The 6th Meeting of the Global Forum’s Africa Initiative held in Kigali, Rwanda on 28 February and 1 March 2019, marked the launch of the first progress report on tax transparency in Africa (Tax transparency in Africa; 2018 Africa Initiative Progress Report). The meeting focused on the issue of illicit financial flows (IFFs) from countries across Africa, and the role the fight against tax evasion plays in combatting these flows and in enhancing domestic revenue mobilization.
The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the “Global Forum”) with the support of the World Bank Group. It was attended by 68 delegates from 22 countries and 11 development partners.
The Africa Initiative, launched in 2014 by the OECD-hosted Global Forum aims to ensure that African countries can realise the full potential of progress made by the global community in implementing tax transparency and in international tax cooperation. The 2018 Africa Initiative Progress Report shows the tremendous progress achieved by the 29 African members of the Global Forum in implementing international tax transparency standards and the work ahead. Most African members have implemented the minimum requirements needed to use EOI and many of them have started to request information from their EOI partners and to convert this information into revenue gains but have yet to realise the full potential of exchange of information.
Delegates also discussed challenges in implementing the beneficial ownership requirements of the international standards. They welcomed the development of a new toolkit on beneficial ownership information which was presented during the meeting and is intended to inform policy and speed up implementation discussions in developing countries. Recognising the importance of automatic exchange of information (AEOI) for developing countries, they also welcomed the emergence of some new pathways on how to make AEOI more accessible for them. They committed to exploring these ideas quickly in the context of the Global Forum’s Plan of Action for Developing Countries Participation in AEOI. The delegates called upon all regional bodies in Africa to come together to take the tax transparency agenda forward.