The meeting shed light on instability in Africa as a major repercussion of illicit financial flows.
Rabat – The United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa organized on Thursday a meeting with a number of high-level participants around the Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and the African Union’s initiative on “Silencing Guns” in Africa.
Initiated by the permanent missions of South Africa and Nigeria at the UN, the meeting focused on the impact of Illicit Financial Flows in fueling instability in Africa, and its links to the challenge of securing continental security and stability.
During the online meeting, participants — with a majority from African countries — shed light on the economic, social, and political impact of IFFs on African countries. They spoke in terms of much-needed funds to help assist Africa in these trying COVID-19 times and help its post-pandemic recovery.
IFFs are illegal movements of funds between countries, from illegal sources, such as human and drug-trafficking, terrorist groups, and corrupt officers among others.
When the AU adopted its 2063 agenda in May 2013, African policymakers insisted the continent needed to significantly reduce IFFs and combat all forms of organized crime in the continent by 2030.
In the opening statement of the meeting, the AU’s permanent observer to the UN, Fatima Kyari Mohammed, said that the Illicit Financial Flows facilitate crime transactions.
Calling for draining resources of IFFs, she suggested that addressing the IFFs is an optimal solution to instability in Africa.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina J. Mohammed, for her part, recalled the sociological impact of IFFs. She pointed out that women and girls are documeted victims of trafficking and sexual abuse.
Munir Akram, the president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, called on “safe haven” countries to take more robust legal actions against tax evaders. He also urged African countries to reduce taxes
The meeting follows the 14th Extraordinary AU Summit on “Silencing the Guns.”
During the AU summit, Morocco’s Minister Delegate ofForeign Affairs, Mohcine Jazouli, said that achieving the objectives of “silencing the guns in Africa” requires AU member states to respect the body’s official decisions.
Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, also a high-level participan during the meeting, painted a grim picture of illicit transactions’ impact on African economies. Citing figures from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Hilale pointed out that Africa loses $80 billion annually on illicit financial flows..
The Moroccan official also called for engaging the youth, women and academics in the fight against IFFs, noting that combating this phenomenon is a matter of ethics and broader societal engagement.
The meeting concluded by calling on Arican countries to strengthen their investigation abilities against IFFs actors and pointing to the “critical” role of journalists and media in exposing corruption.