Billions lost by Africa in illicit outflows

22 July 2019 | Business

Illicit financial outflows have reduced Africa's tax revenues, undermined trade and investment opportunities, and deepened poverty on the continent.

This was said by the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, during the 16th ordinary session of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) held by the heads of African intelligence and security services in Nigeria last week.

In his keynote address Buhari, said more than US$50 billion had left the continent illegally in the form of tax evasion, bribery, corruption and cross-border smuggling, with large commercial corporations allegedly being the biggest culprits.

He said these clandestine activities are not recorded, which means there is no accurate data for African countries. The final communication issued by CISSA stated that the conference discussed the various means by which CISSA member states could support national, regional and continental efforts to combat illicit financial outflows such as tracing and recovery of illicit funds lodged outside the continent and the proper utilisation of these recovered assets for national development.

“A common thread that permeated throughout all the presentations was that Africa loses billions of dollars annually in illicit financial outflows, which have become a serious threat to the continent's sustainable development, governance as well as peace and security agenda. This threat also undermines Africa's efforts to combat terrorism and the attainment of Agenda 2063, inducing its flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020,” the statement read.

The conference also discussed social media as a threat and resolved to take necessary measures to analyse it while at the same time guaranteeing citizens' right to information.

The conference further took stock of the gains that had been made since its 15th conference held in Windhoek, in contribution to the building of a conflict-free African continent as per the African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the year 2020.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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