On 1 December 2022, the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), CODESRIA, South Centre, and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung held the first of a three-part series of the Second African Fiscal Policy Forum on Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). The Forum brought together key stakeholders to discuss the current global processes towards combatting IFFs, the role of African regional institutions, and the importance of supporting Africa’s Domestic Resource Mobilisation efforts.
The event was moderated by Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Alternative Chair of the CoDA Technical Committee on Domestic Resource Mobilisation and featured statements and remarks by Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, former Prime Minister of Sudan and Member of CoDA’s Board of Directors, Hon. Sosten Alfred Gwengwe MP, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Malawi, Prof. Florens Luoga, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and H.E. José Antonio Ocampo, former Finance Minister of Colombia and Panellist of the UN Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (UN-FACTI) Panel. The distinguished dignitaries highlighted the persisting challenges of corruption, the inadequate response of the global community in improving the global financial system to curb IFFs and facilitate stolen asset recovery, and the impact on domestic resource mobilisation and economic growth of developing countries.
The discussions in the Forum were facilitated by two panels on the topics - “Curbing Commercial IFFs: Towards a Fairer Tax Regime for Africa? and Interventions to Stimulate and Accelerate Stolen Asset Recovery: Towards an Enhanced Cooperation? The panellists described the political, technical, and global environment enabling IFFs and militating against effective tax and regulatory regimes in Africa despite the stipulation and force of the landmark United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) as well as the efforts by national, regional, international, and civil society organisations towards its amelioration.
In his intervention on Stolen Asset Recovery, the Director and CEO of the African Legal Support Facility, Olivier Pognon highlighted the challenges faced by countries in recovering misappropriated public resources and shared the experience of the ALSF in supporting African countries in this effort. He noted the external political and economic factors that constrain cooperation from “requested states” and some internal factors within African countries such as capacity, resources, conflicts of interest and governance. He explained the ALSF’s Prevention role in supporting countries to address these issues - including negotiating fair and balanced commercial contracts between governments and their counterparties in critical sectors such as sovereign finance, energy, natural resources and extractives, and infrastructure PPPs; implementing transparent procurement systems; as well as strengthening and harmonising national and regional legal and regulatory regimes. Additionally, the Remediation or Curative role of the ALSF supports African countries in litigation or arbitration against claimants or commercial creditors to safeguard public resources and recover misappropriated assets. Ultimately, the capacity building programmes of the ALSF and the institution and strengthening of good governance through all the ALSF’s interventions are fundamental to the objective to eradicate IFFs from Africa in the long term.
In closing, the Executive Director of CoDA, Ms. Souad Aden-Osman emphasised Africa’s Common Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR) endorsed by African Heads of State and Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development and the importance of cooperation among stakeholders to implement the CAPAR.
The ALSF is a member of the Consortium to stem IFFs from Africa and the IFF Working Group (IWG) coordinated by CoDA.
For more, see the event outcomes and recommendations here.