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African Countries Lose Almost $90bn In Illicit Financial Flows Annually, Says AfDB

Urama said the leakage exposes countries to highly volatile global market prices and highly vulnerable supply chains.

The Chief Economist and Vice President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Prof. Kevin Urama, has stated that African countries lose almost $90 billion in Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) annually.

According to him, much more is lost in illicit resource flows and resource theft, poorly implemented fiscal policy incentives, and excessive dependence on commodity exports for foreign exchange earnings.

He also stated that the leakage exposes countries to highly volatile global market prices and highly vulnerable supply chains.

Urama stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of the Public Finance Management Academy for Africa (PFMA).

He revealed that in 2021, the bank approved a capacity development strategy, a strategy for economic governance in Africa, a framework for the management of illicit financial flows, and a multi-dimensional action plan for the mitigation of debt distress in Africa.

The AFDB Group vice president remarked that the bank launched a programme to produce a Public Service Delivery Index (PSDI) to provide an independent and standardised index for assessing the delivery of public services by public servants.

He added that the goal is to work with partners to establish a prize to incentivise improvements in the management of public resources and deliver improved quality of public services to countries.

Speaking on the PFMA, Urama averred that the programme was approved in June 2022 by the board of directors of the bank, stating that the PFMA is designed to deliver high-level structured capacity development to African countries on public financial management.

In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr. Tope Fasua, stated that public financial and debt management remains on the front burner of the federal government’s agenda.

He disclosed that key economic policy objectives of the government include optimisation of revenue mobilisation and tax reforms, blocking of leakages in public finances, improving public procurement and spending efficiency, and supporting the ease of doing business environment for private sector investments and job creation.

“The PFMA is an implementation activity of the African Development Bank Group’s programmes to strengthen the capacity of African countries in economic governance and knowledge management to enhance wealth creation, prudential management of public finances to improve the quality of lives for Africans. The rationale for focusing on the PFM is obvious. Africa is natural resource rich and often cash poor.

“Several studies have attributed this to poor management of public resources-from ineffective mobilisation and use of domestic revenue, unsustainable borrowing and lack of prudence in the use of debt resources, illicit financial and resource flows, resource theft, among others forms of leakages and corruption along the PFM ecosystems in countries.

“The first cohort of 145 public officials nominated by 45 African countries commenced the 18-month structured capacity development programme in July 2022.

“Of these, 52 public officials from 26 countries have successfully completed the programme and satisfied the conditions to be certified by the bank group and partners as PFM experts in their respective countries,” he stated.

Ugo Aliogo

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