By Exposed Uganda
A new United Nations (UN) report reveals that nearly half of the total annual figure of $88.6Bn is accounted for by the illegal export of commodities such as gold, diamonds and platinum.
Nearly half of the total annual illicit financial flows from Africa is accounted for by the export of commodities such as gold, diamonds and platinum, the UNCTAD report found.
The estimate, published on Monday in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) 248-page report, is the UN’s most comprehensive to date for Africa. It shows an increasing trend over time and is higher than most previous estimates.
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Nearly half of the total annual figure of $88.6bn is accounted for by the export of commodities such as gold, diamonds and platinum, a trend that skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown.
For example, gold accounted for 77 percent of total under-invoiced exports worth $40bn between 2015 and 2020, according to the report.
“Understating a commodity’s true value helps conceal trade profits abroad and deprives developing countries of foreign exchange and erodes their tax base,” the UNCTAD report noted.
The report calls Africa a “net creditor to the world”, echoing economists’ observations that the aid-reliant continent is actually a net exporter of capital because of these trends.
“Illicit financial flows rob Africa and its people of their prospects, undermining transparency and accountability and eroding trust in African institutions,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.
Junior Davis, head of policy and research at UNCTAD’s Africa division, said the figure was likely an underestimate, citing data limitations.
Tackling illicit flows is a priority for the UN, whose General Assembly adopted a resolution on this in 2018, and the report urges African countries to draw on the report to present “renewed arguments” in international forums.