Oxfam calls on African leaders to make tax top of the agenda at July UN Financing for Development Conference

Published: 28th May 2015

In response to discussions on financing Africa’s development at the African Development Bank 2015 Annual Meetings this week in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Vanessa Inko-Dokubo, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Advisor said:

“The international tax system is broken and unfair. Africa and other developing countries are severely hampered in their ability to raise more tax revenue by a system that facilitates tax dodging by multinational companies, favours rich countries where multinational companies are resident, and encourages poor countries to give even more generous tax breaks and lower tax rates to attract foreign investment. The July FfD3 Conference is the perfect time to ensure all parties agree to tackle this problem.

“We have evidence that African countries are losing billion dollars in illicit financial flows every year (i) : things won’t change if African governments don’t push for it at the international level. African leaders must stand together and call for a global ministerial roundtable on international tax reform. The roundtable should have the mandate to create a roadmap for a fairer future tax system, including the creation of an intergovernmental body on international cooperation in tax matters under the UN. Only then will we have an inclusive political framework where all countries can participate in tax negotiations on an equal footing (one country, one vote).

“Without this fundamental rebalancing of the global tax system, Africa will be deprived of significant resources required to drive its structural transformation.”

Notes to editors

  1. In July, Africa will host the Third UN Financing for Development Conference (FFD3) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At this week’s Annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Abidjan, African leaders discussed the urgent need to scale up domestic resource mobilization. Oxfam urges African governments to grasp the historic opportunity at FFD3 to push for a major rebalancing of international tax system. 

    Download Oxfam’s position regarding the Financing for Development negotiations here:  Fair and just financing: The centrepiece of Africa’s transformation".

(i) The AU/UNECA High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) estimated that Africa loses up to USD50Bn a year to IFF. This is enough to halve poverty in Africa by 2030 according to estimates by UNECA, which state that USD48Bn per year is needed between 2015 and 2030 to halve poverty in Africa, assuming that inequality remains constant and savings, FDI and ODA stay at their 2014 levels (AU/UNECA Africa Elements Paper, § 3.2).

Contact information

In Abidjan:
Samira Daoud, sdaoud@oxfam.org.uk   or on +225 78 88 78 20 
Vanessa Inko-Dokubo, Vanessa.Inkodokubo@OxfamInternational.org or on +251 9300 79061 

In Dakar:
Aissatou Sall, asall@oxfam.org.uk or on +221 77 639 41 78  

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.