Tag Archives: transparency

Donations from West mask ‘US$60bn looting’ of Africa

12 Aug

illicit2WESTERN countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the “sustained looting” of the continent as it loses nearly US$60 billion a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, a group of NGOs has claimed.Although sub-Saharan Africa receives US$134 billion each year in loans, foreign investment and development aid, research released last week by a group of UK and Africa-based NGOs suggests that US$192 billion leaves the region, leaving a US$58 billion shortfall.

The report says that while Western countries send about US$30 billion in development aid to Africa every year, more than six times that amount leaves the continent, “mainly to the same countries providing that aid”.

The perception that such aid is helping African countries “has facilitated a perverse reality in which the UK and other wealthy governments celebrate their generosity whilst simultaneously assisting their companies to drain Africa’s resources”, the report claims.

It points out that foreign multinational companies siphon US$46 billion out of sub-Saharan Africa each year, while US$35 billion is moved from Africa into tax havens around the world annually.

The study, which also notes that African governments spend US$21 billion a year on debt repayments, calls for the aid system to be overhauled and made more open.

It says aid sent in the form of loans serves only to contribute to the continent’s debt crisis, and recommends that donors should use transparent contracts to ensure development assistance grants can be properly scrutinised by the recipient country’s parliament.

“The common understanding is that the UK ‘helps’ Africa through aid, but in reality this serves as a smokescreen for the billions taken out,” said Martin Drewry, director of Health Poverty Action, one of the NGOs behind the report.

“Let’s use more accurate language. It’s sustained looting – the opposite of generous giving – and we should recognise that the City of London is at the heart of the global financial system that facilitates this.”

Research by Global Financial Integrity shows Africa’s illicit outflows were nearly 50 percent higher than the average for the global south from 2002-11. The UK-based NGO ActionAid issued a report last year that claimed half of large corporate investment in the global south transited through a tax haven.

Supporting regulatory reforms would empower African governments “to control the operations of investing foreign companies”, the report says, adding: “Countries must support efforts under way in the United Nations to draw up a binding international agreement on transnational corporations to protect human rights.”

But NGOs must also change, according to Drewry: “We need to move beyond our focus on aid levels and communicate the bigger truth – exposing the real relationship between rich and poor, and holding leaders to account.”

The report was authored by 13 UK and Africa-based NGOs, including: Health Poverty Action, Jubilee Debt Campaign, World Development Movement, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Friends of the Earth Africa, Tax Justice Network, War on Want, Medact, Friends of the Earth South Africa, JA!Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique.

Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: “Tackling inequality between Africa and the rest of the world means tackling the root causes of its debt dependency, its loss of government revenue by tax dodging, and the other ways the continent is being plundered.

“Here in the UK we can start with our role as a major global financial centre and network of tax havens, complicit in siphoning money out of Africa.”

A UK government spokesman said: “The UK put tax and transparency at the heart of our G8 presidency last year and we are actively working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to ensure companies are paying the tax they should and helping developing countries collect the tax they are owed.” – The Guardian.

SOURCES: http://www.herald.co.zw/donations-from-west-mask-us60bn-looting-of-africa/

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jul/15/aid-africa-west-looting-continent

 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Message on International Anti-Corruption Day

9 Dec

UN SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH SPANISH PRESIDENTCorruption suppresses economic growth by driving up costs, and undermines the sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. It breaches fundamental human rights, exacerbates poverty and increases inequality by diverting funds from health care, education and other essential services. The malignant effects of corruption are felt by billions of people everywhere. It is driven by and results in criminal activity, malfunctioning state institutions and weak governance.

Good governance is critical for sustainable development, and vital in combating organized crime.  Every link in the trafficking chain is vulnerable to corruption, from the bribes paid to corrupt officials by dealers in arms and drugs to the fraudulent permits and licenses used to facilitate the illicit trade in natural resources.

Corruption is also rife in the world of sport and business, and in public procurement processes.  In the last decade, the private sector has increasingly recognized its role in fighting corruption.  A Call to Action launched by the United Nations Global Compact and partners is mobilizing businesses and Governments to engage in transparent procurement.  Guidelines are also being developed to help business fight corruption in sport sponsorship and hospitality.

The UN is strongly committed to fulfilling its own obligations.  Operating in some of the world’s most unstable environments, the UN faces multifaceted corruption risks that can undermine our efforts to advance development, peace and human rights.  We have developed a robust system of internal controls and continue to remain vigilant and work hard to set an example of integrity.

Corruption is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and needs to be taken into account in defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda.  The UN Convention against Corruption, adopted 10 years ago, is the paramount global framework for preventing and combating corruption.  Full implementation depends crucially on effective prevention, law enforcement, international cooperation and asset recovery.  On this International Anti-Corruption Day, I urge Governments, the private sector and civil society to take a collective stand against this complex social, political and economic disease that affects all countries.  To achieve an equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, we must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance.

SOURCE: http://www.anticorruptionday.org/actagainstcorruption/en/resources/index.html

AFRODAD Supports the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI2013)

11 Sep

DSC00191The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), and other supporting partners are hosting this year’s Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI) from the 10th- 11th of September 2013 at Crown Plaza in Harare.

The 2nd ZAMI follows the success of the inaugural ZAMI that was jointly organised and hosted by ZELA, the Economic Justice Network (EJN), the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) from the 11th-13th of September 2012. This year’s ZAMI was preceded by the Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas in Manicaland and Midlands whose main objective was to provide a platform for communities affected by mining operations to discuss amongst themselves with policy makers, government, mining companies and civil society, the impacts of mining on livelihoods, human rights and environmental sustainability among others. This year’s ZAMI will be held under the theme “Community Rights, the key to Empowerment.”