The African Development Bank (AfDB) says Africa loses about $50 billion annually to illicit financial flows out of the continent.
Ebrima Faal, director, AfDB, Nigerian office, disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja at workshop on the role of parliament in combating illicit financial flows from Africa.
According to him, these estimates may well be lower than actual outflows as accurate data do not exist for all African countries.
“Estimates on illicit financial flows are highly disparate due to differences in methodologies,” he said, adding that current estimates suggest Africa could be losing more than $50 billion annually in illicit financial flows.
“This is about the same size as total FDI or total remittance flows and slightly higher than overseas development assistance (ODA),’’ he said
He noted that some discrete forms of illicit financial flows are excluded and not easy to track or estimated.
Commenting on the objectives of the workshop, he said it was to review the challenges of and learn from the good practices adopted by experts in their fight against illicit financial flows, adding that part of the objectives was also to share experiences in recovering the proceeds of crime from criminals.
He also said the workshop seeks to explore the role that parliamentarians can play in facilitating the work of the practitioners,’’ he said.
Faal noted that the role of the parliaments in promoting economic recovery and sustainable development was fundamental.
He said parliaments had the constitutional mandate to both oversee government and to hold government to account.
“They also play a primary role in promoting good economic and financial governance through effective oversight of the public budget and expenditure management.
“ It is a vital democratic institution serving as a bridge between the state and society. In carrying out its legislative, oversight and representative roles, Parliaments help strengthen good governance for enhanced growth and poverty reduction.
“ In this regard, the African Development Bank is committed to support the capacity building of African Parliaments, to help strengthen their oversight function,’’ he noted.
Adeyemi Dipeolu, special adviser to the vice president on economic matters said studies had proved that illicit financial flows had negative impact to the African economies.
He said that such outflows had reduced availability of resources for development; undermine efforts to ensure growth and development, adding that they had also weakened international cooperation in Africa as well as contributing to austerity measures witnessed in the region and triggering negative effect on growth
He called on the parliamentarians to ensure good legislation to put to an end the act in the region and institute transparency and accountability in the system.