Last week the world marked the second anniversary since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released the biggest cache of data on unscrupulous individuals and multinational corporations in over 200 countries and territories for the evasion of taxes and concealment of sources of income.The exposé dubbed ‘the Panama Papers‘ followed a year of sifting through 11.5 million documents that uncovered a systematic exploitation of weak financial, political and legal systems across the globe. The records which cover nearly 40 years of operation (from 1977- 2015) revealed 214,000 offshore holdings managed by now- defunct Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.
While the Leak brought about sweeping changes across Europe and parts of Asia, the African landscape remained largely unchanged, with little done to bring the offenders to book. This is in spite of Africa’s status as the biggest source of capital outflows. According to Global Financial Integrity Africa loses USD. 80 billion annually in illicit financial flows.
Two years on and another exposé later, the African civil society is still calling on governments across the continents to implement reforms. In Burundi, tax justice activists led by Civic Initiative for Environment and Sustainable Development (ICED) held a day-long workshop with local media on the impact of tax havens.
Participants at the half day workshop in Burundi.
Across the border, SEATINI Uganda and TJNA held a Twitterchat on lessons learnt from the Panama Papers and what impact the Leaks had on local economies.