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Illicit Financial Flows in Africa Pushing Billions of Dollars Away from Continent

Amanda Fortier
Ibrahima Aidara
Global Financial Integrity
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222

Recent Study Shows Integrity Institutions Lack Effectiveness in Controlling Looting of Wealth

DAKAR, Senegal – Economies in Africa have lost between $597 billion and $1.4 trillion in net resource transfers in the past three decades, despite the growth in integrity institutions on the continent, according to a recent study conducted by Global Financial Integrity (GFI).  Illicit financial flows are the topic of a two-day forum organized by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and TrustAfrica on December 9th and 10th, at Terrou Bi Hotel in Dakar, Senegal.

“While most development observers acknowledged that Africa is rising, at the same time, there is a growing challenge to retain the wealth created within the continent and to benefit to its citizens,” says Abdul Tejan-Cole, Executive Director of OSIWA.

The resource drain in Africa is coming in the form of both licit flows – such as investment, foreign aid, debt relief, and remittances moving in and out of the county – and illicit flows – such as the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion. According to GFI researchers, some of these illicit flows are attributed to oil price rises (minerals and other natural resources) and many of these leakages occur through corruption.

“While research has proven that Africa is a net creditor in the world, we are yet to see a concerted effort on the part of African governmental regional bodies and multilateral agencies to address the scourge of illicit financial flows from Africa,” says Akwasi Aidoo, Executive Director of TrustAfrica.

The looting of wealth in Africa over the past 30 years is nearly equal to Africa’s current Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and has seriously deprived Africans of much needed financial stimulus. Though Africa has experienced unprecedented economic growth in many countries, this leap forward has failed to translate into better lives for its people and continues to dwarf the efforts of donor countries to help.

The OSIWA, TrustAfrica, and GFI forum will bring together a host of stakeholders, including regional bodies, government representatives, anti-corruption agencies, International Financial institutions, and civil society to discuss key findings of the report with the intent of creating a strong public action to collaborate and fight against illicit flows.

Follow the event at #IllicitFlowsAfrica#IllicitFinancialFlows, and follow @osiwa1, @TrustAfrica, or @GFI_Tweets.




In Dakar:

Amanda Fortier
+221 77 644 5186

Ibrahima Aidara
+221 77 645 6928

In Washington, DC:

Clark Gascoigne
+1 202 293-0740 ext 222

Notes to Editors:

  • The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a part of the Open Society Foundations global network and one of four foundations in Africa. OSIWA is dedicated to the promotion of inclusive democratic governance, transparent and accountable institutions and active citizenship across the region. 
  • TrustAfrica is a public foundation that seeks to secure conditions for democratic governance, equitable development and African philanthropy across the African continent. Led by Africans, TrustAfrica organizes meetings, catalyzes ideas, and provides grants and technical assistance to organizations working to advance these goals. 
  • Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit, research and advocacy organization promoting transparency in the international financial system as a path to global development.  In addressing the opaque current financial system of anonymous shell companies, tax haven secrecy, and various money laundering techniques, we can significantly curtail terrorist financing, corruption, tax evasion, criminal trafficking, inequality, and the roughly $1 trillion in illicit financial flows leaving the developing world each year.


Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system as a means to global development.

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