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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.