Release and Adoption of the HLP Report – AU Special Declaration on IFFs
- Almost four years after its establishment, the HLP worked through its secretariat at ECA to compile all of its work including its findings, recommendations as well as the results of its numerous regional and global consultations on the issue into the ‘High Level Panel Report on IFFs from Africa’. The report was summarily presented by the Chair of the Panel to the African Union Heads of States at the 24th African Union Summit held in January 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Subsequent to its presentation, the High Level Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows was promptly passed as an AU Special Declaration on Illicit Financial Flows by the African Union Heads of States. This ultimately marked a critical step which demonstrated the concern shared by African governments about illicit financial flows. However, it only marked the beginning of the work ahead.
- The Special Declaration not only demonstrated a full understanding of the concerns raised by Illicit financial flows, but also noted that IFFs constitute a drain on the resources required for Africa’s development, particularly in line with the growing need for domestic resources to meet the financial requirements for actualizing the AU Agenda 2063 and the Post 2015 Development Agenda, which both call for inclusive growth, sustainable development and social and economic structural transformation of Africa through optimal utilization of its natural resource endowments.
- The declaration also directed ECA to disseminate the findings and recommendations of the Panel within the continent and at the global level. The ECA was asked to undertake further research and capacity‑development activities in this regard. In addition to the AUC and other pertinent Pan African institutions and partners, ECA was further mandated to build the capacities of African Union member States and institutions particularly in contract negotiation, tax management, asset recovery and other areas of importance highlighted by the HLP report.
- The High Level Panel Report also roused deepened dialogue at all levels on the issue of IFFs. For the first time ever, the issue of IFFs was prominent during discussions at the International Conference on Financing for Development, the third of which was held in Addis Ababa in July, 2015. ECA worked to ensure that the Chair of the Panel was an active part of several round table discussions held during the conference on this crucial issue. As a result, numerous events and discussions which were held, made specific reference to the High Level Panel Report on IFFs from Africa and this was significantly exhibited in the outcome document of the conference which contained strong language on the issue of IFFs stating that ‘There is support for greater action to be taken on illicit financial flows, especially in the destination countries of those flows. There is also support for turning the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters into an intergovernmental body”. In addition, ECA supported the African Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in the launch of the ‘Stop the Bleeding’ campaign which is the African Citizen’s response to the scourge of IFFs.