ECOSOC President urges curtailing flow of illegal finances that cost Africa billions

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 24, 2015 10:08 hrs

In a "timely and necessary" meeting on illicit financial flows and their impact on development in Africa, Oh Joon, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Friday urged broader efforts to combat such flows, of IFFs from the continent could amount to a staggering $50 billion each year.

Todays deliberation on illicit financial flows in Africa is both timely and necessary. It is necessary because reducing illicit financial flows and their costs for African economies is a challenging task, calling for cooperation at all levels and among many different actors, said Oh. Addressing a joint meeting of ECOSOC and the General Assemblys Second Committee which deals with economic and financial issues he stressed that African countries will need international and regional support, including public-private dialogue, amidst the transformation of its economies and balancing critical economic needs with social and environmental sustainability. He also added that African nations will need to finance a wide range of investment requirements in order to achieve the recently adopted 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and therefore, would require the biggest portion of financial resources. The UNCTAD World Investment Report of 2014 and other sources have highlighted that investment needs in developing countries alone range from 3.3 trillion dollars 4.5 trillion dollars per year, mainly for basic infrastructure such as roads, rail and ports, power stations, water and sanitation, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, and education, said Oh. He also said that according to UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), nearly $50 billion of illicit financial flows move from the continent, which represents an important loss of foreign exchange reserves, an erosion of their legal tax base, and bygone investment opportunities from natural resources rents. He stressed that Africa have to mobilize its resources from within the continent and decide on how best to retain and utilize them effectively. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard