UPDATE: The report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financil Flows chaired by President Mbeki was adopted by the African Union Summit meeting on 31st January 2015. This represents a major milestone for the global tax justice movement. Campaigners throughout Africa can now push their governments to implement the many measures identified by the report. Similarly, campaigners in non-AU countries, especially in Europe and North America, can put pressure on their governments to take strong action against OECD based secrecy jurisdictions and against the large community of multinational businesses and investors who avoid and evade tax in African countries. Tax Justice Network is proud of its contribution to the varied processes that have led over a number of years to the adoption of this report.
From Christian Aid, via email:
A new African Union report showing how financial crime drains at least $50 billion a year from the continent will turbo-charge the global campaign for tax justice, Christian Aid says today.
The new report, from a high level panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, says Africa loses more through crimes such as tax dodging and corruption than it gains through development aid each year.
“This is an extraordinarily important report which could shift the global debate on tax, financial transparency and corruption,” said Joseph Stead, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid.
“This is the first time that African countries have spoken out so strongly and in unison about how these financial crimes are hurting their people. That is a big deal.
“From now on, it will be much harder for the OECD and other rich country groupings to argue, that tax dodging, corruption, money laundering and so on are not a top priority for African governments.
“The Mbeki report removes any excuse for not taking immediate and effective action against the multinationals draining billions from developing countries, the shell companies holding looted money and the financial secrecy which protects everyone with dirty money to hide.”
Christian Aid also welcomed the report’s recommendations for actions to help stop companies and individuals robbing African countries.
“We agree that the solutions lie in reforms including public country-by-country reporting for multinationals, public registers of the real owners of companies and a new system of automatic sharing of financial information between governments,” added Mr Stead.
“This is why Christian Aid is part of a collation of UK organisations calling for a Tax Dodging Bill that would include public country-by-country reporting for UK companies.
“Rich countries are already pursuing some level of reform but very much with their own interests in mind. The particular needs of developing countries have often been an afterthought.
“The Mbeki report must act as a wake-up call, and speed the introduction of international tax and financial systems in which all countries have a say.”
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Notes to Editors:
- Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
- Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf explains how we set about this task.
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- For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk