Addis Ababa, 22 Aug 2013 (ECA) – How serious and complex is the problem of illicit financial flows from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), what are the key
drivers of the flows, what are Government and other stakeholders doing to reverse it and what obstacles stand in the way of their efforts? These are key questions to which the ECA-AUC High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (HLP) led by former South African President – Thabo Mbeki – will be on the field in DRC’s capital Kinshasa to examine from 26 to 28 August 2013.
The visit is part of their seven-nation case-study tours to get to the roots of illicit flows of money from Africa and make recommendations to stop it and repair the loss caused. The idea of setting up the HLP was hatched in Addis Ababa in March 2011 during the 4th Joint Annual Meeting of the Africa Union Conference of African Ministers of Economy and Finance and Economic Commission for Africa’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The two institutions were given the mandate to coordinate the mission of the Panel, which started full-fledged work on 5 February 2012. The Panel’s overall mission, which is to make clear recommendations on curbing illicit financial flows from Africa, is considered crucial given current estimates that the continent now loses at least 50 billion dollars yearly due to illicit financial flows – a figure that exceeds the Official Development Assistance (ODA) it receives.
The high point of the HLP’s visit to the DRC will be ex-President Mbeki’s tête-à-tête with President Joseph Kabila, to be followed by a round table discussion with the host President and members of the DRC’s Economic Management Team (EMT), including a cross-section of the DRC’s Cabinet Ministers. The Panel will also have working sessions with heads of several DRC state institutions, the Governor of the country’s Central Bank, the Head of its Financial Intelligence Unit and key Civil Society stakeholders.
The ECA delegation to accompany ex-President Mbeki and his team is led by the Director of ECA’s Macroeconomic Policy Division who also heads the Panel’s Secretariat.
The 10-member High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa is supported by a Technical Committee (which executes the major guidelines of the Panel) and a Secretariat (which supports the work of the Technical Committee and provides secretariat assistance to the Panel). To carry out its mission, the Panel lobbies Governments and key actors to build a coalition against illicit financial flows from Africa, carries out regional consultations with both Governments and the general public, organizes follow-up workshops to prepare reports on the data collected from consultations and produces knowledge products on curbing the flows.
The long-term objective of the Panel is to examine the factors underlying illicit financial flows from Africa and prod the G-20 to improve transparency measures and strengthen the auditing of banks and international financial centres as well as offshore financial centers that absorb such flows. In addition, it will mobilize the necessary political support from African governments, regional and international organisations, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders to enforce the necessary measures that would help curb the phenomenon.
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