Each year Africa loses more than $50 billion through illicit financial flows (IFFs), a number that increases by 20% annually. Notably, some 60% derives from the activities of large commercial companies. But while every major development strategy highlights this outflow as an obstacle to inclusive development – from Agenda 2063 and Finance for Development to the Sustainable Development Goals – a gap remains between rhetoric and action. It is thus critical to strengthen civil society voices to pressure leaders into adopting and implementing the necessary policies.
To this end, TrustAfrica, together with a coalition of five other pan-African civil society organizations, launched a popular campaign to end illicit financial flows from Africa called #stopthebleeding in July 2015 in Nairobi. The campaign has since been launched in southern and western Africa and by national partners in Togo, Zambia and Nigeria. During a solidarity conference in Washington, DC, the campaign was endorsed by groups including AFL-CIO, Jubilee USA, US-Africa Network and the FACT Coalition. A campaign song recorded by musical artists Livesoul, Synik, and Pauline & The Kids won the 2016 Honesty Oscar Awards for Best Song (Activist Anthem).
We have organized several consultations with our partners – Third World Network-Africa, Tax Justice Network-Africa, FEMENT and AFRODAD – and have brought together researchers, scholars and civil society to deepen the research capabilities of African institutions and to fuel more effective advocacy. We also commission – and help promote – in-depth research on IFFs in mining, agriculture and wildlife and tourism sectors.
Current work and future plans include:
- Harnessing technology for more efficient information sharing among our partners and in mobilizing the wider public;
- Conduct country and company level research that will help mobilize people with relevant local information as opposed to aggregate continental figures;
- Publishing a compendium on IFFs in 17 countries; and
- Developing a signature annual report on IFFs from Africa to serve as a resource for civil society and policymakers.