenge.  As such, African governments are working to curb IFFs from the continent. The High Level Panel  on IFFs 2015 report recommends concrete steps be taken to curb financial outflows from the continent in the form of illicit financial flows. These recommendations have informed the Stop the Bleeding Campaign to curb IFFs as well as a new partnership on the Accelerated Agenda on IFFs for African Countries.

As the world now begins to implement the sustainable development goals, there in an estimated $2.5 trillion funding gap annually[1]. To be able to fund our own development, it is important to curb illicit financial flows from Africa. This will require committed implementation of the recommendations of the HLP by African governments. The accelerated IFF agenda is an important contribution to the continents’ fight against IFFs from the continent.

[1] http://unctad.org/en/pages/PressRelease.aspx?OriginalVersionID=194

 

The group of experts represents organizations based in Africa and the United States.  A full list (with contact emails) is provided below.  Funding for the endeavor, which will include outreach to governments, civil society groups, the media and lawmakers, is provided by the government of Sweden.

 For more information contact:

  • Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), rafsanjani@cislacnigeria.net

Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Center (CISLAC), Abuja, Nigeria

 

  •  Crystal Simeoni, csimeoni@taxjusticeafrica.net

Policy Lead – Tax and International Financial Architecture, Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A), Nairobi, Kenya

 

  • Donald Deya, ddeya@lawyersofafrica.org

Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU), Arusha, Tanzania

 

  • Donald Ideh, ideh@trustafrica.org

Project Director, Nigeria Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform Fund, TrustAfrica, Abuja, Nigeria

 

  • Heather Lowe, hlowe@gfintegrity.org

Legal Counsel & Director of Government Affairs, Global Financial Integrity, Washington, D.C., USA

 

  • Liz Confalone, lconfalone@gfintegrity.org

Policy Counsel, Global Financial Integrity, Washington, D.C., USA

 

  • Jason Rosario Braganza, jbraganza@taxjusticeafrica.net

Deputy Executive Director, Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A), Nairobi, Kenya

 

  • Jean Mballa Mballa, mballamballa2001@yahoo.fr

Directeur, Centre Régional Africain pour le Développement Endogène et Communautaire (CRADEC), Yaoundé, Cameroon

 

  • Raymond Baker, rbaker@gfintegrity.org

President, Global Financial Integrity, Washington, D.C., USA

 

Press Inquiries

For all press inquiries or to schedule an interview with Ms. Lowe, Ms. Confalone, or Mr. Baker, contact Christine Clough at cclough@gfintegrity.org / +1-202-293-0740, ext. 231.

27/01/2017

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