Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) has embraced innovation to remain on course and is hosting a ten days virtual capacity building for tax justice advocates in Africa.
The activity brings together participants from civil society, media, trade unions, policy makers and academia whose goal is to create collaboration to curb Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
With the onslaught of the global coronavirus pandemic, there are concerns that the scale and scope of IFFs could be increasing. While authorities focus on the pandemic, other actors should not be distracted.
“For African countries to stand on their feet economically and finance their own development, they need and seal the loopholes facilitating outflow of resources, at the same time encourage creative and innovative ways to finance the development agenda. We need to pull on the same side” said Alvin Mosioma, the Executive Director, TJNA.
During the academy, TJNA endevours to empower the target groups with skills to identify, track and report illicit outflows from the continent.
While there is dependence on the academia and research institutions for publication of scientific studies, it is the role of the civil society to advocate for increased transparency around public revenues and expenditures.
The media should invest in improving their skills for in-depth investigations and expose abuses for action to be taken.
Lastly, trade unions should take advantage of their regional presence and explore possibilities of collaborating with non-state actors to combat IFFs in Africa.
Africa is endowed with significant natural resource wealth and with good husbandry could finance its own development.
There however exist illegal cross border movement of money and capital that threaten the continent’s sustainable development and have been growing every year.
Africa is home to the world’s largest arable landmass; second largest and longest rivers and its second largest tropical forest.
According to a study by the African Development Bank Group, the total value added of its fisheries and aquaculture sector alone is estimated at USD 24 billion. In addition, about 30% of all global mineral reserves are found in Africa.
The continent’s proven oil reserves constitute 8% of the world’s stock and those of natural gas amount to 7%. Minerals account for an average of 70% of total African exports and about 28% of gross domestic product.
Despite this and having achieved achieved independence well over fifty years ago, the global financial and tax systems are rigged against their interests.
This has severely affected the sovereignty of African nations by undermining domestic revenue mobilization in Africa that is required for public spending and investment, forcing many governments to borrow and rely on overseas development assistance.
Revelations, like the Panama Papers, Paradise Papers and Luanda Leaks, show the role many former imperial powers and their dependencies play in enabling illicit financial flows from the continent.
These flows out of the continent and associated revenue losses dwarf finance that flows inward in the form of overseas development assistance, remittances and loans” said Rachel Etter-Phoya of Tax Justice Network who is also a trainer in the ongoing ITJA.
It is envisaged that beyond the skills development, the seventh edition of the International Tax Justice Academy will birth strengthened alliance of tax justice advocates with enhanced capacities to reduce IFFs and are involved in the tax justice debate.