According to the panel Finding Africa’s missing money, billions of dollars are being smuggled out of the continent every year.
“Corruption, smuggling, corporate tax abuse and outright stealing is normal in Africa,” says Musikilu Mojeed, managing editor at the Premium Times.
Multinational companies negotiate deals that leave the continent with virtually nothing. The tax havens and shell companies, Mojeed explains, hide how the companies move the money out of Africa.
But as participants from the Wealth of Nations program, which works with leading journalists in Africa who report on illicit finance and tax abuse, explained, investigative journalists tasked with tracking Africa’s missing money run into a number of problems.
- Lack of public information
- Poor-record keeping
- Constant requests for bribes
The panel agreed, though, that the biggest issues facing investigative journalists in Africa are:
- Lack of money
- Lack of specialized training
Governments do not follow transparency laws, and journalists need specialized training to find and analyze well hidden documents to retrace the money trail.
Africa has it all: gold, diamonds, minerals, cocoa, and coffee… but who is benefiting? As more and more journalists in Africa work to expose this illicit financial activity, their newsrooms need the strength and capacity to support these investigations more easily.
The authors are journalism students at the University College of Volda who are on special assignment covering #gijc15.