The 5th meeting of the Africa Initiative was held in Accra, Ghana and marks another step in the fight against tax evasion in Africa and reinforces the Yaoundé Ministerial Declaration, signed by 21 African countries, which calls upon the African Union to lead in the tax transparency agenda in Africa.
The Africa Initiative was launched by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information in 2014 along with its African members and the African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF), the Cercle de Réflexion et d'Échange des Dirigeants des Administrations fiscales (CREDAF), the OECD, the World Bank Group, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development. It aims to ensure that African countries take advantage of improvements in international tax transparency to enhance domestic resource mobilisation and fight against illicit financial flows from the continent. A meeting will be held every six months to measure progress.
Delegates stressed that the High Level Panel’s recommendations to tackle illicit financial flows from Africa and improve domestic resource mobilisation include increasing tax transparency and exchange of information (EOI). In this context, they recognised that the implementation of the international standards would address a number of the High Level Panel’s recommendations. They commended the African Union for advancing the transparency agenda in Africa and highlighting the importance of beneficial ownership register, automatic exchange of information (AEOI) and the abolishment of bank secrecy at their 31st African Union Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Delegates commended the broadening of the Africa Initiative and welcomed the first participation of the AU Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the WATAF and one non-Global Forum member (Mali). They welcomed the work on beneficial ownership, and requested that similar regional projects in Africa be explored to support the African tax transparency and domestic resource mobilisation agenda. They called for the strengthening of the collaboration between the Africa Initiative framework and other key organisations in Africa to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation through improved transparency and exchange of information. The Global Forum Secretariat was mandated to explore with the UNECA and the AU Commission putting in place a process to jointly ensure that progress made by African countries in implementing the common objectives of fighting tax evasion and illicit financial flows through the implementation of the international tax transparency standards is monitored and measured.
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