EU ready to work with African countries

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The European Union says it’s ready to cooperate with African countries in stemming the illicit financial flows from the continent. This emerged during the debate at the fourth session of the Pan African Parliament currently underway in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

In 2015 African leaders decided to launch an investigation into illicit financial flows because of the impact it has on the funding of socio-economic development programmes.

Africa needs massive capital injection to address challenges such as poverty eradication and job creation.

According to the International Monetary Fund, it’s estimated that Africa loses 50-Billion US Dollars annually in illicit financial flows.

The illicit capital flows involves practices such as tax evasion, money laundering, drug trafficking, and government corruption.

Some of the money is hidden in tax free save havens across the world.

Lack of effective monitoring has been identified as one of the major factors that make African countries to be vulnerable illicit flows of capital.

Coordinator of the European Union’s Security and Policy portfolio Michael Gahler has welcomed continental efforts to combat illicit financial flows.

“If we assess the figures the amount of money that flows out of Africa is more than what we give in development aid. If there are means to prevent such flows it will up to us to repatriate it.”

Meanwhile, the debate on whether the readmission of Morocco to the African Union will offer hopes to efforts to grant independence to the disputed territory of Western Sahara continues to rage on.

A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975 and the annexation led to a decade’s long liberation struggle by the Polisario Front.

A United Nations brokered truce brought the armed insurgency to a halt in 1991. Morroco’s readmission to the African Union bolstered diplomatic efforts for the re-opening of peace building dialogue between the Polisario Front and Moroccan government.

Suilam Beiruk is the Sahrawi Liberation Front’s representative at the Pan African Parliament.

“Morocco is not the member of the African Union and has expressed goodwill to find a solution that will respect the rights of the people of Western Sahara for self-determination. The people of Western Sahara are struggling for legitimate rights to self-determination and independence of Sahrwari people.”

African parliamentarians have also welcomed the staging of the International Conference on Somalia held in London.

The conference attended by several African leaders like Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni, will focus on terrorism on the Horn Africa, humanitarian crisis sparked by famine, and piracy on the east coast.

The European Union has urged Africa to seriously consider a single passport for free movement of citizens across the continent. The EU parliamentarians held talks with their fellow Pan African counterparts.

The EU has proposed the opening of cross borders, as one way of addressing some of the challenges facing Africa.

– By Tshepo Ikaneng