Global Financial Integrity

GFI header image

Africa’s Illicit Financial Flows Problem in 3 Charts


Every year, more capital is transferred out of Africa than into the continent. This is despite billions of dollars of foreign aid, natural resource exports, and foreign direct investment:

So, what is going on? Well, when you just account for all recorded flows, such as various forms of investment, aid, exports and imports, and other transfers, Africa’s debits and credits to the rest of the world are about even, although trending higher. That’s not good for economic development:

But the more grave problem comes in when you add illicit financial flows, which are unrecorded:

So, while many in the West like to think that we are generously giving billions of dollars to Africa, we’re in fact taking far more away, creating poverty and stifling much of Africa’s economic development.