We the citizens from 17 African countries comprising of public officials, civil society and private sector from across the West and Central African regions attending the AU IFF consultation in Accra, Ghana from the 2nd to the 3rd of December, 2013. From political independence to Economic Independence in Africa, the levels of inequality and poverty have continued to rise while Africa’s vibrant economic growth continues to benefit very few people.
Africa’s transformation calls for Accountable and Transparent leadership, time has come for the continent to ACT together, to fight IFF together and all these demands political will and participation of every citizen.
We hereby submit the following recommendations,
- Definition of IFF: The definition should include some details on the Illicit and the Illegal activities in order to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstandings. The mobilization against IFF supports genuine investments but opposes any business activity that undermines Africa’s development. Secondly, the concept of IFF should link the activities on its impact on Africa’s development.
- Corruption and IFF: Corruption by public officers remains a re-occurring decimal in the question of economic governance as it relates to illicit financial flow out of the continent. Though stated as a negligible component of IFFs at 5%, it should however be viewed as an enabler and assumes a larger dimension in the practicability of IFF. Therefore there is the need to adopt strategies that deal with the question of corruption in the other components of IFFs
- Inclusive approach: While we recognise efforts at stopping the illicit financial flow from Africa, for such efforts to yield desirable results it is imperative that the process and actions of these efforts be inclusive. Women who are severely affected by the lack of public infrastructure resulting from the losses caused by IFF and young people in the continent, who in the future are likely to feel more of the impact of such illicit outflow need to be actively involved in all of the effort at finding solution to the challenges.
- Bill Board: The bill board idea is great. It was recommended that the inscriptions and images should be more African an representative of the massage being conveyed.
- All in all, there is need to generate anger among all stakeholders in Africa on the detrimental impacts of IFF with a view to track it, stop it and get it.
The meeting recognises that tracking the illicit outflow of fund from the continent is critical to stopping the continued loss of valuable resources needed for developmental projects in Africa. In order to do this – Africa needs to do the following,
– Establish effective institutions and reliable structures such as audits and financial intelligence units
– Fund the various government units responsible for tracking IFF by providing human, technological and financial capacity to effectively track and report on IFF.
– Increase transparency, and information management and information sharing across the continent by frequent reporting and analysis of impact of IFF, collaboration amongst financial reporting authorities and creations of platforms for information sharing on financial transactions amongst multinational corporations,
– strengthening capacity of civil society and other stakeholders to monitor and support efforts for tracking IFF
– Enactment of complementary laws that protect whistle blowers across the region.
The meeting recognises key issues that drive IFFs in the continent and key actions to stop the practise.
– Strengthen the capacity of revenue authorities to understand the international financial systems. At institutional level, adequate systems and structures must be put in place that addresses IFFs.
– Monitoring of financial flows across the continent where monetary institutions are strengthened and there is increase collaboration across board by such institutions in the continent.
– Criminalising IFF, blacklisting tax havens and Multinational Companies (MNC)s that engage in IFFs
– FOI must be enacted by all AU member states to foster transparency and increase.
– End discretionary awarding of tax incentives by centralisng the processing and subjecting all future incentives to a cost benefit analysis by parliament
– End harmful tax incentives that undermine Domestic resource Mobilisation
– Launch a Pan-African citizen’s movement to galvanise and mobilise the continent against IFF
Recovering Africa’s stolen wealth would be the most challenging aspects of the campaign on IFF but history has demonstrated that change is possible and political/diplomatic processes plays a critical role in making that change to happen. The subject of asset recovery has been tested and tried and given the presence of various international agreements, Africa stands to win the battle if the continent unites against the offender and defines global partnership on the basis of justice.
- Africa should adopt a declaration on IFF which will be harmonized with all currents agreements and partnership between the Africa Union and other continents such as Europe, America and Asia under the respective framework agreements.
- Africa should demand for the implementation of key conventions and agreements that would stop and reduce IFF.
- Africa Should put in place a mechanism such as the ICC on IFF to deal with offenders beyond borders. (ICC on IFF due to the lives lost each day)
Mechanism for Taking action in Africa
- There must be conscious efforts to domesticate protocols and conventions that arise from this process with clear work plans and time frame to check progress
- National governments should facilitate a broad multi-stakeholder process that shapes and guides actions towards eliminating IFFs in the respective countries.
- Launch a national integration process that empower young people to own and drive development
- Establishment of effective mechanisms for controlling assets declaration by persons seeking political office
Given the strategic importance of tracking of the illicit outflow of fund from the continent, the following recommendations where made:
– Establish mechanism for tracking and stopping IFF at the regional level with efforts such stopping the race to the bottom.
– Build the capacity of regional bodies to monitor all activities related to IFF
– Decentralise the monitoring and supervision of IFF to regional bodies such ECOWAS, SADC,
It is further recommended that the region prioritises collaboration among various countries intelligence agencies and regulatory authorities making mandatory sharing of information on transactions within, in and out of the region that could constitute IFF.
– Premise the success of Agenda 2063 against a stronger mobilization on IFF
– Renew Africa’s partnership with a call to joint Action with the friends of Africa
– Put in place a continental declaration on IFF to demonstrate political will
– Develop an Accountability mechanism such as the G8 accountability reporting system to demonstrate impact on Tracking, Stopping and Getting back the stolen funds and assets
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