The African Union Commission said that blocking illicit financial outflow from Africa and repatriating the funds were important in financing the Sustainable Development Goals on the continent.
The AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Dr Anthony Maruping, said this at a news conference at the ninth joint Annual Meeting of the AU Specialised Technical Committee for Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was organised by the AU in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The theme of the conference is: “Towards an integrated and coherent approach to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 20163 and the SDGs.’’
NAN also recalls that Agenda 2063 is a 20-goal Action Plan for all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and destiny.
The SDGs have 17 goals that follow and expand on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
It is expected to be achieved by 2030.
Maruping said that the commision had estimated that about 246 billion dollars was required to half poverty and inequality in Africa, yet the continent loses an estimated 50 billion dollars annually to illicit financial flows.
He stressed the commission’s stand to block this and use it to finance critical development projects that furthered the eradication of poverty and inequality in Africa.
He recalled that a high level panel, headed by former South Africa President, Thebo Mbeki, was set up to access the impact of the financial outflow on the continent.
He said the research became important when it was clear that in spite of the inflow of social development assistance, the continent had suffered and was continuing to suffer from insufficient resources for development.
“The best part of increasing revenue is to block these illicit outflow because what is outflowing Africa illicitly is equal to or more than our official earnings.
“So if we can block these leakages, there will be a lot of resources at our disposal for development.
“Illicit financial outflow has many facets. So we need to understand all these. So we are doing something and not just talking the talk,” he said.
Maruping said it was not easy to gain outside support for the cause because the western world was gaining from some of these outflow. So they may not cooperate.
“But we are still trying and some of them may help us. At least G7 and G20 indicated interest in helping Africa repatriate these funds.”
Maruping said that after the research on illicit financial flow by the high level panel, the AU was at the stage of drafting modalities towards its impelementation.
“We have consulted with stakeholders in Nairobi for South and Eastern Africa, and in Accra for North, West and Central Africa.
“Also, a consortium of organisations with expertise in various areas of anti-illicit financial flow was formed.
“It is an association of experts in tax matters, So they will also be looking at what we can do to make sure that multilateral corporations don’t evade or avoid tax.
“Some are accountants and they will tell us some of the techniques, how these funds are flowing out and what we can do to address it,” he said.
Maruping said that lawyers were part of the consortium to look at existing investments agreements with other continents.
He called on African countries to embrace an integrated and coherent approach to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 2063 and SDGs.
He urged member states to harmonise Agendas 2063 and 2030 for Africa`s transformation. (NAN)