The second meeting of the IFF Working Group (IWG) commenced in Nairobi Thursday with Souad Aden-Osman, Coordinator of the Secretariat of the High-Level Panel (HLP) on Illicit Financial Flows(IFFs) from Africa and Senior Programme Officer for the Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), expressing the importance of all institutions present to continually forge ahead with the agenda to stem IFFs from the continent.
She said this is particularly important to avoid pitfalls such as allowing the discourse on IFFs to become less relevant both within and outside the continent.
Aden-Osman said this is one of the key reasons why the work of the IWG was so crucial as well as timely.
Aida Opoku-Mensah, Co-Chair of the IWG and Special Adviser to the Executive Secretary of the ECA, began her introductory remarks by recalling the work that has been done so far since the release of the HLP Report on IFFs in January 2015.
“Since the HLP Report was presented to the African Union Summit Heads of State, I can confidently say that the issue of IFFs is now firmly on Africa’s development agenda,” she said.
Ms. Opoku-Mensah further highlighted some of the key activities which have taken place following the awareness created by the HLP Report. This includes the ‘Stop the Bleeding’ campaign which was jointly launched by the Coalition of African Civil Society Organisations and the ECA, as well as the inauguration of the Consortium of Stakeholders to stem IFFs.
“This is not only a continental agenda but also an international one. Furthermore, curtailing IFFs is always going to be a crucial requirement for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Ms. Opoku-Mensah.
She concluded by expressing her hope that all members of the IWG present would continue to work together to strengthen the work of the Consortium to stem IFFs and ultimately pave the way for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable development.
The IWG is a sub-group of core members from within the Consortium of Stakeholders to Stem IFFs from Africa, all of whom have been a part of the process since the HLP Report was released in 2015.
The First Meeting of the IWG was held on 21 – 22 November 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, where it was initially constituted. The newly formed IWG is expected to operate as the technical arm of and provide support to the Consortium.
The IWG’s meetings are attended at the technical level of the member institutions. The Consortium of Stakeholders to Stem IFFs from Africa is coalition of African and Non-African stakeholders which oversees the implementation of the recommendations of the HLP Report and ultimately work to stem IFFs from Africa.
It includes the Pan-African institutions working on IFFs in Africa such as the African Union and its organs; the ECA, African Development Bank (AfDB), Thabo Mbeki Foundation, African Capacity Building Forum, African Tax Administration Forum, Tax Justice Network-Africa, Pan African Lawyers Union and other civil society organizations