Curb Illicit Financial Flows Out of Africa

Africa Task Force for the Vatican COVID-19 Commission expert Fernando Saldivar, S.J has called for the need to curb capital flight and illicit financial flows (IFF) out of Africa. Mr. Saldivar, who is also the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network-Africa (JENA) Global Policy and Advocacy Officer, insists that the money lost by Africa as IFFs could generate new funds to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and to finance the much-needed social spending on the continent.

When African countries need to raise funds to cope with the socioeconomic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and of emergency health spending, they and other poor countries are losing billions of dollars of potential tax revenue each year to international corporate tax abuse and private tax evasion.

And recently. The State of Tax Justice 2020 Report by the Tax Justice Network revealed that while higher-income countries lose more tax to global tax abuse in nominal terms, tax losses bear much greater consequences in lower-income countries. The report reveals that lower-income countries’ tax losses are equivalent to nearly 52 percent of their combined public health budgets, whereas higher-income countries’ tax losses are equivalent to only 8 percent of their combined public health budgets. The report has further revealed that higher-income countries are responsible for 98 percent of countries’ tax losses, costing countries around the world over $419 billion in lost tax every year while lower-income countries are responsible for just 2 percent, costing countries over$8 billion in lost tax every year.

As Fernando notes in this video, Pope Francis insists in his latest Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti,that nations and other global actors with capacity have a moral obligation to help those countries with limited capacity to stem illicit financial flows and not to harm them.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis uses the figure of the Good Samaritan as a luminous example or a beacon of hope as a response to the shadows that cover the world and castigates our unhealthy society that turns its back on suffering; a society that is “illiterate” in caring for the frail and vulnerable, reminding humanity of its call – just like the Good Samaritan. The Pope observes that all peoples and nations have a co-responsibility of creating a society that includes, integrates, and lifts up those who have fallen or are suffering.


Africa Task Force for the Vatican COVID-19 Commission recently hosted a Webinar on “Tackling illicit financial flows for sustainable development in Africa.” where Fernando Saldivar was one of the key panelists. Watch the discussion here.