Africa moves to tackle looting
By Timo Shihepo
NIAMEY – The African Union Commission is at an advanced stage of implementing measures to prevent rich nations from further plundering Africa of its resources.
The unethical means of looting the continent include tax dodging, profit repatriation and debt repayments. Multinational corporations and Western governments are considered to be the biggest culprits.
A recent report states that $203 billion was siphoned out of Africa by the Western countries, including their multinational corporations, in 2015 alone.
An estimated $29 billion a year is being stolen from Africa in illegal logging, fishing and the trade in wildlife and plants.
These figures could be higher because there are other ways in which the rest of the world extracts resources from Africa, for which figures are not available.
In an interview with The Southern Times, AU Commission for Trade and Industry commissioner Albert Muchanga said the commission was aware of the illicit financial flows.
He said a high level panel on illicit financial flows from Africa, headed by former South Africa president, Thabo Mbeki was at an advanced stage to implement the recommendations.
“This is a big problem and yes the heads of state and government are aware of that problem. That’s why a panel headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki was set up to study the problem of illicit financial flows. They came up with a report and recommendations.
“At this stage they are working with countries to domesticate the decisions that they made. We are addressing the looting problem because if we really reduce on illicit financial flows it means we create a stronger base for domestic mobilisation for socio economic development,” he said.
Muchanga also said there is a need for Africa to stop relying on foreign markets because this somehow contributes to siphoning of money from the continent.
He urged the continent to start relying on its internal markets and to consume domestic products. He said this will lead to the creation of a single large African market whereby all Africans can trade amongst themselves.
“If there is an opportunity to export we must encourage that but we need to minimise on the imports from outside Africa. Africa is a controller of all things.
“Allow me to stress that Africa always wins when she speaks and acts with one voice.”
He added that “We are challenged to create the Africa we want by opening up our markets to each other to ignite our economic resilience and prosperity. We are all stronger and better off when we stand and act together.”