Against the backdrop of the dire situation that many African countries have found themselves in due to Covid-19, the Stop the Bleeding (STB) campaign relaunched the initiative during the 12th edition of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) which was held virtually from 8th to 12th February 2021, under the theme “Building forward together, pivoting the extractives sector for adaptation and resilience against COVID-19.”
The STB campaign is steered by six diverse pan-African movements, namely: Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA); The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET); Trust Africa, African Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD); African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) and Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU). Chenai Mukumba, Policy Research and Advocacy Manager at TJNA and moderator for the event reiterated the importance of the STB campaign and how more relevant this relaunch was especially at a time when effects of Covid-19 were being felt globally. “The pandemic has thrown more Africans into poverty and further exacerbated the inequality gap both among and within African countries. The evidence of Africa’s failure to leverage on its natural resource sector compels civil society to double up its advocacy on extractives to improve the living conditions of its people.”
Speaking virtually during the event, Jason Braganza, Executive Director of AFRODAD noted that the relaunch of the STB campaign would solidify the desperately needed financial architecture for Africa with regards to advocacy for stopping linkages from Africa which have affected the continent and have been hindering it from adequately providing for its people. ‘As AFRODAD our take is that looting and corruption scandals across the continent clearly lead to further indebtedness challenges within the continent. Deviation of resources meant to support the citizens translates to the tax payer suffering the biggest brunt.
Mr. Braganza also advised that a campaign like the STB is the ideal conversation needed “to strengthen the voice of the civil society movement across the continent and to understand how Illicit financial flows (IFFs) continue to cause the bleeding in more ways either through tax evasion, tax avoidance, money laundering and criminal activities as more resources continue to be spent to creditors rather than spending it on protecting citizens”. The STB campaign was first launched in 2015 and was driven by “the strong belief in the voices of mobilised students, trade unions, faith-based organizations and other grassroots social movements to urge decision makers to stop the bleeding of Africa’s resources through illicit outflows.”
This drive found a further impetus from the report of the high level panel (HLP) on IFFs out of Africa that established how big the problem was. The report estimated that Africa was bleeding more than US$50 billion annually with the extractive sector being the driver of the loss. Indications from the recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Tackling IFFs for Sustainable Development in Africa indicates that the problem of IFFs is festering. According to UNCTAD, Africa is now losing US$88.6 billion annually, significantly more than the amount revealed in the report of the HLP on IFFs only 6 years ago.