An international conference: Tackling Illicit Financial Flows: An African approach to a global phenomenon
250 delegates from 42 countries attended an international conference on the theme “Tackling Illicit Financial Flows: An African approach to a global phenomenon” in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 24 – 26 May 2017. Among the participants were representatives from African Ministries of Finance, Tax Authorities, Supreme Audit Institutions and Public Accounts Committees. International organisations such as the African Union, NEPAD, OECD, Global Financial Integrity, Tax Justice Network, Action Aid and ARINSA were also present.
The conference resulted in four African Good Financial Governance (GFG) networks, as organisers of the conference, and several delegates signing the GFG Declaration. The Declaration lists agreements of joint and individual actions to be carried out by the networks and its members in the fight against IFFs. It optimises the mandate of these GFG networks in combatting IFFs and pledges to cooperate with the African Union (AU) Commission at a technical level to continue the leading work of the AU High Level Panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The conference was opened by the Prime Minister, Head of the Government of Cameroon and the Head of Delegation of the European Union in Cameroon as well as the Ambassador of Germany. Throughout the three-day event, delegates discussed various topics such as social and economic impacts of IFFs in African countries and the importance of a communication strategy in the fight against IFFs. It was agreed that the illegal outflow of money (at least 50 billion USD annually) strongly impedes development in Africa. On the second day, the participants divided themselves into three breakaway groups to more intensely discuss challenges, gaps, good practices and ways forward to curb IFFs. The breakaway sessions were organised around the main drivers of IFFs: commercial activities, corruption and criminal activities. The results of each group discussion were presented to the plenary. Thereby, capacity building, awareness, interagency cooperation and law enforcement were identified as key focus areas for lessening the illegal movement of money and will be included in the activities of the GFG networks.
The conference was hosted by the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI), and organised in partnership with the African Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC), the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) with support from the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation.