Skip to main content

To: Senator Van Hollen and Representative Bass:

Multinational corporations are stealing Africa’s money and resources. But we can stop them.

Multinational corporations are stealing Africa’s money and resources.  But we can stop them.

Africa is bleeding. It hemorrhages much-needed development funds through Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). We urge you to work with your peers in Africa and Europe to stop the bleeding.

As you know, IFFs are funds transferred across an international border using financial mechanisms that are either clearly illegal (sometimes barely legal) or illegitimate, resulting in economic harm. Every year, African countries lose an estimated $88.6 to $100 billion through IFFs. These figures exceed development funding and foreign direct investment. A UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2020 Report confirms the amount of money stolen by IFFs.

The financial strategies used to siphon money from the continent—tax avoidance and evasion, trade mis-invoicing, transfer pricing, criminal activities, and corruption—negatively impact countries worldwide, including the United States. However, these strategies devastate Africa. According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, 60 percent of IFFs are the result of corporate commercial activity.

“Illicit financial flows rob Africa and its people of their prospects, undermining transparency and accountability and eroding trust in African institutions,” says former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

Ending illicit financial flows (IFFs) is Africa’s biggest challenge since the struggles for political independence.

The United Nations (through Sustainable Development Goal 16.4.1) and the African Union, working in coordination with African governments and civil society organizations, have been sounding the alarm for several years, but America’s voice is noticeably absent.

We urge you to hold hearings and to introduce a joint resolution that:

1. Condemns the illegal and unethical practices that rob Africa of critical resources.
2. Directs U.S. resources to strengthen African infrastructure and technical capacity to stop IFFs.
3. Helps African countries recover stolen wealth and supports African development solutions, including the Africa 2030 Agenda, the African Mining Vision, and the African Blue Economy Strategy.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Respectfully,

Why is this important?

Corporations, shielded by governments and international trade and tax policies, annually pocket more than $60 Billion from Africa. Today, amidst a global pandemic – corporate commercial activity continues to drain Africa’s resources. The policies and strategies used to siphon African resources, known collectively as illicit financial flows (IFFs), include tax avoidance and evasion, falsification of trade invoices, trafficking, government corruption, and other criminal activities.

These devastating losses deprive African nations of desperately needed funds to invest in development. Money that could have been used to improve public transportation, upgrade power grids, and increase access to clean water, or fund quality education and healthcare is lost.

The United Nations, African government, and non-governmental leaders have called attention to IFFs. As far back as 2015, Thabo Mbeki, former President of South African President, led a high-level panel of experts that reported on the monetary impact of IFFs on the African continent. The US voice, however, is largely absent. Together we can change that.

Joining with our brothers and sisters in Africa to call out the problem – a process you started by reading this call to action – is an important first step. Demanding that the US government do the same, is an important next step. The petition above demands that the US government recognize the deadly IFF impact and do its part to end IFFs; it is a critical part of naming and calling out the problem.

Join us in urging allies in Congress to introduce and pass a congressional resolution that:
1. Condemns the illegal and unethical practices that rob Africa of critical resources.
2. Directs US resources to strengthen African infrastructure and technical capacity to stop IFFs.
3. Helps African countries recover stolen wealth and supports African development solutions, including the Africa 2030 Agenda, the African Mining Vision, and the African Blue Economy Strategy.

Please join us! Sign this petition, which will be delivered to House and Senate Africa Subcommittee leaders before the August 2022 recess!

After signing, please share with your personal email lists and social media friends!

For Additional Information:

1. Matilda Moyo, Tackling Illicit Financial Flows, a matter of Survival for Africa’s Development, Africa Renewal Magazine, 15, June 2021, https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/july-2021/tackling-illicit-financial-flows-matter-survival-africas-development.
Charlier, Francois, Tackling Illicit Financial Flows to Secure Africa’s Future, Curb Conflict, Matter for Survival, Africa Renewal Magazine, 10 February 2021, https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/february-2021/tackling-illicit-financial-flows-secure-africas-future-curb-conflict.
2. Illicit Financial Flows, Six short videos that explain IFFs, methodologies, and the 2015 Mbeki Report, produced by United Nations Economic Commission on Africa, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpHAhG3yn5o&list=PLcfKplk33JTiXlNB59xH56noccqZphgFJ.
3. Illicit Financial Flows featuring Briggs Bomba, Trust Africa, 2:07 minutes. Produced by Zimbabwe-based Kuumba Arts Trust and Magamba Trust, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIwwOabpoTA.
4. Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, 2:32 minutes produced by ITUC-Africa, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t9_IR_BqJY.
5. What are Illicit Financial Flows? 1:17 minute video by Zimbabwean creative, Alastair Ruturi. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy2GK0mka0c.

How it will be delivered

The petition will be hand-delivered to Members of Congress before the August 2022 recess!

United States

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Updates

2022-03-14 11:55:43 -0700

100 signatures reached

2022-02-04 12:20:59 -0800

50 signatures reached

2022-02-01 21:11:55 -0800

25 signatures reached

2022-02-01 05:46:32 -0800

10 signatures reached