President Paul Kagame yesterday urged government leaders in the G20 group of countries to include Africa in mechanisms to fight illicit financial flows, explaining that the fraud costs the continent billions of dollars every year.
Examples of illicit financial flows include illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another while the income is from illegal activities such as tax evasion, drug sales, dirty money transfers, and money transfers to finance terrorism activities among other forms.
While speaking at a session about “building consensus” at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Kagame said that the African Union attaches great importance to stronger international financial and tax systems.
Addressing the session in his capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union, the president urged government leaders in the G20 group of countries to involve Africa in the fight against illicit financial flows.
“Including Africa in mechanisms to automatically share tax information is a vital tool in the fight against illicit financial flows, which cost Africa around $50 billion a year,” he said.
He also urged fellow leaders to promote sustainable development by fighting climate change and empower women to equally contribute in global prosperity.
On climate change, Kagame urged G20 members to ratify and fully implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which phases down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as fewer than half of the G20 members have done so.
“This measure will enter into force on 1 January 2019, and it enjoys strong support from the business community. Implementing the Kigali Amendment would prevent 0.5°C of temperature increase by 2100, a major contribution toward the Paris Agreement goal,” he said.
HFCs are super greenhouse gases that are manufactured for use in refrigeration, air conditioning, foam blowing, aerosols, fire protection and solvents among other things.
While HFCs were developed as alternatives to ozone depleting substances that are being phased-out under the Montreal Protocol, they unfortunately have a global warming potential and need to be phased down as well.
Along with fighting illicit financial flows and climate change, Kagame told G20 leaders that empowering women and involving them in development processes remain a condition for sustainable development.
“Addressing the structural barriers that keep women from participating fully in the economy would guarantee a more prosperous and productive future for all of us. It starts with a mindset change that no longer accepts the marginalisation of women as something normal or inevitable,” he said.
G20 is a multinational forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries of the world’s largest economies and the European Union Commission.
Speaking at a working lunch session on Friday dubbed “Putting People First” that discussed technology, youth jobs and women’s empowerment, Kagame said that Africa must have greater participation in global value chains to ensure citizens receive their rightful share of the benefits.
He also said that the continent is keen on working closely with G20 to reinforce the pillars of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, alongside the Sustainable Development Goals.