llicit Financial Flows (IFFs) out of Africa has been of major concern to states in recent years as they face the daunting challenge of blocking such flows.
Every year, Africa is said to lose at least $50 billion through illicit financial activities of multinational companies, government officials and rich individuals.
In the same vein, an Actionaid report titled “The West African Giveaway” showed that in Nigeria alone, $2.9 billion (N1.04 trillion) is lost annually to IFFs.
Observers note in particular that IFFs, such as tax evasion, abusive transfer of money, mispricing and transfer of funds acquired by fraudulent means into bank accounts abroad, are rampant among African countries.
Many are misguided into believing that Africa is poor, however, experts say that if the over $50 billion that leaves Africa annually through IFFs are stopped, the continent would not require international assistance.
For Nigeria and the entire African region, these IFFs translates to loss of jobs, income, decent education and basic infrastructure.
These activities also pose a major threat to sustainable development and security across the continent.
If such illegal financial flows could be blocked, the revenue would be used for major infrastructural developments such as healthcare and education.
The United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) states clearly plans to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime by year 2030.
The SDGs focuses on ending poverty, fighting climate change, IFFs, hunger, improving health and education, sustaining economic growth, reducing inequality within and among countries
Blocking such illegal flows had ben the target for many of these countries but the framework for such may still be lacking.
For Nigeria under the new government, blocking such illegal financial flows had been a cardinal point of its anti-corruption agenda.
According to the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, “with the political will, we can put in place policies to block these leakages.
“African countries must come together in fighting the war to recover monies carted away from the continent.
It is against this backdrop that the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), a Civil Society Organisation together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are organising the 5th Pan African conference (PAC) on Illicit Financial flows and Taxation.
The conference which is scheduled to hold from Oct. 11 – 12, will be an avenue to share ideas on how to curb illicit financial flows.
PAC 2017 taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, seeks to provide a platform to multiple stakeholders and policy actors drawn from governments, CSOs, research organisations, academia and other relevant players to deliberate on the emerging attempts to recast and reshape the IFFs narrative and methodology and what this would signify for the struggle against IFFs in Africa.
The Conference will also provide opportunity to take stock of the success made so far and challenges facing African governments in their efforts to honour their commitments to stem IFFs through the implementation of the High Level Panel (HLP) recommendations.