Tanzania hailed as an example to others in its efforts to combat Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and money laundering by Chair of High Level Panel on IFFs from Africa

H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa and Chair of the African Union High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa commended H.E. John Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and his government for their efforts in addressing the practices of illicit financial flows including money laundering which has been an issue in Tanzania, particularly in its mining sector. “It is clear that the efforts made by Tanzania are important and should be emulated by other African countries because collectively African can solve money laundering challenges facing the continent” stated Mr. Mbeki.  Following the meeting, Mr. Mbeki stressed that the discussions with the President of Tanzania enabled him to understand the efforts done by the Tanzanian government in combating IFFs and money laundering particularly in its mining sector which the High Level Panel Report indicates is most prone to IFFs.

H.E. John Magufuli in his remarks hailed Mr. Mbeki for his leadership of the High Level Panel and his continued efforts to keep this issue highly relevant in the continent’s development agenda. He assured the Chair that Tanzania is ready to collaborate with the Panel and its team to ensure that its resources and by extension Africa’s resources are not smuggled out of the continent. The President added that “we lose money through theft as investors come into the country to invest but report incurring losses while taking our money out of Africa”. The President then requested that the Chair return to Tanzania on a follow-up visit in order to further engage the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the which deal with financial, legislative and other IFF related matters. This follow up visit is expected to take place in January, 2019.

Within the margins of this visit, President Magufuli also met and held talks with the minister of the Norway International Development where he thanked the country for its support to Tanzania in various sectors. The minister from Norway which has been an avid ally to the High Level Panel as well as the Continent in the work to reduce IFFs from Africa highlighted Norway’s continued support to this agenda. He stated that Norway has been working to strengthen the Tanzania Revenue Authority’s systems of revenue collection and reinforced this with a pledge from Norway of Sh 25 billion to bolster the capacity of the Tanzania Revenue Authority and introduce enhanced tax reform programmes.

As part of his official visit, H.E. Thabo Mbeki also held a briefing session with Ambassadors of African Union Member States to Tanzania. The briefing session which was co-organised by the Secretariat of the High Level Panel and the High Commission of South Africa in Tanzania saw Mr. Mbeki brief the Ambassadors on the work of the Panel since the release of its Report in 2015 and its proposed plans for addressing IFFs going forward. This includes the implementation of the Panel’s recommendations in all African countries. These recommendations have now been developed into a holistic ‘Anti-IFF Project’ which is being implemented through the Consortium of African Institutions to Stem IFFs from Africa.

 In his remarks to the Ambassadors, the Chair also delivered further background on the evolving and growing issue of IFFs despite the efforts which he and the Panel had delivered. This was emphasized by the level of losses from IFFs which at the time of the Panel’s Report was 50bn USD annually, but has now grown to about 80bn annually from the continent. He said on a more positive note however, that “Providentially, in this instance, Africa has led this agenda and brought it to global attention. This was evident when the African Heads of States asked our Panel to help address this issue”.
The two-day visit culminated with an interactive session between H.E. Thabo Mbeki and members of the Tanzanian civil society. During the session, he recalled the 2015 Special Declaration to address IFFs which was a realization by African leaders of the excessive losses due to illicit outflows. “The view was that the continent was losing resources which should have been available for its development to these illicit outflows” said the Chair. The Chair also fielded questions from the participants and called upon Tanzanian civil society to incessantly advocate for national, continental and global response to this issue.

NOTE TO EDITORS 

Following the endorsement of the High Level Panel (HLP) Report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa and the passing of the AU Special Declaration by the African Union Heads of States at the 24th African Union Summit in 2015, there was the obvious need to wholly implement its recommendations nationally, regionally and globally. Accordingly, a coalition of African institutions which became the Consortium of Stakeholders to Stem IFFs from Africa was established. Above all else, the Consortium of stakeholders works to foster coherent implementation of the recommendations of the High Level Panel and ultimately stem the growth of IFFs from Africa. 

Chaired by H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa further constituted a core group within itself to address all technicalities with regards to implementing the recommendations of the report. This led to the the IFF Working Group (IWG) in 2016.