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By Steve Umidha
From baby steps to giant strides; what started off as a trivial initiative to bring about meaningful change in enlightening masses on dangers of illicit financial flows, has grown organically into an increasingly inclusive development project as a two-week advocacy program finally came to a close last Friday.
The Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) hosted a virtual training for tax justice advocates in the continent, themed, Tax Justice Advocacy: Increasing Participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Journalists through Capacity Building which brought together various disciplines and experts to deliberate on tax matters and to end aid dependency in Africa.
The ten days virtual training which attracted participants from 40 countries, sought to impart knowledge and discussed various strategies on how the continent can reap from its resources to finance its own development.
This year’s edition brought together individuals from the civil society, media, trade unions, policy makers and academia, with topics to focus on taxing the digitalized economy, tax justice advocacy strategy, IFFs, and Africa’s investment regimes, financial secrecy, investigative journalism, amongst others.
Development and implementation of a tax justice strategy was found to be a key ingredient in the successful fight against financial crimes and how best to investigate and report on such vices among journalists to boost their confidence in exposing illicit activities.
“The success of the 7th ITJA proves that with technology, regular capacity building activities can be held. Since learning is a lifelong exercise, we shall continue holding more virtual trainings” said Alvin Mosioma, TJNA’s Executive Director during the virtual closing ceremony.
Mosioma further said that it is envisaged that while already existing alliances of tax justice campaigners will be strengthened, others that are more strategic will be born.
“With enhanced capacity, more evidence-based advocacy will be employed resulting in exposing scrupulous activities in the continent,” he said.
It is estimated that financial flows in Africa are estimated at between $50 billion and $80 billion annually; 44 per cent of Africa’s financial wealth is thought be held offshore, which corresponds to tax revenue losses of €17 billion. The ultimate objective is not only to reduce but ultimately eliminate illicit outflows.