Illicit Financial Flows; Major Threat to Development

Illicit Financial Flows; Major Threat to Development

By Robert Aseda, (@Varaq)

One of the age old responses posted by governments in response to requests to substantially increase allocation to critical components of development like education and health has been, “we recognize that that’s an important issue, however we do not have funding at this time”

This template response has been a major hindrance to realization of basic human rights.

Hundreds of pupils cram together under trees to wait for one overworked teacher as pregnant women continue to walk long distances to go bring forth life. Sometimes the obstacles standing between them and that facility is dilapidated roads that can only allow one wheel barrow at a time.

Funding all these different but interrelated issues is very critical if we are to achieve sustainable development.

The question however should not just be where can we get additional resources from but also how best to fully make use of the resources at our hands in an effective and efficient manner, taking notes of our different priority agendas.

One of the greatest problem bedeviling our world, especially our continent is the massive issue of illicit financial flows.

This is when money is illegally earned, transferred, or spent.

According to the report by the task-force led by Thambo Mbeki, former South African president, Africa has lost about 1.2 to 1.4 trillion US Dollars over the last thirty years. This sum is very significant because by some expert’s estimate, illicit flows from Africa each year could be as much as double what Official Donor Assistance allocate to Africa.

But Africa does not stand alone in this.

Bangladesh is a classic example where the amount of money lost is bigger than the aid it receives from developed nations.

Companies, especially multinational companies that avoid tax must be reminded that the revenue lost would have funded dreams and strengthened important sectors like education, health among others.

The Addis Ababa Declaration must therefore be strong on sealing all the loopholes of illicit cash flows.

This will go a long way in ensuring that as citizens and donors do their part, governments utilize the available resources to rewrite the history of our continents, realize human rights, achieve equality and strengthen governance and accountability.

As the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, urged members as he closed civil society consultations, Financing for Development is of crucial importance not just in realizing the ambitious POST 2015 development agenda, or the climate change, but for all the aspirations of the widow in Bangkok and the mama mboga in Kenya.

We most not behave like the proverbial Kimani who took forever filling his bucket and still ended up with no water.

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