The Ghana Tax Justice Coalition (GTJC), the national chapter of the Tax Justice Network-Africa, has urged African governments to degree zero tolerance against Illicit Financial Flows (IFF).
It said: “Africa’s transformation calls for accountable and transparent leadership, democratic popular participation, and agenda for democratic developmental states. The time has come for the continent to act together, to fight IFF together, and all this demands political will and participation of every citizen.”
A statement signed by Mr Bernard Anaba, GTJC Co-ordinator on behalf of the Coalition and other civil society organizations in Africa at the end of the African Union's IFF consultation conference in Accra, and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Sunday, said from political independence to economic independence in Africa, the levels of inequality and poverty have continued to rise, while Africa’s vibrant economic growth continues to benefit very few people.
It said the definition of IFF should include some details on the illicit and the illegal activities, in order to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstandings, the definition should be wider than just illegality.
It said: “Our response to IFF must explicitly promote equity and financial inclusion for small holders, women and the informal sector, with the view to enhancing their productive capacities, capabilities and opportunities within a wider framework of development that promotes dynamic interaction between the local, national and the regional in economic production and relations”.
The statement said corruption remains a re-occurring decimal in the question of economic governance as it relates to IFF out of the continent.
It said recovering Africa’s stolen wealth would be the most challenging aspect of the campaign on IFF, but history has demonstrated that change is possible, and political will plays a critical role in making that change happen.
It said the subject of asset recovery has been tried and tested, and given the presence of various international agreements, Africa stands to win the battle, if, the continent unites against the offender and defines global partnership on the basis of justice.
The statement said, in order to combat IFF, there must be conscious efforts to domesticate protocols and conventions that arise from this process with clear work plans, milestones and time frames to check progress.
It urges governments to facilitate a broad multi-stakeholder process that shapes and guides actions towards eliminating IFFs in the respective countries.
The statement said governments should launch a national integration process that empowers young people to own and drive development.
It calls on governments to establish effective mechanisms for controlling asset declarations by persons seeking political office.
It further recommends that at the region level, priority is given to collaboration among countries’ intelligence agencies and regulatory authorities making it mandatory to share information on transactions within, in and out of the region that could constitute IFF.
The statement encourages governments to put in place a continental declaration on IFF to demonstrate political will towards it, and to develop an accountability mechanism such as the G8 accountability reporting system to demonstrate impact on tracking, stopping and getting back the stolen funds and assets.
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