Africa's Pathway towards Structural Transformation

by Alvin Mosioma

VIDC online magazine Spotlight

This article was published in the VIDC online magazine Spotlight December 2021. If you want to receive the quarterly Spotlight, invitations and documentations please subscribe here.

Further reading

UNCTAD (2020) Tackling Illicit Financial flows for Sustainable Development in Africa.

Tax Justice Network Africa, Christian Aid (2014) Africa Rising? Inequalities and the Essential of Fair Taxation.

Tax Justice Network Africa (2020) Dangers of Double Tax Agreements in Financing Africa’s Development.

Global Alliance for Tax Justice, “The G7 Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate: A good Deal for the African Continent?”, 24/9/2021.

Knight Frank Research (2021) The Wealth Report.

Financial Transparency Coalition, “FTC Reveals new Covid-19 Bailout Tracker”, 06/05/2021.


Alvin Mosioma is the Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Africa, a Pan-African Advocacy and Research Network of 40 members in 21 African countries. He is a leading voice on tax policy in Africa and has spearheaded numerous civil society campaigns in Africa. Mosioma serves also in different functions on high-level boards working on tax justice and curbing of Illicit Financial Flows.

© Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

© Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Cracks on the Wall

The world of the tax havens is not as secretive as those who operate and benefit from it would prefer. Tax havens’ industry primarily exists to promote two main objectives: secrecy and low or zero taxation. These two services are specially attractive to those who want to minimize tax or who wants their financial activities kept secret. While the demand for the services offered by tax havens has grown exponentially over time, the defense wall built around the global financial secrecy industry has been started to show some cracks. Successive exposure by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists going back to the Offshore Leaks in 2013, Panama Papers in 2016, Paradise Papers (2017), and most recently, the Pandora Papers (2021) have contributed to bringing to public attention an agenda hitherto considered too complex for public discourse. The Pandora Papers were released on the backdrop of the UNCTAD report that showed that African countries were losing up to 88.6 billion or 3.7% of the continent's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). The estimated loss represents almost double the previous estimates by the High-Level Panel on IFF from Africa that had put the figure at 50 billion in 2015.

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