News / Africa

Tax Havens Cost Africa $38 Billion a Year

Report Claims Tax Havens Cost Africa $38 Billion a Yeari
X
May 11, 2013 3:05 AM
Campaigners are calling for the world's richest countries to end so-called tax havens, which allow companies to transfer profits among jurisdictions and reduce their tax bills. An investigation headed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has concluded that the practice costs Africa $38 billion a year in lost revenue. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
Campaigners are calling for the world's richest countries to bring an end to so-called tax havens, which allow companies to transfer profits between jurisdictions and reduce their bills.  An investigation headed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has concluded that the practice costs Africa $38 billion a year in lost revenue.  

Activists claim multinational corporations are costing developing countries billions of dollars in lost revenue by transferring their profits to tax havens. Melanie Ward is spokesperson for the 'Enough For Everyone If' campaign.

"I think a lot of people here in the U.K. and around the world are fed up with tax dodging," said Ward. "They are fed up with a system where the rich and powerful play by a different set of rules to everybody else."

Tax havens and low tax jurisdictions - like Ireland - provide a level of secrecy and enable companies or wealthy individuals to cut their expenses, says Professor Ronen Palan of City University London.

"These countries offer very low taxation, either to corporations or to individuals.  And specifically they target non-residents," said Palan.

The Africa Progress Report, written by a panel of 10 prominent figures including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, concludes that African countries lose $38 billion a year through tax havens. Professor Palan cites more statistics.

"Africa exported about $1 trillion of capital in the last 30 years whereas inward investment in terms of FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] or aid is about $300 billion.  So Africa is losing capital.  Africa, or sub-Saharan Africa, is actually funding development elsewhere," he said.

The charity ActionAid alleges that brewing giant SABMiller uses a complex system of tax havens to siphon profits out of developing countries like Ghana.
 
SABMiller denies that it exploits tax havens.  It says in 2010 it paid more than $249 million in corporate taxes in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

ActionAid also alleges that Associated British Foods uses a network of subsidiaries to reduce its tax liabilities in Zambia by millions of dollars.  Associated British Foods says ActionAid's analysis is "incomplete at best and factually wrong in places."
 
Some argue that tax havens actually facilitate investment in the global economy, says Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute for Economic Affairs in London.

"This idea that, sort of, Western companies that are tax efficient are exploiting these places rather than bringing inward investment to them, I think, is a rather neo-imperialist old style way of looking at the world.  We want more of that inward investment.  That creates jobs and creates growth in some of the poorest countries in the world," said Littlewood.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to put the issue of tax havens on the agenda when he hosts the G8 Summit next month.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark
May 12, 2013 10:11 AM
The issue of suspect diamond and gold sales from Africa, is what should be discussed at the G 8 Summit, but what purpose would it serve as the G8 cannot enforce control measures - how would those involved be extradited, to what Country, and then prosecuted? mmm not hapening.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid