Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland has called for “swift and decisive action” to curb the illicit flow of money out of member countries. She says this will also help build confidence that institutions and systems in the Commonwealth are corruption-free.
Speaking in Seychelles during the 13th Annual Commonwealth Regional Anti-Corruption Conference, Scotland said the current global pressure on resources means curbing the trillion-dollar cost of corruption is “more important than ever,”
She notes that the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment that was ripe for embezzlement, false claims, kickbacks, and other forms of corruption, leading to loss of aid money to crime, which undermines social and economic development.
The UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2020, estimated that Africa loses more than US$50 billion a year to illicit flows, although this could be as high as $89 billion a year, or 3.7% of its GDP.
Over the past 50 years, Africa has lost more than US$1 trillion equivalent to all the official development assistance received during the same period.
According to the UN, each year corruption and illicit financial flows cost the global economy US$3.6 trillion. A trillion US$ is paid in bribes while an estimated US$2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than five percent of the global GDP.
In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.