Kofi Annan on African Tax Justice

Tuesday, 18 March, 2014

As this article on Think Africa Press says, “Africa has incredible resource wealth, but if it is to reap the benefits, there must be a change of attitude amongst governments, corporations and the international community.” We tend to agree.

Based on a speech given by Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and chair of the Africa Progress Panel, at Geneva's Graduate Institute on 26 September, its starting point is firmly in the ‘Africa Rising’ camp, and there’s an argument to be made that the piece is a little rosy (“dynamic civil societies are keeping governments [across Africa] on their toes,” for instance, tells only part of the story). But we’re fully behind the thesis, as reported by the Africa Progress Panel, that “African governments must strengthen health and education systems through more efficient and equitable public spending, with a greater focus on gender disparities. African governments must also remove two major obstacles to development – the lack of infrastructure and energy… To this end, the wise management of Africa’s incredible natural wealth is a high priority.”

Not an editorial policy of world-shaking originality, we concede - but the piece is worth a read nonetheless for an African overview of an oft-discussed development theme that also namechecks and summarises the Equity in Extractives report released earlier this year. The analysis and recommendations cover:

- National strategies for the development of natural resources
- Increasing transparency
- Managing relationships with multinational companies
- Changing global laws
- The role of African civil society groups
- The role of the international community 
- Governance
- Western legislation on money laundering and transparent company ownership
- Combatting tax evasion

Useful links are also provided for further reading around the subject.



IMAGE via Tax Justice Network