There is increasing concern about the impact of illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa. The continent is said to be losing some $50 to $60 billion a year to IFFs, and a lot has to be done to curb the surge. Savings made from IFFs can do a lot for the continent in its fight against poverty, malnutrition and youth unemployment.
At the end of a three-day conference on IFFs held in Yaounde, Cameroon, May 24 to 26, 2017, the participants, made up of groups and institutions that formed a network, signed a declaration to affirm their commitment to fighting the scourge.
“The Declaration lists agreements of joint and individual actions to be carried out by the networks and its members in the fight against IFFs. It optimises the mandate of these GFG networks in combatting IFFs and pledges to cooperate with the African Union Commission (AUC) at a technical level to continue the leading work of the AU High Level Panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki,” the network said in a press release.
According to the release, the delegates discussed various topics such as social and economic impacts of IFFs in African countries and the importance of a communication strategy in the fight against IFFs.
“It was agreed that the illegal outflow of money (at least $50 billion annually) strongly impedes development in Africa,” it said.
The conference discussed the challenges, gaps, good practices and ways forward to curb IFFs, including the main drivers of IFFs such as: commercial activities, corruption and criminal activities.
The conference also identified capacity building, awareness, interagency cooperation and law enforcement as key focus areas for lessening the illegal movement of money, the release said.
The participants included delegates from African Ministries of Finance, Tax Authorities, Supreme Audit Institutions and Public Accounts Committees. International organisations such as the African Union, NEPAD, OECD, Global Financial Integrity, Tax Justice Network, Action Aid and ARINSA were represented.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi