The African Cash Which Simply Disappears

A combined panel headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and run from the African Union as well as the United Nations released a report describing the strategies some businesses utilize to send cash from the continent illicitly. The losses are staggering not only in relation to dollars but development chances lost, Mr. Mbeki said.

“We’re speaking about big quantities of capital that may play an excellent part in addressing Africa’s development challenges,” he said in a interview.

The scams vary from loggers in Mozambique understating the worth of the lumber to Nigerian officials who send abroad bags of illegally brought in cash.

The panel estimated illegal outflows by adding up disparities involving the reported value of African exports as well as the higher worth those same goods occasionally receive when they arrive to the trading partners in Africa. That investigation revealed that African authorities were casualties of officials or businesses secreting cash and gains out of states.

Mr. Mbeki said he could not name specific businesses that may be at fault because their transactions with tax authorities are private. But he did say “big commercial corporations are undoubtedly the largest perpetrators of illegal outflows, followed by organized crime.”


The difficulty is not unique to Africa. Considered collectively, almost $1 trillion was lost by developing countries in the year 2012 through illegal channels, in line with the Washington-based advocacy and research group Global Financial Integrity.   There’s been numerous reports, studies and investigations yet still there is little change – there’s many documentaries available online which demonstrate the issues – the Washington based ones reference are difficult to access outside the US though unless you use something like this on an iPad technical guide.

But economists say because its authorities lack the institutions and expertise to see and stop capital flight Africa suffers. In certain states, regulation is not overly centralize — Nigeria has 12 agencies with some responsibility for coming illegal flows– offering broad regulatory and enforcement opportunities for people who wish to use them.

And the 54 nations in Africa have little opportunity or the ability to exchange advice to help each other pursue possible tax dodgers.

The lack of capital is very distressing because the development needs in Africa are acute.

“The gains of the increase have largely been confined to those at the very top of the income distribution also it hasn’t been accompanied by means of a growth in jobs,” wrote the group, formally known as the High Level Panel on Illegal Fiscal Flows from Africa.

‘This is a typical issue… We all need to act in concert’

That indicates that shipping and logging companies are by choice underreporting the level of wood they manage to pay taxes that are lower, the report argues.

And Ghana, Kenya as well as a half dozen other African nations are considered to be losing tens of countless dollars annually to a scheme cellular telephone companies utilize to make international calls seem as local calls, which are taxed at lower rates to regulators.

Taken collectively, the panel said, illegal flows “are negating the anticipated positive effect of increased growth on the continent.”

Even as African nations work to stem the illegal flows, Mr. Mbeki said wealthy donors and trading partners must make their corporations pay the proper taxes for pursuing new customers and abundant mineral deposits in Africa’s fast growing markets.

Technical Citation –