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Talking Points on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Justice

  • Inequality and tax evasion are growing both within and between countries, while the rich on all continents funnel their wealth into secret bank accounts scattered around the world. This erodes the public sector, starves countries of funds needed for development, and drives up deficits.

  • The trend is worldwide as multinational companies shuttle money and subsidiaries between countries to minimize taxes, while the ultra-rich and organized crime hide their assets in untraceable shell accounts. But the toll in Africa is enormous, with losses estimated at $50 billion to $80 billion a year due to illicit capital flight.

  • One recent study, for example, estimated at least US$60.8 billion in losses due to transfer pricing in or out of 5 African Countries (Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda), from 2002-2011.

  • The good news is that governments and multilateral agencies around the world are waking up to this issue, and the pressure for transparency in financial reporting is growing. The same technical mechanisms that have been used to track funds of drug traffickers and terrorist networks can now be used, if there is political will, to track monies lost to illicit financial flows and tax evasion.

Recent bulletins on illicit financial flows and tax justice


AfricaFocus Bulletin

April 27, 2015  Burundi: On the Brink?
    "The prospect of a third term for President Nkurunziza calls into question the preservation of peace in Burundi. The president is risking it all by trying to force his name on the ballot, against the Catholic Church, civil society, a fraction of his own party and most external partners. The opposition's survival is at stake and the security forces are unsure how to react in case of violent crisis. The situation is much more serious than the failed 2010 elections: what lies behind this new electoral cycle is the upholding of the Arusha agreement as the foundation of Burundi's regime." - International Crisis Group

April 22, 2015  South Africa: Saying No to Xenophobia
    "Finally, one word about 'foreigners' and 'migrants'. No African is a foreigner in Africa! No African is a migrant in Africa! Africa is where we all belong, notwithstanding the foolishness of our boundaries. No amount of national-chauvinism will erase this. No amount of deportations will erase this. Instead of spilling black blood on no other than Pixley ka Seme Avenue (!), we should all be making sure that we rebuild this Continent and bring to an end a long and painful history - that which, for too long, has dictated that to be black (it does not matter where or when), is a liability." - Achille Mbembe

April 14, 2015  Europe/Africa: Deaths at Sea
    According to the International Organization of Migration, at least 480 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. in 2014, according to the UN High Commission on Refugees, at least 3,500 lost their lives. Yet, says the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the European Union program for search-and-rescue at sea is "woefully inadequate," in comparison to the previous Mare Nostrum program run by Italy, which ended late last year.

April 8, 2015  Garissa: Not Just Numbers
    "I want to go to a place. A piece of ground, also a place online, where we can find the names of all those who have died for Kenya since 1963. I want to know their names. I want to walk and walk, listen and witness, know the lives of those no longer visible to me, but whose blood mattered." - Binyavanga Wainaina

More on: politics&human rights|peace&security|health|economy|ict

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

March 30, 2015  
    South Africa: Energy Futures Contested
March 23, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Swiss Connections
March 17, 2015  
    Africa: Higher Education Must Be Higher Priority
March 10, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Falling Short on Climate Finance
March 3, 2015  
    East Africa: Water, Wind, and Lake Turkana
February 24, 2015  
    USA/Somalia: Rising Threat to Remittances
February 18, 2015  
    Africa: Privatizing Land and Seeds
February 11, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Archbishop Tutu on Fossil-Fuel Divestment
February 5, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Stopping Capital Losses
January 26, 2015  
    Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings
January 21, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Ebola Lessons & Questions
January 13, 2015  
    Nigeria: Elections/Security Disconnect
January 6, 2015  
    Sierra Leone: Losing Out
December 15, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Postponing Climate Decisions
December 8, 2014  
    Africa: Reflections from an Elder Statesman
December 1, 2014  
    USA/Nigeria: Uneasy Alliance

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