The Civil Society Forum is a platform for dialogue between civil society and the African Development Bank. This year the forum was held at the Bank’s
headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from May 7 to 9th on the 8th MayAFRODAD held a side event titled: ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS IN EXTRACTIVES: IMPLICATIONS FOR INDUSTRIALISATION.
Objectives of the side event were-:
1. Rising awareness among African CSOs on the impacts of IFFs on industrialization in Africa particularly in resource rich countries;
2. Discuss the urgent need for resource dependent economies to industrialize particularly in the face of fluctuating commodity prices;
3. Engage with CSOs and decision-makers and share experiences of how the national and continental level efforts to enhance domestic resource mobilization are being impacted by IFF and discuss the main obstacles to progress, with emphasis on the role of secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens.
Session Description It is increasingly clear that tax abuse along with other forms of corruption constitutes the bulk of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), which drain much needed public revenue, especially from developing countries. Major public scandals brought to light by the many recent leaks, the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, exposed how many wealthy individuals and multinational companies are involved in illicit flows, how accountants, lawyers and banks provide professional support, and how some major economies serve as conduits whereas the offshore financial centers serve as “sinks”, providing systemically institutionalized facilitation of IFF.
The pioneer work that led to the recognition of IFF as a development challenge came from the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows out of Africa, which was set up by the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa and provided a comprehensive definition as to what elements constitute IFF. “The various means by which IFFs take place in Africa include abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing, missinvoicing of services and intangibles and using unequal contracts, all for purposes of tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance and illegal export of foreign exchange.” This definition underpins the multilateral agreement within the SDG process included in target 16.4 to “significantly reduce IFF” by 2030.
The session looked at illicit financial flows in the extractive sector as a threat to industrialization by draining the economy of a potentially rich resource, domestic capital, which is required to promote industrial development. Arguably, the capital that illicitly exits African nations particularly in the mining sector could well be reinvested for further beneficiation/processing of raw materials into intermediate and finished products and in the development of productive capacities in manufacturing or firm expansion.
Focus Areas of the Session
- IFF trends in the developing and emerging economies
- Drivers of IFFs
- Impact of IFFs on industrialization with a focus on resource rich countries
- Agenda of Action: potential safeguards for curbing IFFs
Highly interactive 90 minute session, with framing presentations, and moderated active dialogue with the audience, and open debate.
Resource Persons Moderator: Georgine Kengne, (WOMIN); Panelists: Dr. Fanwell Bokosi, AFRODAD, Dr. Martin Tsounkeu (ADIN); Rev. David Ugolor (ANEEJ); Seydi Gassama (Amnesty internal.