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Africa Rising Debt: Irresponsible spenders, corruption, the looting machine and illicit financial outflows May 23, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistThe TPLF Corruption network

A study of 39 African countries from 1970 to 2010 found that for every dollar borrowed, up to 63 cents left the continent within five years. The money is often siphoned out as private assets, suggests Léonce Ndikumana, one of the researchers, based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Some banks seem more interested in juicy fees than good governance.
China’s involvement in Africa has made it harder to assess the situation. Countries such as Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville have taken out opaque loans from Chinese companies. Angola has borrowed more than $19bn from China since 2004, mostly secured against oil. Such loans often have built-in clauses to review repayments as prices fluctuate, says Deborah Brautigam of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. But there is little precedent for restructuring Chinese loans. Nor is China a full member of the Paris Club, which co-ordinates the actions of creditors when things go wrong.
Though much of the money borrowed by states comes from foreign investors, some is provided by local banks. They find it easier to buy government bills than to assess the reliability of businesses or homebuyers. Moody’s, a ratings agency, estimates that African banks’ exposure to sovereign debt is often 150% of their equity. So a sovereign-debt crisis could fast turn into a banking one.


Africa in the red: Increasing debt in many African countries is a cause for worry

Unfortunately the keenest borrowers are also feckless spenders

The Economist


“A FOOL’S bargain.” That is how Idriss Déby, Chad’s president, now describes the state oil company’s decision to borrow $1.4bn from Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss commodities trader, in 2014. The loan was to be repaid with future sales of crude, then trading above $100 a barrel. But two years later, as the price dived, debt payments were swallowing 85% of Chad’s dwindling oil revenue. For weeks schools have been closed and hospitals paralysed, as workers strike against austerity. On February 21st, after fractious talks, Chad and Glencore agreed to restructure the deal.

Chad’s woes recall an earlier era, when African economies groaned beneath unpayable debts. By the mid-1990s much of the continent was frozen out of the global financial system. The solution, reached in 2005, was for rich countries to forgive the debts that so-called “heavily indebted poor countries”, 30 of which were in Africa, owed to the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank. With new loans and better policies, many of these countries turned their economies around. By 2012 the median debt level in sub-Saharan Africa (as defined by the IMF) fell to just 30% of GDP. Today the median debt level is over 50% of GDP. That is low by international standards, but interest rates are generally higher for African countries, which collect relatively little tax. Economic growth slowed in response to lower commodity prices. As a consequence, there is much less revenue to service debts. The pace of borrowing has picked up. The IMF reckons that five sub-Saharan African countries are already in “debt distress”, with nine more at high risk of joining them. Lending to Africa surged after the financial crisis, when interest rates in rich countries sank to historic lows. Fund managers chased the high yields of African government bonds and the profits from a commodities boom. The biggest lenders to Africa had long been Western governments. But since 2006, 16 African countries have sold their first dollar-denominated bonds to foreign investors. Interest rates in the rich world remain low, so several countries are scrambling back to the market this year. Senegal’s $2.2bn Eurobond was five times oversubscribed on March 6th. Borrowing makes sense for poor countries if it finances things like roads, schools and hospitals, which improve welfare and support economic growth. But the keenest borrowers in Africa are also feckless spenders. Take Ghana, which racked up debt as it ran an average annual budget deficit of 10% from 2012 to 2016. When a new government entered office last year, it found a $1.6bn “hole” in the budget. The new chairman of the state cocoa board found that a $1.8bn loan meant to fund cocoa production in 2017 was “all gone”.

Ghana got a three-year loan of $918m from the IMF in 2015, ensuring a degree of transparency. Commercial loans are easier to hide. In Mozambique, three state-owned companies borrowed $2bn in deals arranged by European banks. Most of this was done in secret. The proceeds were squandered on overpriced security gear and a bogus fleet of trawlers. An audit could not trace $500m. The once-buoyant economy sank and Mozambique defaulted on its debt last year.

Leveraged corruption

A study of 39 African countries from 1970 to 2010 found that for every dollar borrowed, up to 63 cents left the continent within five years. The money is often siphoned out as private assets, suggests Léonce Ndikumana, one of the researchers, based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Some banks seem more interested in juicy fees than good governance. China’s involvement in Africa has made it harder to assess the situation. Countries such as Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville have taken out opaque loans from Chinese companies. Angola has borrowed more than $19bn from China since 2004, mostly secured against oil. Such loans often have built-in clauses to review repayments as prices fluctuate, says Deborah Brautigam of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. But there is little precedent for restructuring Chinese loans. Nor is China a full member of the Paris Club, which co-ordinates the actions of creditors when things go wrong. Though much of the money borrowed by states comes from foreign investors, some is provided by local banks. They find it easier to buy government bills than to assess the reliability of businesses or homebuyers. Moody’s, a ratings agency, estimates that African banks’ exposure to sovereign debt is often 150% of their equity. So a sovereign-debt crisis could fast turn into a banking one. Disaster can still be averted in most African countries. Abebe Shimeles of the African Development Bank warns against sudden spending cuts, which would leave half-finished infrastructure projects to rust. Research from the IMF suggests that the least costly way to deal with fiscal imbalances in Africa is to raise meagre tax-to-GDP ratios, which have crept up by just a couple of percentage points this century. Other proposals aim to make lenders share more risk with borrowers by, for example, linking interest payments to growth or commodity prices. Some suggest changing laws in America and Britain, where most debt is issued, so that countries are not liable for loans agreed to by leaders acting without due authority. Organisations such as the IMF could be more robust, speaking out early when countries seem to be in a downward debt spiral. As it is, the costs of bad borrowing rarely fall on leaders or their lenders, which often makes politicians borrow (and steal) more. “It’s the common man that actually bears the brunt,” says Bernard Anaba of the Integrated Social Development Centre, a Ghanaian advocacy group. The people of Chad, now paying for Mr Déby’s foolish bargain, would surely agree.-  For more click here for  The Economist



Related (Oromian Economist Sources):


ECONOMIC COMMENTARY: THE DEBT CHALLENGE TO AFRICAN GROWTH,    


What are the main disadvantages of FDI in local developing economies? -Research gate


Corruption is a major contributor to Africa’s stunted development.-Afro Barometer

By corroding and weakening governance institutions and the democratic values of human rights, gender equality, justice, and the rule of law, it has hindered the continent’s progress toward peace and prosperity. A 2002 AU study estimated that Africa loses about $150 billion annually to corruption. Illicit financial outflows, particularly in the extractive industry, cost the continent about $50 billion per annum – far exceeding the official development assistance that African countries receive from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries ($27.5 billion in 2016).


Africa’s Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth review – ‘the raping of a continent’

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TPLF Ethiopia’s Regime Money Laundering Activities & Its Networks August 26, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

$500,000.00 | TPLF and Money Laundering: The Key Questions to Ask | Must Watch

Ethiopia- Oromia : police apprehended a man traveling with US$541,671

 

Somali-Ethiopian Social and Economic Development Association (SESEDA)  

SESEDA is TPLF’s organization that collects aid money for criminal activities.

Ogaden: Abdi Iley declares secession from Ethiopia if his thief agent won’t get released

caa38-som

tplf-ethiopias-federal-army-abbay-tsehaye-and-samora-yunus-are-architects-of-the-ongoing-ethnic-cleansing-against-oromo-in-south-and-eastern-oromia

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Is usaid helping the people of Ethiopia/Oromia or working with the TPLF mafia regime??

There is gross  Human rights abuse in Ethiopia and the TPLF mafia regime is getting away with torture and killing!!

 

ANALYSIS 

A substantial sum of money has been illegally flowing out of Ethiopia during the last decade. What is even more worrying is not just that the levels of out flows are high but also the sizes of illicit capital outflows have been rising at alarming rates. This rather unique pattern has attracted the attention of the general public as well as those of bilateral and multilateral donor agencies.

I will also attempt to put some flesh on the bones of facts presented in the GFI database. I will do so by shedding some light on the political economy context of the illicit capital outflow (IFFs) from Ethiopia.

Stolen money trails

The natural starting point is to get a sense of magnitude on the levels and trends. The GFI data is summarized and plotted in Fig. 1. For the time being we focus on the total flows, that is the heights of each bar denoting sizes of annual illicit money outflows. The sum of the blue and red colors gives total amount of money illegally moved aboard from Ethiopia during that year. This ranged from USD $0.4 billion in 2004 to USD $5.6 billion in 2010.

The average annual outflow was $2.6 billion during 2004 and 2013. This is a sizeable sum of money by any standard. For instance, according to estimates reported by the World Bank, the amount of official development assistant (ODA) Ethiopia received in 2010 was $4 billion but total amount of IFFs during that year was $5.6 billion.

This means in 2010 alone Ethiopia’s IFFs exceeded the ODA it received that year by $1.6 billion. In other words, Ethiopia’s IFFs amounted to diverting the entire aid money of 2010 to foreign banks and then still transfer abroad an additional sum of money.

During the entire period (2004 to 2013) the total amount of money that Ethiopia lost due to IFF was $26 billion. This amounts to stealing nearly $300 per citizen. Alternatively, the size of stolen money was about 11 times the total the amount of emergency aid being sought from donors in the current year to buy cereals from abroad and feed the drought victims.

Potential culprits

One may wonder – who are the culprits responsible for Ethiopia’seconomic fraud at such massive scale? The GFI categorizes possible perpetrators into three groups: (a) financial institutions; (b) complicit business counterparts, mainly importers and exporters; and (c) government officials.

In the Ethiopian case, it is reasonable to exclude financial institutions because there is no foreign bank operating in Ethiopia, and the domestic private banks are extremely tightly controlled. Ethiopia’s most influential banks, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), are owned and run by the government. Therefore, in the context of Ethiopia it is safe to include (a) under (c).

That is to say Ethiopia’s IFF can only be undertaken by importers, exporters or government officials. One would hasten to add that there is a huge extent of overlaps between government officials and big businesses in Ethiopia, since big businesses are highly interconnected with the government and/or they are directly or indirectly owned and run by government officials.

Money diversion channels

Now we can shift our attention back to fig. 1 and consider the breakdowns of the IFFs, the individual component denoted by the blue and red sections in each bar. The GFI applies a methodological framework that accounts for two types of illegal movements of money from one country to another.

The first one is export or import trade misinvoicing. This is measured by using a methodology called Gross Excluding Reversals (GER). This simply mirrors exports by one country with imports of another country and vice versa. For instance, items of imports recorded by Ethiopia should agree with records of exporters to Ethiopia in all aspects – value, quantity and quality.

The second one is various leakages in the balance of payments, measured by using the “hot money narrow” (HMN) approach.The latter one is often referred to as “net errors and omissions” in the balance of payment jargon. For instance, if a donor agency or country recorded $1 million grants to Ethiopia but this does not appear in the records by the authorities in Ethiopia, then the GFI records this as a leakage from Ethiopia’s balance of payment.

It is clear from Fig. 1 that the bulk of illicit money transfer from Ethiopia has taken place using trade misinvoicing, denoted by the blue component of the bar. In 2004, trade misinvoicing constituted only 14% of the total IFFs. In 2013, however, this proportion has grown to 100%, the entire IFFs began to be accounted for more and more by trade misinvoicing. For the entire period under discussion, $19.7 billion (or 76% of the total IFFs) was conducted through trade misinvoicing. The year 2010 is an exception – diversion of “hot money” dominated in that year; it constituted 55% of the total IFFs.

False invoices

Trade misinvoicing can take place in one of the following four ways: over invoicing exports, under invoicing exports, over invoicing imports and under invoicing imports. In Ethiopia’s case, the GFI report indicated import over-invoicing is by far the most important method of transferring money abroad. During the period under analysis, about $19.7 billion was transferred abroad through import over-invoicing.

It is critical to understand how import misinvoicing hurts the Ethiopian economy. This is important in the context of huge public construction projects with substantially large components of imports of machinery and other equipment. For instance, an acquisition of a set of machinery whose real value is $1 million is recorded with inflated invoice of $1.5 million.

The importer allocates project budget at the inflated import value, pays the real value to the supplier and then siphons-off the difference (in this case $0.5 million) and deposits it in a foreign bank account. The real damage to the economy happens in terms of inflated capital expenditure. Perhaps the opportunity large capital projects provide for corrupt officials could be the ulterior motive for the uncontrollable urge to attach such a high priority to large capital projects in economic development strategies.

However, it should be noted that public capital projects are often financed through commercial loans that should be paid back with cumulative interests in years to come. The economic return to capital project would partly depend on the cost consideration at project implementation stage.

The GFI also finds some export trade misinvoicing in Ethiopia’s foreign trade, over-invoicing by $6.5 billion as well as $3 million under-invoicing. In trade based money laundering, the most common types of misinvoicing are import over-invoicing and export under-invoicing. As noted above, the case of import invoicing has no complications – so much over invoicing has taken place and it explains the bulk of trade based money laundering in Ethiopia. However, the case of export over-invoicing is uncommon.

Export over-invoicing do happen although they are rare, e.g. China’s trade with Hong-Kong. Export over-invoicing is required when there is a need to plough back money from abroad and report it as inflated foreign direct investment. This is likely the case with Ethiopia where the authorities have been desperate to report higher foreign investments particularly in the first half of the period under analysis.

Ethiopia’s capital flights dwarfs rest of developing countries

It would prove useful to know how bad Ethiopia’s IFFs is relative to other countries. Fig. 2 below compares Ethiopia with its neighbors, the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as well as the average of developing countries (DCs). The comparison was done by expressing total illicit money outflowas percentage of GDP. The years are grouped into three intervals. For reasons discussed further below, it would prove useful to contrast pre- and post-2005. Accordingly, I have isolated 2004 and then divided the remaining years into two equal intervals.

This revealed astonishing patterns of illicit money outflow from Ethiopia which starkly contrasted with those for other countries. First, throughout the years Ethiopia’s records considerably exceeded those for its two immediate neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania. Second, a comparison of 2004 across the countries shows that Ethiopia’s illicit money outflow was way below the Uganda, SSA, and the DCs averages.

Third, the situation changed dramatically from 2005 onwards. Ethiopia outstripped Uganda, and then closed the gap with the SSA average. Fourth, Ethiopia’s average annual money outflows between 2010 and 2013 reached 11% of the country’s GDP, considerably exceeding the corresponding figures for the other countries – SSA (5%), DCs (4%), Uganda and Tanzania (2%) and Kenya (0.013%). Fifth, it is important to note that illicit money transfers abroad constituted smaller and smaller percentages of GDP for most countries over the years, implying substantial improvements in transparency in their economic management. The situation in Ethiopia sharply contrasts with this reality – illicit money outflow becoming a larger and larger percentage of Ethiopia’s GDP. This indicates transparency in Ethiopia’s economic management has gone from bad to worse over the years.

VICE: POST-COLONIAL COLONIALISM: The West Extorts Way More Money from Africa Than It Gives in Aid June 16, 2017

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Many decades after the official end of the western empires in Africa, the continent is still being sucked dry by a cartel made up of small local elites, multi-national companies and foreign governments. The money given to Africa to help its so-called “development” is referred to as “aid”, when in fact it should be seen as a form of reparations for a history of colonisation and ongoing domination that has left the African people almost as far from economic and social justice as they were when the European empires packed up and left in the years following the end of the Second World War.

POST-COLONIAL COLONIALISM
The West Extorts Way More Money from Africa Than It Gives in Aid

By OSCAR RICKETT, VICE, Jun 15 2017



We should be putting our western guilt to good use and pressuring government to regulate “investment” in the continent.


The world’s second-largest continent, Africa, is still defined in the western media in just two principle ways.

The more “woke” understanding of Africa is the idea of “Africa Rising”, which is defined by images of young people on bustling streets speaking on mobile phones. “Africa Rising” stories tend to focus on smart entrepreneurs doing something tech-related in massive urban centres like Lagos, Nairobi or Cape Town. They promote an image of the continent that is considered modern and future-focused. These stories are often, as the Kenyan journalist Parselelo Kantai once put it to me, “insidious little fictions manufactured by global corporate finance”.

The other main narrative is the more familiar one: hapless Africa, the tragic continent that can only continue to survive with the help of aid money provided to it by outsiders. This is the narrative of Live Aid and Bono, the story told to us immediately after news reports of famine and unrest in places that, we are made to believe, just can’t get by without western charity.

Given these two themes, it would seem unlikely that more money is taken out of the 47 countries that form what is commonly called “Sub-Saharan Africa” than is put back in. Yet, British and African campaign groups, including Global Justice Now, released a report this month which found that, in 2015, much more money was taken out of Africa in the form of illegal extraction of natural resources, tax avoidance and spiralling interest on debt repayments than was “given” to the continent in the form of aid and grants.

The report, entitled Honest Accounts 2017 , finds that the countries of Africa are “collectively net creditors to the rest of the world, to the tune of $41.3 billion [£32.2 billion] in 2015”.

Rather than Africa being a hapless continent dependent on the rest of the world, it is the exploited continent whose natural resources are enriching a local and global elite at the expense of the vast majority of its citizens, and whose governments can do little about the illegal syphoning of revenue into tax havens.

According to War on Want, 101 (mostly British) companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control an identified $1.05 trillion (£820 billion) worth of resources in Africa in just five commodities: oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. Twenty-five of those companies are incorporated in tax havens.

While African countries receive around $19 billion (£14 billion) in aid in the form of grants, $68 billion (£53 billion) is taken out in capital flight. The main culprits are multinational corporations and corrupt officials with their large infrastructure of lawyers, bankers, accountants and financial advisors skilled in tax dodging.

The main device used is transfer pricing. By overpricing imports and under-pricing exports on customs documents, companies and individuals can move money to tax havens. This means that multi-national companies deliberately misreport the value of their imports or exports in order to reduce the tax they have to pay on them. Furthermore, these same companies repatriate $32 billion (£25 billion) in profits made in Africa to their home countries every year. Money made on the continent of Africa, then, is returned to enrich those outside of Africa.



The report goes on to say that African governments paid out $18 billion (£14 billion) in debt interest and principal payments in 2015. Though they received $32.8 billion (£25.6 billion) in loans, the overall level of debt is rising rapidly, and loans often lock African governments into even more debt: private lenders, the report notes, “are encouraged to act irresponsibly because when debt crises arise, the IMF, World Bank and other institutions lend more money, which enables the high interest to private lenders to be paid, whilst the debt keeps growing”. Ghana is losing 30 percent of its government revenue to debt repayments. Private lenders benefit, while ordinary Africans suffer.

Illegal logging, fishing and the trade in wildlife and plants are also hurting Africa, with an estimated $29 billion (£22.6 billion) a year being stolen from the continent through these practices. Climate change is hitting the continent particularly badly; though of course the extractive and industrial practices that led to climate change were a phenomenon of non-African countries.

As Bernard Adaba, policy analyst with ISODEC in Ghana, says: “‘Development’ is a lost cause in Africa while we are haemorrhaging billions every year to extractive industries, western tax havens and illegal logging and fishing. Some serious structural changes need to be made to promote economic policies that enable African countries to best serve the needs of their people rather than simply being cash cows for western corporations and governments.”

Many decades after the official end of the western empires in Africa, the continent is still being sucked dry by a cartel made up of small local elites, multi-national companies and foreign governments. The money given to Africa to help its so-called “development” is referred to as “aid”, when in fact it should be seen as a form of reparations for a history of colonisation and ongoing domination that has left the African people almost as far from economic and social justice as they were when the European empires packed up and left in the years following the end of the Second World War.

Recognising the troubling role western governments and companies play in the impoverishment of Africa could serve as a beginning to reverse this process. The Honest Accounts report proposes a number of steps that can be taken to help reverse the flow of money out of Africa, including putting less faith in the extractives industry, enabling transparent and responsible lending and regulating the investment that corporations bring in to African countries.

Tax havens are a key issue, one that was recognised in Labour’s election manifesto, which said that the “current global tax system is deeply unjust”. Jeremy Corbyn’s party promises to “act decisively on tax havens”, which play a key role in allowing vast sums of money to be taken out of Africa. The UK enablesthis wealth extraction to take place and sits at the head of a vast network of tax havens.

Finally, there is the need for more public recognition of what is going on. This is not about stoking up western guilt; it is about identifying the causes behind rising inequality in Africa and elsewhere, and about correcting a lazy media narrative that patronises and insults Africans while keeping everyone in a state of ignorance. The truth is this: Africa is still being plundered. It is time western governments and the western media stopped pretending otherwise.

 


 

Aid: World is plundering Africa’s wealth of ‘billions of dollars a year’ May 25, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt.
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African countries received $162bn in 2015, mainly in loans, aid and personal remittances. But in the same year, $203bn was taken from the continent, either directly through multinationals repatriating profits and illegally moving money into tax havens, or by costs imposed by the rest of the world through climate change adaptation and mitigation. This led to an annual financial deficit of $41.3bn from the 47 African countries where many people remain trapped in poverty. – Honest Accounts 2017.

World is plundering Africa’s wealth of ‘billions of dollars a year’

Research by campaigners claims aid and loans to the continent are outweighed by financial flows to tax havens and costs of climate change mitigation

The headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Campaigners said illicit financial flows account for $68bn a year. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

More wealth leaves Africa every year than enters it – by more than $40bn (£31bn) – according to research that challenges “misleading” perceptions of foreign aid.

Analysis by a coalition of UK and African equality and development campaigners including Global Justice Now, published on Wednesday, claims the rest of the world is profiting more than most African citizens from the continent’s wealth.

It said African countries received $162bn in 2015, mainly in loans, aid and personal remittances. But in the same year, $203bn was taken from the continent, either directly through multinationals repatriating profits and illegally moving money into tax havens, or by costs imposed by the rest of the world through climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This led to an annual financial deficit of $41.3bn from the 47 African countries where many people remain trapped in poverty, according to the report, Honest Accounts 2017.

The campaigners said illicit financial flows, defined as the illegal movement of cash between countries, account for $68bn a year, three times as much as the $19bn Africa receives in aid.

Tim Jones, an economist from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: “The key message we want to get across is that more money flows out of Africa than goes in, and if we are to address poverty and income inequality we have to help to get it back.”

The key factors contributing to this inequality include unjust debt payments and multinational companies hiding proceeds through tax avoidance and corruption, he said.

African governments received $32bn in loans in 2015, but paid more than half of that – $18bn – in debt interest, with the level of debt rising rapidly.

The prevailing narrative, where rich country governments say their foreign aid is helping Africa, is “a distraction and misleading”, the campaigners said.

Aisha Dodwell, a campaigner for Global Justice Now, said: “There’s such a powerful narrative in western societies that Africa is poor and that it needs our help. This research shows that what African countries really need is for the rest of the world to stop systematically looting them. While the form of colonial plunder may have changed over time, its basic nature remains unchanged.”

The report points out that Africa has considerable riches. South Africa’s potential mineral wealth is estimated to be around $2.5tn, while the mineral reserves of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are thought to be worth $24tn.

However, the continent’s natural resources are owned and exploited by foreign, private corporations, the report said.

Bernard Adaba, policy analyst with Isodec (Integrated Social Development Centre) in Ghana said: “Development is a lost cause in Africa while we are haemorrhaging billions every year to extractive industries, western tax havens and illegal logging and fishing. Some serious structural changes need to be made to promote economic policies that enable African countries to best serve the needs of their people, rather than simply being cash cows for western corporations and governments. The bleeding of Africa must stop!”

However, Maya Forstater, a visiting fellow for the Centre for Global Development, a development thinktank, said the report did not provide a meaningful look at the issues.

Forstater said: “There are 1.2 billion people in Africa. This report seems to view these people and their institutions as an inert bucket into which money is poured or stolen away, rather than as part of dynamic and growing economies. The $41bn headline they come up with needs to be put into context that the overall GDP of Africa is some $7.7tn. Economies do not grow by stockpiling inflows and preventing outflows but by enabling people to invest and learn, adapt technologies and access markets.

“Some of the issues that the report raises – such as illegal logging, fishing and the cost of adapting to climate change – are important, but adding together all apparent inflows and outflows is meaningless.”

Forstater also questioned some of the report’s methodology.

The coalition of campaigners, including Jubilee Debt Campaign, Health Poverty Action, and Uganda Debt Network, said those claiming to help Africa “need to rethink their role”, and singled out the British government as bearing special responsibility because of its position as the head of a network of overseas tax havens.

Dr Jason Hickel, an economic anthropologist at the London School of Economics, commenting on the report, agreed that the prevailing view of foreign aid was skewed. Hickel said: “One of the many problems with the aid narrative is it leads the public to believe that rich countries are helping developing countries, but that narrative skews the often extractive relationship that exists between rich and poor countries.”

A key issue, he said, was illicit financial flows, via multinational corporations, to overseas tax havens. “Britain has a direct responsibility to fix the problem if they want to claim to care about international poverty at all,” he said.

The report makes a series of recommendations, including preventing companies with subsidiaries based in tax havens from operations in African countries, transforming aid into a process that genuinely benefits the continent, and reconfiguring aid from a system of voluntary donations to one of repatriation for damage caused.


 

Rich countries rejected an international plan to let the UN help fight tax evasion July 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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???????????Illicit financial outflows from Africa Ethiopia makes among top 10

Draining development: illicit flows from Africa October 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Corruption in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, Youth Unemployment.
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Draining development: illicit flows from Africa

Since 1970, Africa has lost at least $854 billion through capital flight which is not only enough to wipe out the continent’s total external debt of $250 billion but leaving around $600 billion for poverty alleviation.

By Menelaos Agaloglou

corruption-empireOctober 21, 2014 (Open Democracy) — Illicit flows are difficult to measure due to lack of reliable data. Global Financial Integrity in 2008 reported that Africa has lost between $854 billion and $1.8 trillion in the last four decades.

The flows seeking higher returns are directed towards western financial institutions and the process is being facilitated by tax havens, trade mispricing (by overpricing imports and underpinning exports on customs documents, residents can illegally transfer money abroad), fake foundations and money-laundering techniques.

Sometimes it is a response to economic and political instability or to high taxes placed on international trade. Frequently it is a way of hiding the illegal accumulation of wealth owed to corruption or criminal activity. Additionally, massive illicit flows can also be a reaction to a defaulting government debt or to a lost confidence on the economic strength of the country.

These outflows of capital seriously harm the efforts for poverty alleviation and socio-economic development. In the first place, investment has decreased, yielding negative implications for job creation, improvement of infrastructure and industrialization.

Illicit flows of money harm economic growth by stifling private capital formation and causing the tax base to remain narrow. Since it drains hard currency reserves, it encourages poor countries to borrow money from abroad making their debt crisis worse and curtailing public investment further. This burden is paid more by the poor since high levels of unemployment and increased inflation affects them more. Illicit flows increase inequality that can lead to political tensions and further poverty.

Interestingly, Africa has become a net creditor to the world despite its global image as an inactive recipient of aid and loans. It has the highest share of private external assets among developing regions. Since 1970, Africa has lost at least $854 billion through capital flight which is not only enough to wipe out the continent’s total external debt of $250 billion but leaving around $600 billion for poverty alleviation and pro poor growth.

Africa is the largest recipient of aid in the world. Vast amount of resources are being spent every year with the task of achieving poverty reduction and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

But what’s the point of sending money in the region if the region sends it back? For the region as a whole, illicit outflows outpaced official development assistance by a ratio of around 2:1. Taking other statistics into account, developing countries lose at least $10 through illegal flight for every $1 they receive via the aid regime. It is logical to conclude here that it would have been more beneficial to keep the locally produced wealth and invest it in the continent rather than waiting for aid from abroad to safeguard basic needs.

A serious inquiry that needs further investigation is what exactly this amount (between $1 trillion and $2 trillion) being lost means in terms of schools, hospitals and infrastructure. For example, the Education For All 2011 report stated that current aid levels fall short of the $16 billion required annually to close the external financing gap in low-income countries.

This crime kills the economic chances of the region. In 1970 it sent abroad 2% of Africa’s GDP, in 1987 it sent abroad 11% and 8% of its 2007 GDP. Illicit outflows from Africa grew at an average 12% a year over the four decades. To have a chance to meet the Millennium Development Goals, African countries must attack the illicit outflow and try to recover what is now held abroad. If the amount lost could be returned, then development can be achieved painlessly with local resources finally putting an end to aid dependency.

Economic growth without reform that can keep the wealth locally reinvested will lead to more illicit capital flight, and not to less. Sub Saharan Africa had high growth-rates over the last decade. Illicit outflows have also increased during this period. If the resources gained from growth cannot be invested locally then pro poor growth will not be achieved and the continent will continue suffering from extreme poverty. The region crucially needs diversification of its economy, research and development in relation to its agriculture and an expansion of its social services both in urban and rural areas. Only locally-led efforts, with local resources, can succeed in bringing prosperity.

Former South African president Mbeki blamed multinational companies for the flow of capital out of Africa, whereas other people are blaming the growing African elite for wanting higher returns for their money. The alternative view is that this economic problem of the outflow of money is just one of the consequences of the real problem that generates all others: in many African countries, governments (even the whole apparatus of the state) lack legitimacy, and their policies and actions do not represent the whole of society but special groups with economic and political power. In most African countries there is no bargain among groups; just the imposition of power by a small elite.

An effective state can tax its citizens with a political settlement, a rational consensus between state and citizens whereby taxes will be used to further guarantee and protect their interests. At this point we can start perceiving the problem of illicit flows more as a political problem and less an economic one. It is necessary for African societies to address their weak state legitimacy by becoming more open political units, which will integrate the different groups from the societies they supposedly lead. On the other hand businessmen, in order to keep their wealth inside their countries, need to be sure that they will profit with a positive real rate of interest. Serious macroeconomic policies, such as lower fiscal deficits, low inflation and reduced monetary expansion need to follow.

In conclusion, capital flight places the whole burden of solving the problem upon African countries. However one views the problem, either as an economic or a political one, the burden is placed on these societies to solve problems through their own efforts.

It is true that African financial institutions are the smallest and least developed in the world. It is also true that they are not transparent – probably a symptom of their connection with the political establishment which also lacks credibility among the locals. But credibility, transparency and legitimacy are central ideas to development. It would be wiser to start our development discussions from these basics rather than wasting more resources and time setting more and more millennium goals.

About the author

Menelaos Agaloglou is the Head of Geography in the International Division of the Greek Community School in Addis Ababa. He is a researcher of the Center of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (CEMMIS), part of the University of Peloponnese in Greece. He has taught Conflict Resolution and English in the University of Hargeisa in Somalia and Social Studies at the Ahmadiyya elementary school in Sierra Leone.

Read @ Open Democracy     http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/draining-development-illicit-flows-from-africa/