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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, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 2
    "It has been two years since the world's deadliest terrorist organization – Boko Haram – abducted 271 girls from their high school in the town of Chibok – a tragedy that would shine much needed international attention on conflict in northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, the Chibok girls are only one part of a much larger story of violence against women and girls in the northeast. ... the needs of all those whom the Chibok girls symbolize – thousands upon thousands who have suffered gender-based violence at Boko Haram's hands – are being unaddressed." - Refugees International

April 27, 2016  Nigeria: Shapes of Violence, 1
    The realities of violence, whether in Nigeria, other African countries, or indeed in rich countries such as the United States as well, are often far more complicated than the stereotypes that often prevail among those observing them from a distance. Thus, violence in Nigeria is often simplistically characterized as "religious conflict" between Muslims and Christians. A new collection of empirical studies released this year by Nigeria Watch, based in Ibadan, Nigeria, provides a more complex perspective, documenting, for instance, that intra-Muslim conflict is more common that conflicts between Muslims and Christians, and that much of the conflict involving both Muslims and Christians is based on secular rather than religious motives.

April 11, 2016  Africa/Global: Panama Papers Tip of Iceberg
    "In other words, the leaks reveal just how the planet's wealthiest and most powerful citizens hide their money - trillions of it - in offshore tax shelters like the British Virgin Islands or the Seychelles with the help of law firms in swampy backwaters like Panama. Over 11-million horribly incriminating documents, and this is just one - if one of the more prominent - of the many law firms specialising in this line of work." - Daily Maverick, South Africa

Apr 5, 2016  USA/Global: When Elephants Fight
    "Watching the Trump phenomenon from outside the United States is a strange spectacle. I am often asked to explain by puzzled observers how such a bombastic, obnoxious, moronic, misogynistic, chauvinistic, racist, and hustler businessman with a record of serial bankruptcies could ever be a serious candidate. ... Trump articulates and represents with frightening clarity the Republican underbelly that same establishment has nurtured for generations, the party's enduring values—the incurable racism, bigotry, and intolerance, the reflexive jingoism, nativism, and imperial aggression. In Trump, therefore, the chickens of age-old white supremacy and modern neo-conservatism are coming home to roost." - Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

March 23, 2016  
    Namibia: Meeting Expectations?
March 16, 2016  
    Africa: Tolerance and Intolerance in Perspective
March 9, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Making Choices on Climate Future
February 29, 2016  
    USA/Africa: Rising Opposition to Tax Evasion
February 16, 2016  
    Africa: Ghosts at the African Union Summit
February 1, 2016  
    Africa/Global: Accounting Tricks with Coca-Cola
January 25, 2016  
    Africa: Charting the Digital Gender Gap
January 19, 2016  
    Africa: Stealth Assault on African Seeds
December 10, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Beyond the Paris Climate Talks
December 1, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Changing "the Media"
November 19, 2015  
    Africa: Boosting ICTs
November 11, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Follow the Money
November 5, 2015  
    Europe/Africa: Dialogue Unlikely at Migration Summit
October 28, 2015  
    South Sudan: Hard-Hitting Report from African Union
October 20, 2015  
    Africa: Tax Tricks, Mobile Phones, and Beer
October 13, 2015  
    Africa/Global: Health Challenges & Threats

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Africa News
May 03, 2016
AllAfrica | Conflict, Peace and Security
Nigeria: Property Boom Follows Boko Haram Retreat
Nigeria: Boko Haram Terrorists Now Hide in Foxholes - Army Spokesman
Nigeria: Army Announces Arrest of General's Suspected Killer
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