GENEVA, June 17 – G8 leaders must act to make company ownership transparent, to exchange tax information automatically, and to support Africa’s tax collection capacity, the Africa Progress Panel (the Panel) said as G8 leaders meet in Northern Ireland.
Tax avoidance and anonymous company ownership have emerged as obstacles, preventing millions of Africans from seeing the benefits of their continent’s resource wealth, the 2013 Africa Progress Report shows (link).
Between 2008 and 2010, Africa lost more money through tax avoidance than it received in international aid, according to the report – Equity in Extractives.
“Throughout the world, millions of citizens now need the G8 leaders to take action on tax avoidance,” said Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and Chair of the Africa Progress Panel.
“Not just because of the palpable injustice of enormous tax avoidance by major multinationals including many headquartered in G8 countries, but also because to do so could save many, many lives around the world,” he said.
The Panel urges G8 leaders to agree on the automatic exchange of tax information between tax authorities around the world, including African nations, and to help build the continent’s capacity for tax collection.
“All countries, including the G8, will benefit from better tax collection,” Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, said.
The Africa Progress Panel also urges G8 countries to establish registries that show who owns every company. By making company ownership transparent, the G8 removes an important means of hiding illegal or unscrupulous payments.
“The G8 must establish registries on ownership of companies and trusts in all tax jurisdictions – and the registries need to be publicly available,” Mr Annan said.
This year’s Africa Progress Report found that anonymous shell companies were used in five deals that cost the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) US$ 1.36 billion between 2010 and 2012. This sum is equivalent to almost double the country’s combined budget in 2012 for health and education.
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister cited the report when he said that 12 of the 25 countries in the world with the highest child mortality rates are resource-rich African countries (link).
“In this time of change, the G8 can make a difference,” Mr Annan said.
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Chaired by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Africa Progress Panel (the Panel) includes distinguished individuals from the private and public sectors, who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.
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Edward Harris, Head of Communications
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@africaprogress and #APR2013