At its second meeting in Kenya, the Illicit Financial Flows Working Group (IWG) has expressed the importance of all institutions to continue working together to curb illicit financial flows (IFFs) and ultimately pave the way for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable development.
Souad Aden-Osman, Coordinator of the Secretariat of the High Level Panel (HLP) on IFFs from Africa and Senior Programme Officer for the Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said this would also allow the discourse on IFFs to become less relevant both within and outside the continent.
The IWG was formed by a Consortium of Stakeholders in November 2016 at a workshop organised by the ECA and its partners in the East African nation where they established a work plan and deliverable actions to stem the continent’s IFFs challenge.
Annual IFFs from Africa are estimated at $50 billion, an approximated double the amount of official development assistance (ODA) the continent receives, negatively impacting Africa’s development and governance agenda; draining foreign exchange reserves; and reducing tax collection cancelling out investment flows and worsening poverty.
The Consortium of Stakeholders is a coalition of African and Non-African stakeholders which implements recommendations of the High Level Panel Report (HLP) Report on IFFs from Africa endorsed at the 2015 African Union Heads of States Summit.
It includes the pan-African institutions such as the African Union and its organs; the ECA, African Development Bank (AfDB), Thabo Mbeki Foundation, African Capacity Building Forum, African Tax Administration Forum, Tax Justice Network-Africa, Pan African Lawyers Union and other civil society organizations working on IFFs in Africa.
The IWG’s meetings are attended at the technical level of the member institutions.
At the 2nd Nairobi workshop, the ‘Stop the Bleeding’ campaign jointly launched by the Coalition of African Civil Society Organisations and the ECA; and the inauguration of the Consortium of Stakeholders to stem IFFs were highlighted as some of the activities which have taken place following the awareness created by the HLP Report.
Aida Opoku-Mensah, Co-Chair of the IWG and Special Adviser to the Executive Secretary of the ECA said, “This is not only a continental agenda but also an international one. Furthermore, curtailing IFFs is always going to be a crucial requirement for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”