MPs from Across Africa Strategize on Stopping Illicit Financial Flows

May 5th, 2015

African leaders made a strong declaration on the importance of curbing illicit financial flows when they endorsed a new report on the problem at the African Union Summit in January. The report, produced by the Mbeki High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, estimated that Africa was losing between $50 billion and $150 billion each year in illicit financial flows. While the endorsement of African leaders is welcome, and shows how unifying the issue is, it’s vital that national-level legislators take note and see what measures can be taken at a local and national level. 

For this reason, the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), alongside the Malawi Economic Justice Network and members of the Malawian Parliament, are holding a two-day meeting with Parliamentarians from countries all across Africa. More than 20 MPs, from each of the five economic blocs in Africa, have come to discuss ways in which the recommendations from the Mbeki report can be turned into concrete action. Members of the Economic Commission for Africa, as well as members of civil society, are also in attendance.

From the TJNA press release:

As public officials, and especially the people’s representatives, entrusted with the mandate to promote and protect the well-being of their constituencies, parliamentarians are well placed to shape policy to enhance domestic resource mobilisation as well as ensure that tax revenues are invested in the needs of the population.Tax is already the largest source of public finance in developing countries.

African countries, for example, raise over 10 times more revenue through taxation than through aid. If all African countries raised just 15 per cent of GDP in revenue, the continent’s governments would have an additionalUS$200 billion at their disposal annually. The key challenge is for African countries to take measures to raise the tax to GDP ratio. One of these steps is to mobilise domestic resources throughtaxation. Others include reining in illicit outflows of capital and ensuring a fairer share of natural resource rents.This meeting is thus designed to strengthen African legislators’ engagement and role in tackling illicit financial flows from Africa.

Written by Christian Freymeyer

Christian is the FTC's Press & Digital Media Coordinator. You can follow him on Twitter @cfreymeyer.

Image Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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