News / Economy

Report: Corruption Cheats Developing Countries of Needed Money

Report: Corruption Cheats Developing Countries of Needed Moneyi
X
December 16, 2013 9:18 PM
Global Financial Integrity says China tops list from 2002 to 2011, with slightly more than $1 trillion in illegal outflows; Russia is second, with $880 billion
The developing world needs huge sums of money to address its many problems with health, housing, education, and more. A new report says corrupt practices by multinational companies, their government enablers, and others, however, are depriving people of a better life.

A financial watchdog group, Washington-based Global Financial Integrity [GFI], reports astounding sums of money are extracted every year from African, Asian, and Latin American nations. GFI’s new report says that in 2011, some $947 billion was taken out of these countries through what it calls illicit capital outflows.

GFI Director Raymond Baker said the 10-year total is even more staggering. “Over the decade from 2002 to 2011, we’re talking about $5.9 trillion that have moved out of the developing countries. Nothing is as harmful as this loss of capital to the poorer countries of the world.”

GFI’s report says China tops the list for that decade, with slightly more than $1 trillion in illegal outflows. Russia was second, with $880 billion. Mexico came in third with nearly $462 billion extracted. The highest ranked African nation was Nigeria, at 10th on the list, with more than $142 billion.

Different corrupt practices contribute to these illicit capital outflows, according to Alex Cobham of the Center for Global Development in London.  

“Partly, it’s about the proceeds of crime.  It’s the laundering, particularly, of drugs, of drug proceeds, and the proceeds of human trafficking," said Cobham. "But it’s also corruption itself, the theft of state assets - but that tends to be a small component. The largest component, from almost all of the estimates that we have, for almost all of the countries, is commercial tax evasion.”

Both Baker and Cobham say that tax evasion is largely accomplished through something called mispricing of trade - undervaluing minerals, goods, and other exports to tax authorities. Mispricing of trade also provides an avenue of corruption through false invoices providing kickbacks.

Sub-Saharan Africa is especially hit hard by illicit capital extraction. GFI’s report says in 2011, that region lost 5.7 percent of its gross domestic product, largely through tax avoidance done by mispricing natural resources and manufactured goods.

Global Financial Integrity’s director says developed nations must take the lead to reduce the massive extraction of capital that keeps some states and their people impoverished.

“The short answer to curtailing the problem of illicit financial flows is transparency - greater transparency in the global financial system. This means getting rid of disguised corporations, this means exchanging tax information across borders, this means companies automatically reporting their sales and profits and taxes paid in every jurisdiction where they’re in business,” said Baker.

Baker and others say that if developing nations could get their fair share from what is produced and extracted, they would have much more money to spend on public health, schools, housing, and other essential needs.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8954
JPY
USD
119.75
GBP
USD
0.6515
CAD
USD
1.2518
INR
USD
61.921

Rates may not be current.