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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

January 26, 2015  Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings
    "Over the next year, the transition away from the Compaoré era [in Burkina Faso] will be full of uncertainties. The opposition leaders are focused on new elections, which they clearly hope to win. Others, closer to the activist networks, are also pushing for more fundamental changes: to improve people's economic and social conditions, root out corruption, reform state institutions, and bring to justice the worst criminals of the ancien régime." - Ernest Harsch

January 21, 2015  Africa/Global: Ebola Lessons & Questions
    Media coverage of the Ebola epidemic, which took a sharp downward turn after a handful of patients in the United States recovered, has faded even further into the background as the battle against the epidemic has begun to succeed in the most-affected countries. But those on the front lines warn that complacency could easily allow the still-present virus to hold out and even expand. And although there are clear lessons to be learned, there are also unanswered questions, most notably about international will to implement the imperative of sustainable health systems for the future.

January 13, 2015  Nigeria: Elections/Security Disconnect
    "These images from Northern Nigeria should be searing the conscience of the world. Some two thousand innocent children, women and elderly reportedly massacred in Baga. A young girl sent to her death with a bomb strapped to her chest in Maiduguri. And lest we forget, more than two hundred girls stolen from their families, still lost. Words alone can neither express our outrage nor ease the agony of all those suffering from the constant violence in northern Nigeria. But these images of recent days and all they imply for the future of Nigeria should galvanize effective action. For this cannot go on." - UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, January 11, 2015

January 6, 2015  Sierra Leone: Losing Out
    According to World Bank estimates in December, Sierra Leone is the country that has suffered the greatest economic losses from the impact of Ebola. Economic growth, estimated at a 11.3% annual rate in the first half of 2014, contracted at a 2.8% annual rate in the second half of the year, and was projected to drop another 2% in 2015. Such massive losses not only illustrate the profound impact of Ebola; they also raise questions about the nature of the growth that left the country so vulnerable to the epidemic.

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

December 15, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Postponing Climate Decisions
December 8, 2014  
    Africa: Reflections from an Elder Statesman
December 1, 2014  
    USA/Nigeria: Uneasy Alliance
November 19, 2014  
    Africa: Past Time for Bandaids
November 11, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Fossil-Fuel Divestment Growing
November 11, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Climate Change Summary Report
November 5, 2014  
    Africa/Global: Public Health, Shared Responsibilities
October 30, 2014  
    South Africa: In Africa? Or Not?
October 20, 2014  
    USA/Africa: Decent Work Agenda
October 14, 2014  
    USA/Africa: New Statistics on Immigrant Communities
October 7, 2014  
    Africa: Ebola Perspectives
September 22, 2014  
    Africa: Climate Action & Economic Growth
September 16, 2014  
    Africa: Tracing the Oil Money
September 10, 2014  
    West Africa: Ebola Response Scale-Up Urgent, Uncertain
August 18, 2014  
    Africa: From Kerosene to Solar
August 11, 2014  
    Africa: Investment for Whom?

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