| October 27, 2017

ABUJA, African countries are losing 50 billio US dollars annually through illicit financial flows (IFFs), says the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Thomas Quartey.

Speaking here Thursday on the AU's theme for next year -- Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation -- he said the money was being siphoned through the activities of multinational companies operating in Africa, which siphoned its resources through massive corruption.

This is taking place through weak transparency and accountability mechanisms that allow tax avoidance, trade mis-invoicing, abusive transfer pricing, and many other ways used to deny Africa to reap its resources dividends. As a result, the continent loses, on an annual basis, an average of 50 million dollars through the IFFs," he said.

These funds could be used to drive socio-economic development and structural transformation of this continent to address major problems of unemployment, inequality, poverty and underdevelopment."

According to Quartey, there is also evidence that the social, legal, political and economic aspects of development are linked, and that corruption in any one sector, therefore, impedes development in all of them.

He said where corruption was tacitly accepted as a means of doing business, efforts to improve legal and regulatory frameworks were unlikely to succeed.

He added that corruption flourished in an environment where public and private sector structures such as the rule of law and transparency of proceedings failed to protect and treat fairly the various stakeholders.

In the extractive sector, illegal logging and mining, diversion of oil revenue and illicit appropriation of public assets have emerged as the overwhelming challenges of corruption, he added.

He said the problem of corruption in Africa could not be tackled by crafting policies, which are exclusively domestic-oriented.

At a minimum, there is need to sharply increase the transparency of the international financial system and to augment the capacity of States, so as to place an obstacle to illicit financial flows, he said.

The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Olukunle Bamgbose, said the meeting was to brainstorm on the best way to consolidate common programmes and processes for continent-wide application of the anti-corruption agenda in all member States.

Bamgbose said Africa would succeed in its anti-graft war if all countries on the continent were united with the same vigour and commitment to combat corruption.


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