Skip to main content

Africa Is Bleeding: Illicit Financial Flows

A lot of people may not be aware of what Illicit Financial Flows are and the crippling effect they have on our nations. I will attempt to demystify the issue a little and provide an example of efforts being made to curb this bleeding.

So, what are Illicit Financial Flows? “Illicit Financial Flows are illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another. Global Financial Integrity classifies this movement as an illicit financial flow when the funds are illegally earned, transferred and/or utilised.”

How does this affect us in Africa? The Africa Union High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows and the UN Economic Commission for Africa presented a report to the 24th African Union Summit which was adopted by the African Heads of State and government. According to the High Level Panel Report, it is estimated that Africa loses between $30 billion to $60 billion in illicit financial flows each year and this is increasing at a disheartening rate of 20.2% per year, based on the Global Financial Integrity calculations for 2002-2011. In other words, that could be enough money to build a state of the art hospital in each of Africa’s 54 countries, every year. Can you imagine that?

The report highlighted a particular issue which cannot be over emphasised, the need to strengthen both national and regional structures, which can give rise to promoting financial transparency and reducing corruption. Otherwise, the loss of resources through illicit financial flows means that many governments are unable to properly support public services and provide the much needed poverty alleviation programmes. They also face significant challenges in raising finances locally to support national budgets. 

What can we do about this? The best answer I believe, lies in joining efforts with all key actors to pressure our governments to make our democracy work for us. Many civil society organisations are joining efforts to advocate against laws and policies within their countries which may give rise to loopholes which these multinational companies often take advantage of. One such campaign is the “Stop The Bleeding” campaign ( which has been launched in several African countries. You can check out their website and if the campaign is running in your country, sign the petition to lobby government to be more proactive in stopping illicit financial flows.

Illicit Financial Flows, if curbed, can instead be used as key resources to finance the development of our nations, especially as we look to implement the Sustainable Development Goals post 2015.

About The Author:
Esanju Maseka
"My fellow African youths, this process of striving to work for the
betterment of our continent starts with you and me. We are not the leaders
of tomorrow. We are leaders even today! Let us aspire to be the change that
our continent has been looking for!"


Popular posts from this blog

Call For African Youth Activists

What is an “Ignite Activist”? ­ An Ignite Activist is a high powered​ and ambitious young African individual. They are patriotic about their own country and the African continent as a whole. They are keen to speak out, share their opinions or experiences, and are always ready to defend the well-being of the African Youth! As vocal youth activists, they strive to not only lead the conversation on African Youth, but to ignite young Africans into Change-makers!
About Our Youth Activism Program ­ For a period of up to 6 months, corresponding youth activists will be engaged under the leadership and guidance of our International Panel. While there will be a formal set of activities, youth activists will have the liberty to call upon fellow members towards a particular cause, post and share articles or video messages to make themselves and their views heard! After 6 months of voluntary service, these members will be accorded with Alumni status and receive adequate recognition for their selfle…

Bisharo Ali Hussein (Somalia) - African Youth Role Model Series

Bisharo Ali Hussein is a Kenyan-Somali activist and outspoken champion for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Somalia. She channels her activism through her career as a Protection Officer for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Galkayo, Somalia and also served as an African Youth Activist of Ignite The Youth from 2015 to 2016. As an Ignite The Youth activist she shared on the youth experiences of conflict in her country and “Ensuring Access to Education for all”. Her most spirited campaigns however were part of her Women’s Rights agenda; which focused on demanding an end to Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage, and her advocacy for Gender Equality; arguing for gender-biased inheritance laws to change. Bisharo is currently pursuing her Postgraduate Diploma in ‘International Gender Studies’ at the University of Iceland.
Almost 2 years after serving as a corresponding activist for Ignite The Youth, Bisharo insists that Somali women remain one of the most vulnerable groups in…

The African Youth Commission [PROFILE]

"From Internet Community to One Governed by a Constitution"
The African Youth Commission (AYC) was founded in November 2013, as the African Union Youth Working Group (AUYWG), at a Youth Consultation on Agenda 2063 in Tunis,Tunisia. From 2013 to 2015 the AUYWG collaborated via an active mailing list, for the 2 years of online interaction the network invited numerous African Youth Leaders in the continent and diaspora. The working group later changed into a Commission as the cause of the network evolved by consensus to create a youth mirror to the African Union Commission. 
"The main objective of establishing the Commission is to organize all young people in Africa and support the work of African youth, Youth structures (Pan African Youth Union & Youth Division of the African Union Commission) in their quest to effective service delivery and advocacy activities on the African Youth Charter..." - AYC
At this point the Commission proceeded to draft its o…