The African Forum and Network for Debt and Development (AFRODAD) in partnership with the Centre for Economic and Policy Priorities (CEPP) held the AFRODAD 2nd Regional Dialogue on Curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa. Building on ...
the successes of the 2017 Conference, the 2018 Regional Dialogue was held from 21-22 March 2018 under the theme “Escalating the Role of Parliament and Civil Society in Curbing IFFs from Africa – Promoting Increased Transparency of Decision Making on Tax and Financial Transparency.”
United Nations Member States adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 as the development blueprint for the next 15 years. SDGs represent a much wider agenda than the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thus the emphasis on the critical need for effective domestic resource mobilization by member states to ensure the attainment of this more ambitious agenda. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) outcome document identifies domestic public resources as one of the seven action areas under its global framework for financing development post-2015. Furthermore, Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 all recommend countries to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation as a means for Africa to become self-reliant and finance its own development.
AFRODAD believes that success in mobilizing domestic resources as a primary source of financing development in Africa hinges on combating illicit financial flows (IFFs) and addressing the ‘natural resource curse’ cataclysm which haunts many mineral resource rich countries in Africa. This is grounded on the AFRODAD 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, whose main goal is to contribute to the development and implementation of transparent, accountable and efficient mechanisms for mobilization and utilization of domestic resources in Africa.
With a view to contribute to the reduction of IFFs from Africa and increase domestic resources for the SDGs, AFRODAD hosts an annual regional dialogue to engage allied Parliamentarians and actors including CSOs from a variety of fields (climate and gender groups, journalists, trade union associations, private sector and religious groups) to share ideas, information, and discuss strategic approaches to halting illicit financial flows from Africa.
AFRODAD efforts are in line with paragraph 23 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA):
“We will redouble efforts to substantially reduce illicit financial flows by 2030, with a view to eventually eliminating them, including by combating tax evasion and corruption through strengthened national regulation and increased international cooperation. We will also reduce opportunities for tax avoidance, and consider inserting anti-abuse clauses in all tax treaties. We will enhance disclosure practices and transparency in both source and destination countries, including by seeking to ensure transparency in all financial transactions between Governments and companies to relevant tax authorities.
We will make sure that all companies, including multinationals, pay taxes to the Governments of countries where economic activity occurs and value is created, in accordance with national and international laws and policies”.
Why combating IFFs from Africa is key?
Volumes of IFFs from Africa are huge and have been increasing over the years. Evidence from literature on the subject of illicit financial flows, including the report of the High Level Panel on illicit financial flows from Africa, argues that if illicit outflows are curbed, and the funds used domestically, the scale of the flows involved will have significant positive impact on development, and reduce Africa’s reliance on aid and external borrowing to finance development. Currently, illicit financial flows from Africa are estimated to be as much as USD 50 billion per annum. IFFs limit government expenditure on some of the most critical sectors such as health education. Furthermore, IFFs compromises equitable control, access and ownership of natural resources. It is in this view that combating IFFs remains a prerequisite for effective and efficient domestic resource mobilization and financing sustainable development. There is therefore need to escalate the role of Parliament and Civil society in combating IFFs from Africa.
Overall aim of the conference
AFRODAD recognizes the need to advocate for and mobilize support for formulation and implementation of policies at national, regional and global levels to increase transparency of financial flows, support tax justice and domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, the objectives of this conference are:
- To engage allied Parliamentarians and actors including CSOs from a variety of fields (climate and gender groups, journalists, trade union associations, private sector and religious groups) to share ideas, information, and discuss strategic approaches to halting illicit financial flows from Africa.
- To provide a platform for learning, divergent thinking and dialogue on future prospect for the continent to effectively mobilise domestic resources for SDGs.
Conference Thematic issues for discussion will be:
- Current efforts and challenges in the region in curbing illicit financial flows, particularly in the context of the recommendations of the High Level Panel on
- Tax Governance and IFFs in Africa, what needs to be done?
- Financial Transparency - the issues? Benefits and Challenges? What is the progress?
- Country by Country Reporting: Benefits and Challenges
- Beneficial Ownership
- Automatic Exchange of Information
- Open data and IFFs
- International Institutional Architecture, who is making the rules? The push for an intergovernmental tax body.
- Links between human rights and illicit financial flows.
- Assessment of Africa’s capacity to curb illicit financial flows, challenges and opportunities.
- Review of the domestication of AMV in member states as a tool to curb IFFs from the extractive sector, role and support provided by the AMDC.
- Strengthening the Stop the Bleeding Campaign.
- Deepened understanding of efforts being made and challenges faced in curbing IFFs at national, regional and international levels.
- Strong regional and global Civil Society/Parliamentarian/Media Networks that can influence government decisions in fighting illicit financial flows in their respective regions.
- Recommendations on how to increase the capacity of government agencies to fight illicit financial flows effectively.
- Recommendations on how best to deal with legislative, administrative and operational challenges.
- Identify issues which require more research.
- Summary draft document of conclusions and recommendation.
Invited participants to the conference will be drawn from parliamentarians of national and regional parliaments from Africa (Pan African Parliament, Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum, East African Parliament and the Economic Community of West African States parliament), Asia, Europe and Latin America. Experts working on IFFs from African Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and regional economic communities such as SADC, EAC, and ECOWAS will attend. Pan-African Civil society and global civil society organizations working on IFFs have been invited. Selected media houses will be present.
Dates: 21-22 March 2017
Venue: Grand Legacy Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
 Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years. It seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
 Agenda 2030 also known as the Sustainable Development Agenda was adopted by world leaders at the UN Summit in September 2015. The Agenda 2030 consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to be achieved by 2