ECA and partners commit to IFF fight as workshop ends in Nairobi

UNECA logoParticipants agreed that the work to fight IFFs from the continent must be driven by Africans and in line with findings of the High Level Panel and the work of the Consortium and its programme over the next five years should be driven by African priorities

The two-day workshop aimed at Stakeholders working to confront the challenge of stemming illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa ended in Nairobi Tuesday, with participants agreeing to add impetus to the fight to stop the bleeding that is costing the continent over $50 billion annually.

Economic Commission for Africa’s Head of Special Initiatives in the Office of the Executive Secretary, Aida Opoku-Mensah, speaking at the close of the workshop, said it was time for coherent and coordinated action to support the work of the Consortium established to implement recommendations of the High Level Panel that was led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

“The ECA is fully committed to the fight against IFFs and my role is to ensure that we start implementing what we have agreed on here,” said Ms. Opoku-Mensah.

“The Consortium began to tackle some of the critical issues by way of implementing the recommendations of the high level panel in structured manner and these will be included in the annual report of the Panel to be submitted to AU Summit in 2017,” she added.

The ECA is fully committed to the fight against IFFs and my role is to ensure that we start implementing what we have agreed on here.

Participants agreed that the work to fight IFFs from the continent must be driven by Africans and in line with findings of the High Level Panel and the work of the Consortium and its programme over the next five years should be driven by African priorities.

“The work must include our definition of IFF which incorporates tax avoidance. This is not always the definition of our partners outside of Africa. We must stick to that because it’s a great source of loses, especially in transfer pricing,” said representatives of participating institutions

“The idea that the consortium goes for the big tent approach is typically African; that’s the right thing to do but we must make sure that it is our tent and that the others we invite into the tent remain our guests so we can drive our own agenda.”

Participants hailed the project plan for allowing consortium members to work at national, regional and global levels as they seek to stem IFFs from Africa.

The Consortium, which will leverage partnerships, provides a platform for follow-up efforts to stem IFFs, has a busy timeline of activities, including the establishment of an IFF Unit, which is expected to evolve into an African Financial Transparency Centre.

The workshop was attended by representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Capacity Building Foundation, African Centre for Remittances, Pan African Lawyers Union, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, Open Society Foundation and Tax Justice Network-Africa, the African Mineral Development Centre and the African Trade Policy Centre.