Task Force to Host Panel at World Bank, April 19th

April 18th, 2012

Panel Title: Transitioning to Transparency: Advancing Financial Integrity in the Middle East and North Africa

Panelists: Raymond Baker, Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development; Jean Pesme, StAR Initiative, World Bank Group; Valerie Silensky, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Department of State; Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., Foundation for Middle East Peace

Logistics: April 19, 2:00-3:30pm, World Bank MC C1-110

The Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development (Task Force) is hosting an expert discussion on the linkages between illicit financial flows, transparency and the Arab Spring during the Civil Society Forum (CS Forum) at the 2012 World Bank/IMF Spring Meeting. Fiscal accountability is a key component of a well-functioning social contract, both of which have been absent in many countries in the MENA region, including Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria.

According to a report by Task Force member Global Financial Integrity, MENA countries have the highest average annual illicit outflows of any region: $146 billion. Establishing transparent financial systems helps secure democracy and avoids a return to authoritarian rule. The panelists will debate the role illicit financial flows have played in the MENA region, particularly with regards to low levels of financial and political transparency.

The panelists will also discuss how addressing such opacity could contribute to the ongoing political transitions in many countries in the region, paying particular attention to the roles that civil society organizations and international institutions (World Bank, IMF, etc.) can play to help guide these transitions towards constructive and sustainable outcomes. The audience will also be invited and encouraged to join the debate by sharing their perspective on the issue and posing questions to the panelists.

Note: Attendees must already be registered for the World Bank / IMF spring meetings. The discussion is off the record.

Written by EJ Fagan

Follow @FinTrCo