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Africa urged to tighten loopholes for effective revenue collection

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- African governments were on Monday urged to tighten loopholes in their revenue collection to help fund development programs.

Alvin Mosioma, Africa Executive Director of Tax Justice Network, a coalition of researchers on tax systems, said once loopholes that currently exist in collection are addressed, the continent’s domestic revenue are likely to improve that could help in improving lives of the populations.

"Africa can no longer let others drive its development agenda.

"We need to take ownership and use the revenues well for the good of the population," Mosioma said during an International Tax Justice Conference in Machakos, east of Nairobi.

He noted that Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) is bleeding the continent dry as most multinationals involved in oil, mining and gas industry rarely pay taxes commensurate to what they reap from the continent.

He said the discussions on IFFs have been most urgent, yet the developing world has lost it again after a meeting in Ethiopia last month failed to conclusively deliberate on the matter.

"Tax evasions by the big multinational companies severely limit the capacity of the developing countries to raise their domestic resources to implement development programs," he added.

According to a African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa joint report conducted in 2014, Africa loses massive financial resources amounting to 50 billion U.S. dollars annually through illicit activities of multinationals and rich individuals.

Over the last 50 years, Africa is estimated to have lost in excess of 1 trillion dollars through IFFs alone, a sum that is equivalent to all the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) to all African countries received during the same period.

The report says that the effects of the loss mean loss of jobs, income, education and equipped health facilities, areas that are effective in transforming the economy of the countries.

Dereje Alemayehu, a Senior Academy Advisor at the Tax Justice Network-Africa, called on African leaders to curtail IFFs and transform the funds recovered into a powerful tool for enhancing domestic resource mobilization to spur the continents development.

He said that tax is the most reliable and sustainable source of financing development in the poor African countries, adding that without dependence on tax, countries are forced to rely on donations from the developed countries.

Tax Justice Network-Africa has launched an annual training program to help bridge an existing knowledge gap on tax justice in Africa and empower partners across Africa.


Rwanda president emphasises conducive business environment for investors

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda president Paul Kagame has called on his leadership to do whatever it takes to provide favorable business environment for both local and foreign investors.

The head of state was speaking while inaugurated Kigali City Hall and a nearby commercial complex, M Peace Plaza in busy shopping hub in downtown Capital, Kigali.

Both buildings are expected to host a number of businesses.

Addressing a wide range of members of Rwanda business community, the president emphasized on conducive business atmosphere saying that it attracts investments.

"Achieving transformation is to change your mindset and believe that transformation is possible.

"The progress Rwanda has registered within a short period of time is not the result of an overnight miracle but consistent hard work," he noted.

Kagame said that even with the development achieved so far, there was still more to be done and challenged the businesses to exploit the opportunities available to them.

"The government is committed to improving the lives of its people through providing a conducive environment for investments to grow, creating employment opportunities and generating income for the people," he noted.

The president also called on the government to partner with the private sector saying that both parties must demand more from themselves and implored them to attract more investors to Rwanda.

Rwanda has gone ahead to enhance investments by introducing a new investment law that clarifies potential investment opportunities in the country as well as the key areas the government is marketing to investors.

The investment law, launched in Kigali in June to replace one enacted in 2005 that was limited in scope, seeks to bring 1.12 billion U.S dollars worth of foreign direct investments (FDIs) by the end of the year.

Figures from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) put the country’s actual FDIs at 257 million U.S dollars in 2013 and 521 million U.S dollars in 2014.

The post genocide country has demonstrated consistent strong performance in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings in recent years with good progress made across all the key indicators.

The 2015 World Bank Doing Business Report, ranked Rwanda 46th out of 189 countries globally that are promoting conducive environment for business.

An Ernst & Young’s report titled, "Africa 2014: executing growth" South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, respectively, topped the list of 15 countries on the continent that have enjoyed a dominant share of FDI between 2007 and 2013.

Rwanda made it to that list in 15th place behind its East African counterparts Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which were ranked 6th, 10th and 11th, respectively.


Negative perception affecting external investment to Africa: Afreximbank

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Negative perceptions about the economic environment in Africa was a key factor in militating against the flow of external investment into Africa, says the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in a statement emailed to Xinhua on Monday.

Denys Denya, the bank’s executive vice-president in charge of finance, administration and banking services, said African governments as well as other stakeholders needed to fight to correct the negative perceptions in order to attract capital into the continent.

According to him, such negative perceptions often did not reflect the true situation in countries concerned, adding that the perceptions should be challenged with positive information about the continent.

The official was speaking at a panel discussion on how to attract foreign investment into Africa in Dubai organized by the Winter School Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe, according to the statement.

According to him, there were perceptions of policy inconsistency, corruption and lack of judicial independence in countries across the continent,

Afreximbank is the foremost Pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade.

The Cairo-headquartered bank has provided credit facilities totaling 35 billion U.S. dollars to African business since its inception in 1993.



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