Economic Development in Africa Report 2020: tackling illicit financial flows for sustainable development in Africa

Worldwide, a loss of trust in multilateralism is weakening the capacity of globalization to deliver a more sustainable and fairer world. Growing awareness of the scale, scope and cost of illicit financial flows is stoking growing scepticism about the power of collective action versus unilateral measures. It is against this backdrop that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 tackles the relationship between illicit financial flows and sustainable development in Africa. Illicit financial flows – cross border exchanges of value, monetary or otherwise, which are illegally earned, transferred or used – cost African countries around $50 billion per year, dwarfing the amount of official development assistance the continent receives annually. Illicit financial flows are a shared problem and a shared responsibility for developed and developing countries; their economic impacts are a major development issue across the globe, even more so for African economies whose sustainable development prospects critically pivot on massive investments.