Illicit Financial Flows in Cameroon:Over FCFA 4.2 Billion Lost Annually

Working session in progress, Yaounde, June 21, 2019.

The six-month programme was unveiled in Yaounde on June 21, 2019.

The African Regional Centre for Community and Endogenous Development  has partnered with the Kenya-based Tax Justice Network Africa to sensitise citizens to fight illicit financial flows (IFF) from Cameroon. The civil society organisations launched a six-month sensitisation campaign in Yaounde on June 21, 2019 with representatives of government institutions and NGOs. The Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, the National Agency for the Investigation of Financial Crimes (ANIF) and Transparency International where present. Its theme is “Stop the bleeding of Cameroonian resources.” Michel Bissou, an expert, presented findings and recommendations on Cameroon’s domestication of the Africa Mining Vision -a policy framework established by the African Union in 2009 to promote equitable, broad-based development through prudent exploitation and utilization of the continent's natural wealth.

According to Jean Mballa Mballa, Executive Director of CRADEC, Cameroon loses 7 billion US dollars (circa FCFA 4,200 billion) annually to IFF. On the continental scale, he cited a World Bank report which said Africa lost 50 billion US dollars (over FCFA 29,000 billion) between 2003 and 2012 to IFF. He blamed mainly multinational companies and the absence of sound policies and expertise on the side of African governments.

Data from Tax Justice Network Africa showed Africa loses 80 billion US dollars every year through activities of multinational companies and rich individuals; money which they say could be invested in lifting Africa’s growing population from underdevelopment and poverty if retained. African Heads of State took a commitment in an AU summit in January 2015 to combat IFF. The commitment, we learned, was prompted by a report made by the AU Commission’s High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows. It revealed the continent lost 1 trillion US dollars between 1980 and 2008. The losses which go especially to multinational companies operating in the oil, gas and mining sector, mean loss of jobs, income, decent education and other basic infrastructure critical to structurally transform the socio-economic conditions of Africans.

The initiators of the sixmonth campaign which is part of a continent-wide movement, say the aim is to not let only governments tackle IFF, but get as many people as possible, across many sectors aware of IFFs and understand how stopping it would help governments to use resources to improve the lives of its people .

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