WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) today praised the United Nations High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda for making the curtailment of illicit financial flows and tax evasion an explicit goal of the global anti-poverty agenda following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The report from the HLP, published late last week, follows the release of a new joint study by GFI and the African Development Bank which found illicit financial outflows drained roughly $1.3 trillion from Africa over the past thirty years, making the continent a net creditor to the rest of the world of up to $1.4 trillion.
“This is a big development and a major advancement for the world’s poor,” said GFI President Raymond Baker. “In making the curtailment of illicit financial flows a priority, the High Level Panel is truly confronting one of the major, underlying causes of extreme poverty.”
“Tax haven secrecy drained developing countries of US$859 billion in illicit financial outflows in 2010, ten times more than the US$88 billion1 they received in official development assistance,” continued Mr. Baker. “This is an astronomically large amount of money. We’re talking about nearly US$1 trillion that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure in the world’s poorest countries. It’s nearly a US$1 trillion dollars that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives.”
The new report from the HLP panel raises pressure on G8 leaders, meeting in Northern Ireland later this month, to take meaningful action to address illicit financial flows and tax evasion.
“The G8 has the opportunity to meaningfully address the problem of illicit financial flows,” noted Baker. “Prime Minister David Cameron has placed the topic on the agenda of the leader’s summit later this month. World leaders should seize the moment to ban anonymous shell companies, by creating public registries of beneficial ownership information. They should embrace the multilateral automatic exchange of tax information as the new global norm, expanding the current European pilot program to developing and emerging economies. And they require all multinational corporations to report their profits, sales, taxes-paid, and employee information on a country-by-country basis to shine a light on the harmful profit-shifting practices that deprive rich and poor countries of hundreds of billions of dollars in lost tax revenue every year.”
GFI President Raymond Baker, GFI Managing Director Tom Cardamone, and GFI Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs Heather Lowe spelled out their policy recommendations for the G8 Summit in a letter to UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last month.
The G8 leaders’ summit is scheduled to take place June 17-18, 2013 at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.