Maendeleo Group Blog

The conversation needs to change when it comes to migration and Africa, replacing the narrative about an exodus out of the continent to one about people moving to other countries within the continent. The difference matters.

Evidence shows that most African migrants (more than half) remain on the continent. Recent surveys also show that of the 37% of Africans who have considered migrating, almost half wish to remain on the continent. An overwhelming majority wish to seek economic opportunities elsewhere on the continent. So, what is being done to support the ambition of many Africans with respect to labor migration on the continent?  

Read here the contribution of our Business Associate, Faten Aggad, to this debate on the OECD Development Centre’s Development Matters, Faten will also contribute to discussions on this issue during the Africa Forum, a joint annual event between the African Union Commission and the OECD on 31 October 2018.

Published in Africa

The year 2018 will be remembered as a landmark year for high level policy action on anti-corruption. Previous commentary on the topic can be found here, here and here.

Notable is the dedication of 2018 by the African Union (AU) as the African Anti-Corruption Year on the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” The dedication of 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year closely follows the 24th Ordinary Summit of the AU which also considered the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF’s) and adopted a declaration on IFF’s. The report of the High Level Panel revealed that Africa loses at least $ 50 billion a year to Illicit Financial Flows, a large portion of which (close to 60%) is through unethical business practises such as transfer pricing and aggressive tax avoidance practises. Interestingly, the High Level Panel found that corruption only constitutes 5% of the total illicit outflows.

The seminal work of the High Level Panel has played a crucial role in recalibrating the global debate around corrupt practises, shining the spotlight on western countries and their multinational corporations and the role they play in abetting corrupt practises. This could be said to go against conventional opinion that has largely depicted Africa as corrupt and western countries as ethical. An examination of the Transparency International rankings reinforces this perception with a country like Somalia ranking poorly, while Switzerland is rated highly despite being a secrecy jurisdiction that facilitates the concealment of the proceeds of corruption. This has led some to argue that such corruption indices do not place sufficient focus on the supply side of corruption.

Unsurprisingly, indications suggest that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is pushing back on the work of the High Level Panel and has been attempting to question the methodology and findings by attempting to focus more on the illegal dimensions of Illicit Financial Flows.

With these developments as a backdrop, an emerging African voice can be distilled from the recently concluded 31st Summit of the AU which was held on 1 and 2 July, 2018 in Mauritania’s desert capital Nouakchott. Three issues are notable;
First, taking que from the tone of the High Level Panel, the summit criticized the labelling of corruption as an African phenomena.

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Instead, the summit viewed corruption as a universal phenomenon and that the fight against corruption constitutes part of the broader debate around global economic and tax justice including the progressive elimination of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions both within and outside Africa.

Secondly, the summit also noted importance of asset recovery as a key priority for African countries. Countries like Nigeria whose president Muhammadu Buhari was appointed to champion the African Anti-Corruption year have suffered from difficulties in tracing, freezing and returning stolen assets. The close to 20 year journey to recover the Abacha loot from the Swiss authorities is a good example of the perils African governments face is the recovery of stolen assets. On asset recovery, the priorities include ending unnecessary conditionality’s for asset recovery, developing a Common African Position on Asset Recovery and working with international partners to adopt a transparent and efficient timetable for the recovery and return of stolen assets.

Finally, corruption prevention remains a key priority with an emphasis on anti-corruption education and sensitization campaigns targeting young people as a means of catalysing attitudinal change. In a continent that is growing younger, investing in emerging generation of anti-corruption change agents will be crucial to stemming corruption and developing new methodologies to fight the vice. Youth-led organisations and movements such as YouthHub Africa, budgiT and JamiiForums are good examples of how social media and ICTs can be used to engage and mobilize young people on transparency issues.

These three pillars will likely serve as thrust for African discourse on the topic in the coming years and are reflective of the uniquely African voice in the global anti-corruption debate.

An abridged version of this post was featured on the Global Anti-Corruption Blog

Selemani is Legal Expert specializing in African Governance trends. He currently serves as Senior Policy Officer for Political and Legal Matters at the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption. He is also an advisor at The Maendeleo Group and a member of the Pan African Lawyers Union Expert Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows. The views expressed by the author are entirely his own and do not reflect the position of any organisation he may be affiliated with.
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Published in Africa

George Mukundi, former Head, African Governance Architecture (AGA) Secretariat, Department of Political Affairs, African Union Commission (AUC), says Nigeria ranks below 20 per cent in making information on security spending available to the public.

Mukundi made the call in Abuja at a two-day International Conference on Security Budget in Nigeria.

The conference with the theme ‘Transparency and Accountability: Issues in Security Budget in Nigeria’ was organised by the CLEEN Foundation, a civil society organisation (CSO).

He identified limited public participation, lack of clarity and coherence of national security sector policy and strategic plan as some of the issues affecting security spending in some African countries, including Nigeria.

Other issues, according to him, include: inefficient implementation of the budget and poor coordination, limited transparency, accountability, corruption especially related to procurement, as well as disconnect between planning, budgeting and spending.

Published in Blog
Friday, 11 May 2018 14:22

Josephat Muuo Kilonzo

Josephat Muuo Kilonzo is a Junior Research Associate with Maendeleo Group. He is an international human rights lawyer with a keen interest in public interest litigation, constitutionalism, rule of law, democratization and African regional integration. He has worked with among others Muma & Kanjama Advocates, Kenya, the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation, Switzerland, National Legal Aid & Awareness Program, Kenya and the Dullar Omar Institute, University of Western Cape, South Africa. He obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from Moi University, Kenya (2015) and a Master in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa Degree (LLM with Distinction) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He received the Nelson Mandela Prize for the best academic performance in the Class of 2017.  
Josephat Muuo Kilonzo
Josephat Muuo Kilonzo
Junior Research Associate
Maendeleo Group
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Published in Talent

A Wind of Change? The Institutional Reform of the African Union and Africa’s Security Provision

Written by Michelle Ndiaye

This collection of policy briefs seeks to contribute to achieving a homogeneous understanding and to influence ongoing dialogue on the AU’s institutional reforms. The scope covered in this collection ranges from the elements of the institutional reform process to actors, partnerships, financing peace and security and compliance to the reforms. The collection does not seek to impose a verdict on whether the reforms will be successful or not. However, it provides compelling analyses on some of the milestones achieved in the ongoing implementation of the agenda as well as the conditions that need to be put in place to guarantee the full implementation of the reforms.

The collection features 8 policy papers authored by 10 experts working in the field of peace and security in Africa.

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(Article Source & Credit: IPSS)

Copyright © 2018 Tana Forum Secretariat at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University

Published in Blog

Maendeleo Group's Kate Krontiris Launches Ground Breaking New Book on What its Really Like to Breastfeed and Pump in the United States whose experiences and lessons on breastfeeding, pumping and equity are applicable globally and in particular Africa. Read more in her own words

Published in Blog

The vision of the African Union (AU) is to achieve “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”. The attainment of that vision hinges on three foundational imperatives: democratic governance, peace and security, and sustainable development. The focus of this report is on the interlinkages between democratic governance on the one hand and peace and security on the other. The report examines the two overarching mechanisms that were established by the AU to strengthen democratic governance and attain peace and security; namely the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

 

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(Credits: Originally published by - Norwegian Institute of International Affairs)

Published in Blog
Friday, 17 February 2017 08:49

Maendeleo Group In The Media

Hot off the press on our newly launched you tube channnel @ MaendeleoGroup- economic integration in Africa

 

Published in Blog
Saturday, 17 December 2016 08:27

Faten Aggad-Clerx

Faten Aggad-Clerx is a Business Associate with Maendeleo Group. A national and citizen of Algeria her passion and interests are in fostering pan-Africanism and regional integration through strengthening democratic governance, continental trade and sustainable development. She is an international development expert, facilitator and connector with experience covering North and sub-Saharan Africa as well as Europe. In the last 5 years, she developed and managed the Africa programme of an EU-based Think and Do Tank, the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), where she collaborated with the African Union Commission and other African regional groupings on initiatives related to governance, early warning, relations with the EU especially in relation to strategic cooperation frameworks. In this capacity she also served as a facilitator and expert in a number of technical engagements within the framework of the EU-Africa partnership. She also initiated efforts to position her organisation in North Africa.

With 13+ years of experience, Faten worked at several Think Tanks including the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA) where she served as a civil society trainer on the African Peer Review Mechanism in several countries (Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia). She also consulted for international agencies such as the UNDP. Faten was part of the Secretariat that supported the Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano to launch the leadership initiative of former African Heads of States and Government in 2005 - the Africa Forum.

Faten has acted as a team leader for several studies and project evaluations especially on governance, peace, security and sustainable development. She has served as an evaluation team member on several evaluations. Clients included the European Union, the African Development Bank and the Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Faten has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of Pretoria. She is also trained in Personal Leadership at the Institute of Personal Leadership at Columbia University, NYC. Faten is tri-lingual and is proficient to work in English, French and Arabic.

 
Faten Aggad Clerx
Faten Aggad-Clerx
Business Associate
Maendeleo Group
Algiers, Algeria and Maastricht, Netherlands
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Published in Talent

The Panama Papers’, a data leak of client documents belonging to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, were exposed by German newspaper, SüddeutscheZeitung, in conjunction with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). These controversial documents haveraised some ethical and legal questions around financial disclosure and transparency; and the role of tax haven jurisdictions in the facilitation of tax evasion, trade-based money laundering, organised crime, illicit financial flows (IFFs) and other issues of grave concern to the international community.

Although holding ownership of a shell company or an offshore account, in most cases is not unlawful, some negative practices have come to be associated with financial activities in secretive jurisdictions. In general, countries could prosecute individuals and corporations involved in the operation of offshore business interests, in instances where:

  • a public official has failed to disclose the offshore accounts;
  • the funds held in the offshore account are the proceeds of crime;
  • the offshore accounts facilitate the evasion of tax liability for an individual or corporate entity.

What has the response of African states been to the Panama Papers? The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria declared that it would investigate the nationals implicated in the scandal. Despite the existence of legislation enabling the prosecution of parties involved in the illegal use of offshore accounts, months of silence ensued, and after much protest, the Nigerian government eventually announced the names of prominent individuals to be prosecuted. Instrumental in this achievement were the concerted efforts by the Nigerian civil society which demanded that strong action be taken against those individuals with financial dealings in secretive jurisdictions.

It is interesting to note that before the data leaks such as WikiLeaks and the Panama Papers put a spotlight on offshore accounts, Nigeria and Kenya had already prohibited the use of foreign banking accounts by public officials in their respective Constitutions. Although Nigeria has disclosed the names of the individuals who will be prosecuted, there are no known prosecutions, intended or otherwise, relating to the Panama Papers in Kenya.

The South African Code of Conduct for Public Servants on the other hand, does not forbid the use of foreign banks by public officials and a proposed amnesty for those who declare their financial interests in offshore accounts, makes no distinction between voluntary disclosures to be made by public officials and individuals not in public service. There are also no known prosecutions in South Africa, relating to the Panama Papers or the holding of offshore accounts and companies. African responses have largely focused on individuals in public service and little attention has been placed on the role of corporate entities in IFFs and tax evasion.

The Panama Papers not only confirmed the losses that the continent suffers as a result of IFFs but also brought to light the existence of IFFs in other commercial industries. Tour operator agencies and companies operating in Southern and Eastern Africa have found themselves embroiled in the Panama Papers scandal; with at least 30 offshore Safari companies revealed to have been incorporated through Mossack Fonseca. Many of these companies are officially registered in the British Virgin Islands while their daily operations continue from Southern and East African countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.

Like the extractive industries, tourism is a major contributor to the economies of African countries. In 2014, tourism on the African continent contributed $798 million, with a total GDP input of 10.5%. The total number of jobs supplied by this industry in 2014, amounted to 543,500, which accounts for 9.2% of Africa’s jobs. Tourism is not only a major contributor to the GDP but is also a key foreign exchange earner as many tourists bring foreign currencies. In countries with weak financial controls, foreign currencies can more easily be channeled out to tax havens than the local currency. The inability to adequately control forex can impact a country’s balance of payments and adversely affect the viability of import and export markets.

Despite the devastating revelations brought forth by the Panama Papers, few African countries have taken decisive action with regard to the investigation, prosecution and subsequent recovery of assets of individuals and corporations linked to the Panama Papers.

At the regional level, the African Union’s (AU) Advisory Board on Corruption issued a statement to the effect that each country should conduct its own investigations into the persons mentioned in the Panama Papers. Although the AU Advisory Board on Corruption has the mandate to advise and develop disciplinary and investigation procedures for corruption and related offences in the public service, with the exception of a call for investigations, no guidelines for the investigation and prosecution of public officials linked to the Panama Papers have been issued. The inconsistent and often lax responses to the Panama Papers across the continent indicates the need for the harmonization of standards.

The Mbeki Panel Report on illicit financial flows in Africa highlighted that IFFs, organised crime and money laundering are negatively affecting the African continent’s ability to develop. The billions of dollars syphoned out of Africa’s reserves could be used for education, healthcare and other basic provisions, yet civil society in the countries most affected by IFFs, money laundering and tax evasion are not vocal about these serious impediments to sustainable development. In order to curb this major stumbling block to development, African states must take responsibility for the regulation and monitoring of funds transferred to offshore and secretive jurisdictions.

Blog written by Olwethu Majola-Kinyunyu Maendeleo Group’s Senior Analyst based on her research and article published by the Anti-Money Laundering Journal of Africa (AML Journal of Africa).

Published in Africa
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