As part of the renewed focus by the African Union (AU) to stem illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa, the IFF Working Group (IWG) met to discuss the practical implementation of the recommendations of the AU/ECA High Level Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, also known as the ‘Mbeki Report’. This fifth meeting of the group saw an internal restructuring aimed at clear action to address IFFs and also coordinated reporting on its progress to African Union Member States.
The meeting was organized by the Secretariat of the AU Consortium to Stem IFFs from Africa and the founding member of the IWG, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) at its West and Central Africa Regional Office in Accra, Ghana. In his welcoming remarks, the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie who was ably represented by Mr. Dickson Antwi of the ACBF Accra office stated that IFFs are considered as a key contributory factor to the underdevelopment of Africa. He added that “Clearly, IFFs can be argued to contribute to many of the problems we face in Africa, including heavy dependency on external resource to finance development programs, migration of youth population and eventually the growing menace of terrorism experienced in the continent.” He concluded by stressing the continued commitment of the ACBF to the efforts of the Consortium to reverse the tide on IFFs.
Advocate Mojanku Gumbi, Senior Legal Adviser, Thabo Mbeki Foundation & Co-Chair of the IWG reminded the team that it is a working group for the implementation of the Panel’s recommendations and the focus on this should not be lost. Speaking on behalf of H.E. Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the Consortium to Stem IFFs from Africa, she further reiterated the need for continued collaboration between all members and highlighted the hopes of the Chair that this IWG would come out with a clear programme of action which actionably addresses this crucial agenda. Advocate Gumbi also stressed the need to deliver the right message on this agenda despite push back from external parties. She told the group to “never forget that even though the media might focus on corruption, this pales in comparison to the magnitude of outflows from commercial forms of IFFs.”
Operating as the technical arm of the AU Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa, the IWG sought to re-establish a coordinated approach to implementation of the AU Special Declaration on IFFs from Africa, and by extension, the recommendations of the Mbeki Panel. The eighteen African institutions in the working group unanimously agreed to maintain and upscale ongoing efforts at national, regional and global level to implement cohesively and report in a structured manner. They also committed to foster additional research to deepen the understanding of the phenomenon and strengthen national level interventions.