Africa: "Gender Equality Financing is lost through IFFs"
The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) aims to strengthen the role and contribution of African NGO’s focusing on women’s development equality and other human rights through communication, networking, training and advocacy.
FEMNET just published a Policy brief with the support of Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), titled Fight Corruption, Finance Gender Equality, which was launched at the African Union Summit in Mauritania within the 32nd session of the Gender is My Agenda Conference (GIMAC) that is held on the margins of the AU Summit.
“The African Union, FEMNET introduces, has declared 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year, with the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perceptions Index has continued to illustrate that no region in the world is immune to corruption and that the degrees of difference are informed by the state’s willingness to deal decisively with corruption. The damning Panama Papers were an important illustration of the ways in which politicians, criminals and tax abusers around the world set up shell companies in Panama as a tax heaven to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax. The global financial system that encourages, facilitates and profits from capital flight and corruption shows that there are supply and demand factors that result in a vicious cycle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society and unequal distribution of wealth”.
This Policy Brief by FEMNET addresses “how revenue lost through corruption can be channelled towards financing existing African Union commitments on gender equality and women’s rights. This is done by sampling a few key areas where chronic government under-investment contributes to greater gender-based inequalities thus increasing the disproportionate burden on already disenfranchised groups”.
In Nouakchott, Memory Kachambwa, FEMNET’s Executive Director emphasized that the situation is much more devastating when it comes to the impact of corruption on Africa’s women and girls and what they miss out on because of persistent graft.
“The reality our African leaders must confront is the fact that because of corruption, Africa’s women and girls are seriously the collateral damage – they lose on all the important pointers of development because all the resources are lost on illegitimate dealings” stated Ms. Kachambwa. “What should be budgeted for to improve the Continent and its people particularly women and the youth who are the majority, is continuously being lost through corruption and Illicit Financial Flows”.
According to FEMNET’s Policy Brief, “if 5% of the 50 billion dollars lost to IFF flows was invested in gender equality programs, this is what it would do”:
- Increase 15 percent of a country’s GDP contribution to the health sector will contribute to rectifying the imbalance created by the fact that the majority of reproductive and sexual rights funding is drawn from bilateral sources.
- 5 billion dollars from the 50 billion dollars lost annually to illicit financial flows can be deployed to meeting the AU’s commitment to harnessing the demographic dividend by redirecting resources towards increasing access to contraception by young women and women generally as well as addressing access to safer and comprehensive health services to curb deaths caused by unsafe abortions as well as reduce maternal mortality.
- 5 billion dollars can be invested in justice, policing and health sectors to build a zero-tolerance approach towards violence against women. Investing in preventive measures rather than in meeting health costs incurred due to treating survivors of violence seeking health services offers a long-lasting solution to a major scourge.
- 5 billion dollars can be used to construct and/or equip health centres across forty- seven counties in Kenya, where access to health services for women remains wanting. Alternatively, a total 42,477 mobile clinics can be purchased for this amount of money.