Tax Justice Network to Launch Study on Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Africa

The Tax Justice Network Africa and Tax Justice Network will launch a brand new study on the state of play of beneficial ownership transparency in Africa in 2020, on July 1, 2020.

The researchers and panelists will be discussing the importance of beneficial ownership disclosure, analyse action being taken across the continent, and recommend further steps to uncover the real, beneficial owners behind companies, partnerships, foundations and trusts.

Financing Africa’s development is deeply undermined by financial secrecy. Illicit financial flows from the continent dwarf overseas development assistance and erode the sovereignty of nations in raising revenues domestically for public expenditure and investment. 

Illicit financial flows, made possible through the international financial secrecy networks, are a heavy burden on the backs of African countries and its citizens. 

In 2015, in 30 African countries, capital flight averaged about two-thirds of gross domestic product and vastly exceeded external debt. While illicit assets abroad are private, debt is a collective liability of current and future generations of Africans.

The problem of financial secrecy was put squarely on the continent’s policy agenda with the establishment of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows, chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and the panel’s report analysing the scale, nature and solutions.

Unveiling the beneficial owners who control companies and other legal entities is one of the recommendations made by the High Level Panel for African countries and the continent’s partners “to determine where illicit funds are moving and who is moving them”. 

To be able to stem illicit financial flows and protect domestic revenue mobilisation, African countries can take collective and domestic action to address financial secrecy through beneficial ownership disclosure.

The report explores the state of play in legal and beneficial ownership registration in 17 African.

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