Building on the Momentum of the HLP Report

  1. In order to achieve the mandates delivered by the African Heads of States in the Special Declaration on IFFs, it was clear that there is the need to not only disseminate the findings and recommendations of this report; but also to prepare an actionable plan for these recommendations to be implemented at all levels. Strong collaboration and consistent engagement between various African institutions, particularly those who had been specifically identified within the Special Declaration, was extremely crucial. In line with this, the ECA has worked to establish streamlined support to the anti-IFF agenda by creating a forum for these very institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
  2. Given the numerous stakeholders and actors involved in the implementation of the recommendations, a systematic and coherent framework (Anti-IFF Project) is being developed based on the coalition of African and non-African stakeholders which first met at the Stakeholder Workshop on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the HLP Report on IFFs from Africa in Addis Ababa, on 4 and 5 June 2015. They met to coordinate and streamline the support for the implementation of the recommendations of the Panel. The stakeholders included AU and its organs; ECA, AfDB, the RECs, the Pan-African Parliament, the African Capacity Building Forum, ATAF, GFI, Tax Justice Network-Africa and other Civil Society organizations. They committed to reverse the outflows by acting both on the specificities in the countries and the global level.
  3. This coalition of Stakeholders was essentially the earliest form and foundation of what will eventually become the Consortium of Stakeholders working together to stem IFFs from Africa. Following the Stakeholder Workshop, ECA worked to promote continued engagement at all levels in the implementation of the HLP recommendations while also providing the opportunity to strengthen the alliance against IFFs. This led to the Subregional Workshops to Curb IFFs which were held in Nairobi (September, 2015) with participants from Eastern and Southern Africa and in Accra (November, 2015) with participants from Central, Northern and Western Africa. Both workshops brought together stakeholders who among other participants were involved in previous regional consultations with the High Level Panel on IFFs.
  4. The continued engagement of these consistent stakeholders meant a cohesive and continued development of the ECA’s implementation plan which grew into the holistic anti-IFF Project. It was thus agreed and decided upon at these Subregional Workshops that the establishment of the Consortium of stakeholders to oversee the implementation of this anti-IFF Project and ultimately stem the growth of IFFs from Africa was a crucial necessity. In line with this, the inaugural meeting of the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa was then held on 13-14 June 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting which was organized by the Secretariat of the High Level Panel on IFFs and the ECA. The meeting was attended by Panel members and all relevant Stakeholders whom they have engaged in the process so far. These included the Pan-African and global institutions working on IFFs in Africa. The main objective of the event was to discuss the consortium’s operations and the planned activities relating to the implementation of the recommendations of the Panel. Additionally, the meeting provided a platform for all members to share information, ongoing activities and best practices in their work to stem IFFs from Africa
  5. Besides ensuring more streamlined collaboration on the anti-IFF agenda, the main purpose of the Consortium would be to leverage partnerships and provide overall strategic direction of efforts to reduce IFFs from Africa. Among other objectives, the consortium is expected to:
  • Provide a platform for exchange of experiences and best practices on the interventions to counter IFFs
  • Guide a Joint Delivery of actions on the basis of comparative advantage and pooling of resources for effectively stemming IFFs from Africa.
  • Contribute to the Annual Report on Curbing IFFs which is to be submitted to the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government.
  1. Subsequently, a number of core members from within the consortium whom had been a part of the process since the report was released agreed to begin the technical work on the development of the Terms of Reference of the Consortium, the anti-IFF Project Document and all other necessary working documents by holding a workshop ahead of the next meeting of the Consortium. This turned out to be the First Technical Workshop of the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa which was held on 21 – 22 November, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. This meeting also led to the constitution of the IFF Working Group (IWG). The newly formed IWG is expected to operate as the technical arm of, and provide support to the Consortium as a whole. The IWG’s meetings are attended at the technical level of the institutions. Furthermore, the work of the IWG will be based on the decisions of the Consortium and its work will also feed into the subsequent annual meetings of the Consortium. The idea behind this was to promote ownership, strengthened engagement and coherence among the leading Pan-African institutions given specific mandates by the AU Special Declaration to support implementation of the recommendations of the Panel.
  2. Going forward, the IWG has now completed the anti-IFF Project Document in view of its review and endorsement by the Consortium at its next meeting in 2018. Following this, implementation of the anti-IFF Project will begin in earnest. The Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) which has been a key member of the IWG and operates as a special initiative of the African Union, United Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank will be directly leading the administrative efforts of the implementation process. In this regard, CoDA is best equipped to support both the AU and the Consortium in tackling the issue of IFFs. As the CoDA secretariat will be directly handling IFF matters in support of the mandate of the Consortium, it will in effect report to the Consortium on all IFF related efforts.
  3. Indeed, as we can all agree, the continent is taking tangible steps towards a coherent approach to curb IFFs. Non-African governments are doing the same which calls for a collaboration anchored on voicing common but differentiated responses – a coordinated collaboration underpinning the necessity to make the global financial architecture more transparent and to strengthen accountability towards improved government, societal and corporate responsibilities, further paving the path for an inclusive and sustainable development.