Africa’s media focuses on IFFs facilitated by trade-based financial crime

Over 60 selected media professionals from across Africa have participated in a weeklong workshop in the Rwandan city of Nyamata that focused on the cost and prevalence of illicit financial flows (IFFs) out of African countries.

The workshop looked at the menace of IFFs through the prism of how much tax revenue escapes capture across Africa and focused on data that show the majority of IFFs are facilitated by trade-based financial crime.

Major policy concern

The workshop was organised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and hosted by the Rwanda Revenue Authority. It was the second ATAF-organised media engagement and training session on the continent.

Phenyo Butale, a member of Botswana’s parliament who spoke at the workshop, impressed on Africans the need to manage the continent’s resources, noting that the problem of IFFs and their costs for the continent’s economies has always been a development issue of major concern for policymakers.

Trade-based financial crime

Butale quoted figures from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa that estimate Africa lost US$80 billion annually between 2000 and 2015 through IFFs facilitated by trade-based financial crime.

This, he said, was in addition to around US$27 billion estimated net annual losses through other channels.

Cross-border collaboration

Taken together, this represents losses of more than US$100 billion annually, which represents around four per cent of the continent’s gross domestic product.

The minister underscored the fact that the illicit transfer of assets cannot be successful without cross-border collaboration between the countries that they are transferred from and international financial institutions in the countries that receive them.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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