July 15 – 17, 2019; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Several African institutions which also operate as members of the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows from Africa met this week to initiate the development of a continental index to help measure and track illicit outflows from the continent. The meeting which was called by TrustAfrica and supported by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) saw several members of the Consortium as well as external partners work together on this issue towards the goal of implementing the recommendations of the High Level Panel Report on IFFs from Africa (Mbeki Report) and ultimately, the reduction of illicit outflows from the continent.
The Executive Directors of CoDA and TrustAfrica, Mrs. Souad Aden-Osman and Dr Ebrima Sall respectively expressed their combined commitment to working on this issue in a collaborative nature. Mrs. Aden-Osman expressed the need to keep abreast of the changing political climate with regards to addressing IFFs. She stated that “although we as a group have taken numerous commendable steps to effectively address this issue, we must always be aware that very little progress can be made without the political will of African Union Member States. As such, we must never lose focus on the continual development of their capacities to combat illicit financial outflows.”
In his remarks, Dr Sall stressed from a non-governmental view, the need to create a more open space for civil society actors to advocate and take action, regardless how limited, on this issue. He added that “civil society organisations cannot be seen only as advocates for change but also as policy actors, research institutions and capacity builders.” He concluded by highlighting the importance of bringing all relevant stakeholders into the fold on this issue.
It was based on these thoughts that the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) which was part of the meeting, was welcomed as the newest member of the Consortium as well as its technical arm, the IFF Working Group (IWG). It was also at this meeting that strategies beyond the existing systems were developed towards taking further and more relevant action on this issue were established.
The meeting concluded with newly developed strategies for the development of the aforementioned index as well as new methods of contribution to the efforts to stem IFFs from the continent.
Operating as the technical arm of the AU Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa, the IWG sought to re-establish a coordinated approach to implementation of the AU Special Declaration on IFFs from Africa, and by extension, the recommendations of the Mbeki Panel. The eighteen African institutions in the working group unanimously agreed to maintain and upscale ongoing efforts at national, regional and global level to implement cohesively and report in a structured manner. They also committed to foster additional research to deepen the understanding of the phenomenon and strengthen national level interventions.