Oil, Gas, and Mining Transparency: Momentum Rises to Lift Africa’s Resource Curse

kristy Reforming Global Finance

Check out these wonderful diagrams tracking illicit financial flows!, Editor Hazel Henderson

Oil, Gas, and Mining Transparency
Momentum Rises to Lift Africa’s Resource Curse
The New York Times (Op-Ed), September 14, 2012
By Kofi Annan

Across Africa, oil, gas and minerals are being discovered more often than ever before. Nowhere is the global commodities boom being felt more acutely. Over the next decade, billions of dollars will flow into countries previously starved of financial capital.

Used wisely, these natural resource revenues could lead to sustainable economic growth, new jobs and investments in health, education and infrastructure. But sadly, history teaches us that a more destructive path is likely — conflict, spiraling inequality, corruption and environmental disasters are far more common consequences of resource bonanzas. The cliché remains true: striking oil is as much a curse as a blessing.

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MEPs consider tightening rules on mining companies
The European Voice, September 13, 2012
By Toby Vogel

Transparency in the financial operations of European oil, gas, mining and logging companies will be the main focus of a vote in the European Parliament’s legal-affairs committee on Tuesday (18 September) on reporting requirements in extractive industries.

A proposal from the European Commission would oblige multinational firms to report annually and country by country on payments they make to foreign governments, especially in developing countries, where many of these resources are located. The aim of the measure, presented by Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for internal market and services, is to deter corruption and tax evasion.

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GFI in the News
Brutal Elephant Slaughter Funds African Conflicts
Der Spiegel, September 13, 2012
By Horand Knaup and Jan Puhl

The eight game wardens from the Kenya Wildlife Service spent hours lying in wait between bushes and tree trunks. An informant had given them a tip that poachers would show up at this particular spot sometime in the afternoon.

When the poachers did indeed appear, a wild gunfight broke out that lasted some 40 minutes and left one Somali poacher dead next to his military-grade, fully automatic assault rifle. The five others, some of them injured, were able to slip away into the bushes, and another normal day’s work for the game wardens of Tsavo East National Park drew to a close.

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Finance: Follow the money
Africa Report, September 13, 2012
By Patrick Smith

New money is flowing across Africa in three important ways as this special finance edition of [I]The Africa Report[/I] makes clear. The first is the growth of intra-African trade.

Accountants Ernst & Young calculated that there was a 27% increase in intra-African projects last year. They went on to find that 17% of all new projects on the continent involved one African country making investments in another.

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Banking Secrecy
Credit Suisse Clients Could Withdraw Up To $37 Billion Over Tax Evasion Crackdown
Reuters, September 12, 2012

Credit Suisse could see clients in western Europe withdraw up to a net $37 billion in the next few years as Switzerland bows to pressure to stop foreigners using secret offshore accounts to evade taxes.

Swiss bank secrecy – which has helped the country build a $2 trillion offshore financial centre – has come under heavy pressure in recent years as cash-strapped governments have sought to fight tax evasion.

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Liechtenstein Eyes Tax Data Exchange With Germany
Tax-News.com, September 11, 2012
By Ulrika Lomas

Determined to shake aside its image as a tax haven, Liechtenstein is currently considering the idea of concluding a withholding tax agreement with Germany, providing for an automatic exchange of tax information.

The tax deal sought by the Liechtenstein government would be based on the withholding tax agreement concluded recently between Germany and Switzerland and would serve to resolve the longstanding dispute between the two countries over undeclared and untaxed ‘black money’ held by German residents in Liechtenstein banks.

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Kosovo arrests high-profile officials for corruption
Southeast European Times, September 14, 2012
By Linda Karadaku

In an ongoing effort to curb corruption and boost the implementation of rule of law in the country, Kosovo prosecutors and EULEX have made a series of high-profile arrests for extortion and other corruption-related offences.

On Thursday (September 13th), Kosovo daily Koha Ditore reported that Prizren prosecutors filed charges against former Suhareka Mayor Salih Asllanaj, related to a construction agreement between the municipality and Kosovo company Ben-Af, dating back to when Asllanaj was mayor.

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‘State banks corruption sources’
The Philippine Star, September 15, 2012
By Ted Torres

State-controlled banks are a breeding ground for corruption of elected and appointed government officials, financial regulatory authorities, and the courts, according to a World Bank report.

In the just-released report entitled “Global Financial Development Report 2013,” the World Bank warned governments about mishandling state-run financial institutions such as banks and pension funds.

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Former world leaders urge integrity in elections, campaign finance restrictions
Trust Law, September 14, 2012
By Luke Balleny

International action to protect and promote the integrity of national elections is urgently required, a panel of former world leaders, academics and Nobel Prize winners said in a report published on Friday.

The report by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, chaired by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, found that although national elections have taken place in all but 11 countries in the world since 2000, many of them lacked integrity.

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What’s He Up To? Signs of an Anti-Corruption Push
The Wall Street Journal (blog), September 14, 2012
By Russell Leigh Moses

The recent reappearance of one major political figure in China provides a clue that the upcoming 18th Communist Party Congress will be as much about how policy initiatives get handled as it will be about who gets named to the top spots in the scheduled leadership transition.

He Guoqiang, a member of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee and head of the party’s leading anti-corruption body, returned to the public eye after an absence of nearly two weeks, inspecting anti-corruption work in the education and propaganda operations of a Chinese publishing house.

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) promotes national and multilateral policies, safeguards, and agreements aimed at curtailing the cross-border flow of illegal money. In putting forward solutions, facilitating strategic partnerships, and conducting groundbreaking research, GFI is leading the way in efforts to curtail illicit financial flows and enhance global development and security.

For additional information please visit http://www.gfintegrity.org.