On February 1st through 2nd, I and other youth representatives from around the world met at the UN’s ECOSOC Youth Forum to discuss how we can actively influence the implementation of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A highlight of the event was a speech by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth, who argued for his “Ten Myths about Youth,” in which he asserted that youth are not the future, seeing as we comprise so much of the world today and are directly and immediately affected by any decisions that take place. Youth are as much the present as any other group in society—participating youth repeatedly expressed their concerns about the current lack of employment opportunities (in advanced and developing economies alike). High levels of youth unemployment are correlated with major losses in human capital development, income and employment stability, and aggregate economic gains.
By Tom Cardamone, February 1, 2016
In adopting the Sustainable Development Goals this past September, UN member states realized two extraordinary achievements. First, the document itself—with 17 goals, 169 targets and 200+ (yet to be finalized) indicators—is a testament to global ambition, a 15-year roadmap toward what is hoped will be unprecedented progress in poverty alleviation. Second, the global community agreed to “substantially reduce illicit financial flows,” which reached $1.1 trillion two years earlier according to a recent GFI study.
By Tom Cardamone, October 6, 2015
A Quarterly Newsletter on the Work of Global Financial Integrity from June to September 2015
Global Financial Integrity is pleased to present GFI Engages
, a quarterly newsletter created to highlight events at GFI and in the world of illicit financial flows. We look forward to keeping you updated on our research, advocacy, high level engagement, and media presence. The following items represent just a fraction of what GFI has been up to since March, so make sure to check our website
for frequent updates.
Global Financial Integrity Conference: Illicit Financial Flows: The Most Damaging Economic Problem Facing the Developing World
Based on the culmination of work GFI has done with the support of the Ford Foundation including a book by GFI, the conference included discussions and keynote remarks from experts on the nature of IFFs, country-level perspectives, and how and why curtailing these IFFs should be a priority for the global community.
Former President Continued Call on Africa’s and World’s Leaders to Prioritize Financial Transparency
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomes the statements made yesterday by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on illicit financial flows at the third Financing for Development Conference. At an event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mbeki noted that in order to address the issue of illicit flows “there needs to be a concerted and sustained campaign around the world.” “The principle challenge we face” he said, “is one of implementation.” He expressed optimism about the impact the Financing for Development conference will have on illicit flows noting that there is “a common commitment” to address the problem “at a global level and at a national level.”
Governments Commit to “Substantially Reduce Illicit Financial Flows by 2030”
Development Accord Seeks to Curb an Estimated $1 Trillion in Annual Outflows
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the Africa Progress Panel (APP) and Jubilee USA applauded the global commitment made today at the Third Financing for Development Conference (FfD3) to reduce the massive flow of illicit funds from developing country economies. For the first time international consensus was reached on the importance of an issue that has been at the forefront of efforts by hundreds of research and development organizations for the last ten years. The negotiations concluded today and formal adoption of the document will take place on Thursday.
The Most Important Step that Can Be Taken Toward Equitable, Sustainable Development in the Years Ahead Is Legitimate Trade
Plastic buckets from the Czech Republic at $970 each? Brown sugar from Turkey going for $240 per pound? Or weed whackers shipped to Venezuela at $12,300 apiece?
These are all examples of the troubling and growing phenomenon known as trade misinvoicing — the fraudulent over- and under-invoicing of international trade transactions to secretly move money, covering the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.
GFI Spokespersons Available for Comment and Updates on Financing for Development (FfD), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Illicit Financial Flows, Trade Misinvoicing
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia / WASHINGTON, DC – The third Financing for Development Conference (FfD) will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 13-16, and Global Financial Integrity will be on the ground advocating for specific, measurable and achievable targets to significantly reduce illicit financial flows.
This process marks a momentous opportunity to create a sustained path for helping developing countries address the nearly US$1 trillion that flows out of their economies illicitly each year. Of that amount approximately $730 billion is moved offshore through trade misinvoicing (i.e. trade fraud). The related tax loss, coupled with the potential investment resources that are lost, represent significant costs to governance and development efforts in poor countries.
Offshore Financial Centres Can Help Curb Illicit Flows by Exchanging Tax Information and Providing Transparent Beneficial Ownership Information
In its recent op-ed, Jersey Finance provides a defence of the offshore financial centre’s legal code and regulatory framework against charges by “pressure groups” of alleged financial improprieties. The author also promotes Jersey’s financial services to current and potential clients that intend to invest in Africa.
However the article’s logic is flawed. It suggests that since Jersey is an international finance centre with allegedly tough anti-money laundering laws to help prevent wrongdoing, other IFCs are also proper places to facilitate investments in the developing world. One need only search “Swiss leaks” or “Lux leaks” to understand more clearly how taxes are dodged, money laundered, and financial secrets kept around the globe. Secret bank accounts, anonymous corporations, fraudulent foundations, nominee trust accounts and other opaque structures are the calling cards of many IFCs and are utilised by any firm or person who wants to move, hide or launder money.