Renforcer et harmoniser les normes pour lutter contre les flux financiers illicites, la fraude et la corruption en Afrique

Dans cet article, Zineb Marfoq, Senior Manager, analyse la situation relative aux pertes engendrer par les flux illicites en Afrique et souligne les recommandations clés pour lutter efficacement contre ces flux, la fraude et la corruption sur le Continent.

88.6 billion US dollars. That is at least what Africa loses annually in illicit financial flows (IFFs) according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its 2020 « Economic Development in Africa Report ». Zineb Marfoq, Senior Manager at Mazars, analyses the current situation and underlines key recommendations to fight effectively against illicit financial flows, fraud and corruption in Africa.


Illicit financial flows with fraud and corruption represent a major bottleneck to development in Africa. As a matter of fact, the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel) report released in February 2021 pointed out that illicit financial flows (from trade misinvoicing, tax abuse, cross-border corruption, and transnational financial crime) drain resources from sustainable development, worsen inequalities, fuel instability, undermine governance, and damage public trust.

« The struggle is real and is partly due to a non-robust regulatory environment such as complex layers of legislation in Trade, with the particular dominance of bilateral treaties easing mispricing and tax evasion », analyses Zineb Marfoq, Senior Manager at Mazars, adding that regarding corruption and anti-money laundering, neither the domestic nor the international legal systems provide sufficient disincentives against illicit practices. Furthermore, she underlines Trade and Commerce, Money laundering, and Corruption as the three main components of IFFs in Africa.

As of Trade and Commerce, she notes that the commercial sector is the major source of IFF in Africa, explaining that the situation is due to the range of methods by which IFFs take place in the commercial sector as well as the technicality of issues such as transfer pricing, tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance, trade misinvoicing, tax incentives, double-taxation agreements and so on.

To tackle the issue of IFF in trade and commerce, Zineb Marfoq points out that it is important to ensure that laws and regulations make it illegal to intentionally incorrectly or inaccurately state the price, quantity, quality or other aspect of trade in goods and services in order to move capital or profits to another jurisdiction or to manipulate evade or avoid any form of taxation, including customs and excise duties. « African countries should require that beneficial ownership information is provided when companies are incorporated or trusts registered; such information is updated regularly; and such information is placed on the public record. It is essential to involve the private sector in addressing and building harmonized standards. Furthermore, large corporations such as the headquarters of international banks and other multinational corporations shall play a stronger role in ensuring that they are not accomplices to IFF practices », she also points out.

While recognising on the one hand that notable success in tackling money laundering has been made in Africa throughout the past decades, the Mazars’ Senior Manager also sheds light on the fact that new and more obscure ways of money laundering have emerged including cash smuggling and triangulated transactions routed through Africa.

According to her, international cooperation is instrumental to support cross border investigations and combat money laundering. “Promoting autonomy of Financial Intelligence units to reinforce neutral and reliable investigations, as well as strengthening AML/CFT framework (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Framework) to detect and combat money laundering patterns should be a priority”, she underscores.

Zineb Marfoq also emphasizes that increasing data sharing across Africa would be an important step forward in the fight against money laundering. It should be underlined that African countries have realised additional revenues totalling €1.69 billion thanks to voluntary disclosures, the implementation of information exchange mechanisms, and rigorous offshore investigations, according to the 2023 Tax Transparency in Africa progress report unveiled at the 13th Meeting of the Africa Initiative in Cape Town.

On the other hand, to tackle corruption, which remains a major concern despite the global and regional attention that resulted in the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), Zineb Marfoq recommends to design law with practical enforcement measures and fight selective enforcement. Promoting transparency on national and subnational budget information, processes and procedures for budget development and auditing is also key.

She furthermore points out that the global effort to fight corruption needs to continue unabated in terms of establishing national anti-corruption agencies, enhancing regional cooperation as well as providing those agencies with autonomy, resources and capacities to prevent and prosecute corruption cases. Let’s note that curbing IFFs could almost halve the 200 billion US dollars annual financing gap Africa faces to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), according to UNCTAD.