AU says Africa loses $80B annually in illicit financial flows

AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga, on Thursday revealed Africa loses 80 billion U.S. dollars annually from illicit financial flows, which he described as impediment to Africa’s economic transformation.

Muchanga made the remarks on the sidelines of the opening of 32nd Ordinary session of the AU Executive Council under the framework of the 30th AU Summit, in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

“Africa loses 80 billion dollars in illicit financial flows, 70 percent of that in the extractive industries, that is mineral resources, accounted for by the accounting practices of multinational corporations which use a wide array of creative accounting,” he said.

Muchanga mentioned over-invoicing and low pricing to avoid paying taxes and declaring dividends as well as accumulating all the benefits of mining in other jurisdictions as examples of creative accounting.

“The issue of illicit financial flows has been taken up at the highest level by the Heads of State and Government, through the appointment of the High Panel led by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, which are actively engaging stakeholders to curb the flow of much needed resources from the continent,” he said.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union Commission Chairperson, also talked about the scourge of illicit financial flows during the opening 32nd Ordinary session of the AU Executive Council.

“All African nations are concerned with corruption coupled with illicit financial flows, at varying degrees. Like terrorism, the fight here should be global and can only be won by our collective action. The year 2018 is set to be the year of this fight,” he remarked.

Recognising the dangers of illicit financial flows to Africa’s renaissance, the 30th AU summit which kicked of Monday is being conducted under the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” The biannual summit will last until Jan.29

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