New research published today by 10 UK and African NGOs reveals Africa is losing $192 billion every year to the rest of the world – almost 6 and a half times the amount of ‘aid’ given back to the continent. This research is the first attempt to calculate Africa’s losses across a wide range of areas. These include: illicit financial flows; profits taken out of the continent by multinational companies; debt payments; brain drain of skilled workers; illegal logging and fishing and the costs incurred as a result of climate change.
These figures highlight the huge disparity between aid and the resources leaving Africa. For every £100 given in aid, £640 is lost as a result of these practices. Africa’s net loss when compared against all inflows to the continent is $58 billion. The organisations are calling on the UK government to reassess its focus on ‘aid’ which paints a misleading picture of the UK’s ‘generosity’ towards Africa, and take urgent action to address Britain’s responsibility for Africa’s poverty – including the losses which occur through the network of tax havens under UK jurisdiction.
Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign said:
“Tackling inequality between Africa and the rest of the world means tackling the root causes of its debt dependency, its loss of government revenue by tax dodging, and the other ways the continent is being plundered. Here in the UK we can start with our role as a major global financial centre and network of tax havens complicit in siphoning money out of Africa.”
Martin Drewry, Director of Health Poverty Action said:
“These figures expose the gross misconceptions about aid and ‘charity.’ Common understanding is the UK ‘helps’ Africa through aid, but in reality this serves as a smokescreen for the billions taken out. Let’s use more accurate language. It’s sustained looting – the opposite of generous giving – and we should recognise that the City of London is at the heart of the global financial system that facilitates this. As the general election approaches all party leaders must step up, and outline how they intend to take real responsibility and stop this plundering of Africa. And NGOs need to change too. We need to move beyond our focus on aid levels and communicate the bigger truth – exposing the real relationship between rich and poor and holding leaders to account.”
The organisations releasing the report are Health Poverty Action; Jubilee Debt Campaign; JA/Friends of the Earth Mozambique; African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD); World Development Movement; War on Want; People’s Health Movement Kenya, Mozambique and UK; CWGH Zimbabwe; Healthworkers 4all coalition.