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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

August 18, 2014  Africa: From Kerosene to Solar
    The largest marketer of solar lamps in Africa, which recently passed the one million mark in lamps sold, has set an ambitious target for the industry. ""Our mission is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by the end of this decade," proclaims Solar Aid. Although achieving this goal would require the pico-solar market to emulate mobile phone industry's exponential growth path, it may not be as utopian as it sounds. According to market research company Navigant Research, "Off-grid solar lighting for base of the pyramid (BOP) markets, the leading solar PV consumer product segment, is transitioning from a humanitarian aspiration to big business."

August 11, 2014  Africa: Investment for Whom?
    "While governance remains an issue for many African countries, structural deficiencies in the U.S. financial system are just as responsible for driving the outflow of illicit capital. ... The burden for curtailing these illicit flows must be shared equally by policymakers in the U.S. and in Africa for this partnership to be effective." - Global Financial Integrity

July 31, 2014  Africa/Global: Talking Points on Common Issues
    As African leaders and corporate CEOs gather to meet with President Obama and U.S. government officials, a wide variety of civil society activists will also be meeting in Washington, some in officially recognized side events, others in alternative venues. Many more will be issuing statements and communicating their views, some appropriating the twitter hashtag #AfricaSummit used by U.S. government officials, thus inserting their views as well into that hashtag stream.

July 29, 2014  USA/Africa: A Dubious Summit
    "Starting August 4, the Obama Administration will host a mini replica of an African Union (AU) summit. As many as 40 heads of state from the continent will be on hand for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a conference that will look at ways to boost trade and investment in the continent, tap into Africa's burgeoning youth population, and promote good governance. ... Unfortunately, unless a major change is made, the summit risks simply becoming an AU heads of state road trip with a photo-op at the end to confirm that they visited Washington before returning home." - Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International

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

AfricaFocus Archive: by date | by place | by topic

July 14, 2014  
    Africa: Understanding Organized Crime
July 10, 2014  
    Africa: Rapid Growth in Mobile Money
July 7, 2014  
    Africa: Trade Union Perspectives
June 30, 2014  
    Africa: Clean Energy Most Cost-Effective
June 23, 2014  
    Central African Republic: Still A Forgotten Crisis
June 16, 2014  
    Africa: Investor Perspectives
June 9, 2014  
    Nigeria: Beyond the Hashtag Debates
June 1, 2014  
    South Africa: Disappearing Diamond Revenue
May 26, 2014  
    Africa: Fraudulent Trade & Tax Evasion
May 19, 2014  
    Kenya: Refugee Crackdown "Counter-productive"
May 12, 2014  
    Africa: Report Highlights Resource Plunder
May   5, 2014  
    South Africa: Views from the Left
April 30, 2014  
    Africa: Taxation Key to Fighting Inequality
April 24, 2014  
    Africa: The High Cost of Remittances
April 17, 2014  
    Mali: Polls Show Turn to Optimism
April 14, 2014  
    Lesotho: "Model" Project Drains Health Budget

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Aug 28, 2014
AllAfrica | HIV-Aids and STDs
Uganda: HIV Prevention Act Angers Ugandan Aids Activists
Ghana: President Mahama Hopeful of HIV and Aids Elimination
Kenya: HIV Groups in Kenyan Slum Organize Self-Help
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