Illegal logging, fishing and trade in wildlife inflicts a $29 billion cost on African economies every year, a new report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Ghana has said.
Dubbed ‘Africa Is Not Poor, We Are Stealing Its Wealth’, the report said: “There are also more indirect means by which we pull wealth out of Africa. It is estimated that $29 billion a year is being stolen from Africa in illegal logging, fishing and trade in wildlife.”
It adds that: “As high as $36 billion is owed to Africa as a result of the damage that climate change will cause to societies and economies as they are unable to use fossil fuels to develop in the way that Europe did. Our climate crisis was not caused by Africa, but Africa will feel the effect more than others. Needless to say, the funds are not currently forthcoming.”
The Accra-based policy think tank and economic advocacy also stated that, to curb the situation, African countries must not be forced to open up their economies to unfair competition.
“The first task is to stop perpetuating the harm they are doing. African governments need to open up their economies to privatisation, but not their markets to unfair competition,” it advocated.
Activities of illegal trade, especially in fishing, has gained much traction recently as various reports and studies continue to raise serious concerns about its debilitating effects on economies of African countries.
For instance, a recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) research, indicates that the fisheries sector is of strategic importance to many African countries, but remains vulnerable to a wide range of tax crimes and other transgressions–including money laundering, corruption, drugs and arms smuggling.