African webinar: "Where is the Money?”

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On the 31st of May, The African Women's Development and Communication Network FEMNET hosted an hour-long webinar titled “Where is the Money?” with the intention to “unravel the lighter and deeper conversation points around Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and their gendered impact”.

This webinar also “sought to propel women’s rights activists out of the fringes of this topic and empower them with the knowledge needed to spark and amplify their advocacy efforts to #StopTheBleeding in a way that would ultimately serve women and girls better”.

The seminar brought together a regional audience who engaged with the two speakers: Caroline Othim, Global Alliance for Tax Justice campaigns and policy coordinator for Africa and co-coordinator of our working group on Tax & Gender was one of them, with Liz Nelson, Tax Justice Network’s Director of tax justice and human rights. Together they  gave a succinct overview of the categorization, forms, sources, gendered effects and efforts made to curb IFFs in Africa.

Liz Nelson extensively spoke to the feminization of poverty, noting that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the poverty that comes about as a result of IFFs and suffer the extra burden of taking on a bulk of consumption taxes created to cushion governments against IFFs as well as having to endure the experience of deteriorated public services. Noting that Tax Justice issues are fundamental to respecting the rights of women, her presentation went on to briefly speak to The Bogota Declaration on Tax Justice for Women's Rights and its importance in pushing for tax justice and bringing light to the impact of IFFS on women and girls.

Caroline Othim then went on to give an equally powerful presentation that sought to capture the scale of the impact of IFFs and the growth of these illicit funds leaving the continent over the years (100 billion USD annually). Clearly stating that regressive consumption tax and privatization are NOT the answer to failing public systems, her presentation strongly advocated for coalition building in the move towards tax justice and the needs for gender and inequality assessments of all tax provisions and policy objectives. Caroline ended with a clarion call to all stakeholders to lend their voice in the fight to bring back Africa’s money.

FEMNET continues to lead on macroeconomic policy in the Women’s Rights Organisations space, “recognizing that IFFs exacerbate inequalities and only male dominated corporations seem to benefit. Women’s rights’ activists and tax-paying citizens can no longer remain on the periphery of conversations on this emerging issue and we plan on creating even more traction and amplifying the voices that call for tax justice”, FEMNET says.

Hosted by Open Society Foundation for the recording, the webinar should soon be available online: Stay tuned!

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