Mbeki Panel on Illicit Financial Flows adopts framework action plan for Africa


ECA Press Release No. 66/2012


Johannesburg, 06 May 2012 (ECA) – The Second Session of the Meeting of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa at the weekend adopted a framework action plan to jumpstart its activities and place illicit financial flows on the forefront of policy discourse on the continent.

Presided over by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, the Panel’s discussions underscored the volume and scale of different aspects of illicit financial flows, including theft and bribery by public officials, corporate transactions and criminal activities. It felt that the consequences and effects of such forms of illicit financial flows were more pertinent to its work than their relative magnitude.

Members urged the domestication and implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption and the AUCPCC, including the provisions on assets repatriation. Similarly, they took note of the country-by-country reporting system currently under discussion in the European Union which was seen as a potentially significant effort that would assist in stemming the practice of illicit money transfers.

The Panel also resolved to bring the matter to the attention of the wider public through targeted messaging and building of strong coalitions and partnerships with relevant stakeholders including the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, the African Forum of Former Heads of State and Government as well as state and non-state actors including central banks, civil society organizations and the private sector.

The High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa was established last year following a resolution of the 4th Joint Annual Meetings of the ECA/AU Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Africa in March 2011.

The Panel brings together eminent personalities from within and outside Africa who share a common concern and expertise in the financial aspects of Africa’s development. It is led by Mr. Thabo Mbeki, former South African president, while Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, serves as Vice Chair. Its Technical Committee is headed by Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECA.

Some sources figure that as much as $854 billion were siphoned out of Africa between 1970 and 2008, with another $945 billion due to other cross-border illegalities such as mis-invoicing and smuggling which are not included in the initial reckoning.

The Panel was established by a resolution of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development co-convened by the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa. The aim is to undertake extensive and in-depth studies to shed light on the extent and ramifications of illicit financial flows on national economies as well as on the human impacts of the phenomenon.

The Panel is also expected to streamline possible initiatives that African countries can undertake either individually or collectively to stem the flows and repatriate the stolen funds.
For more information on the activities of the High-Level Panel please contact:

  1. Mr Mukoni Ratshitanga, Thabo Mbeki Foundation, Tel: +27823003447 mukonit@gmail.com
  2. Aloysius Fomenky, UNECA Tel: +251 910 163565  AFomenky@uneca.org

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa