Perception of ECA's Officials and Stakeholders on the Role of lCT in the Campaign against Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) from Africa

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Addis Ababa University


This study examines the roles that ICTs play in Economic Commission for Africa's CECA's) campaign against Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) as documented in the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa submitted to the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in January 20 15. The report finds that over $50 billion of Africa's fund s, which could have been used to meet development needs is salted out of the continent yearly in illicit flows. The study employed two prominent theoretical frameworks that could underpin the study; they are Networking Theory popularized by Manuel Castell and Diffusions of Innovations theory by Everett Rogers In exploring the role of ICTs in the campaign against IFF, the study adopts triangulation both quantitative and qualitative approaches: First, it examines the ICT-related elements, especially the IFF Webtracker, in the communication strategy designed by ECA for the purpose of tracking, stopping and returning the funds illicitly tran sferred out of Africa. Second, it dwells on the response to questionnaires administered to 115 people who are the staff members of ECA and ECA's stakeholders and collaborators who are purposively sampled based on their areas of engagement, which is either ICT or are invo lved directly to the programme, IFF. ECA's stakeholders and collabo rators that include the African Union, African Development Bank, the World Bank, the African Capacity Building Foundation, NEPAD Agency and relevant Civil Society Organ izations including Action Aid and Tax Ju stice Africa were selected considering their exposure to IFF and ICT events organized by ECA. Thirdly, in order to get deeper in sight, one-on-one interviews were carried out with eight experts who are either connected with the preparation and implementation of the High Level Panel (HLP) report or have expertise in areas including ICT for development, Communications and development, Data management, etc. The study unveiled that ICTs plays a significant role in tracking and stopping IFFs through the use of web applications, advocacy campaigns led by social media, as well as communication systems and devices which vent the negative impacts of IFF, create public awareness and curb the problem. The study, however, finds that ICT plays less of a role in returning the money to the source countries and argues that political will of governments should complement ICTs in order to stop IFFs. The study, accordingly, calls for enhanced communication strategies and involvement of media in advocacy campaigns.



Stakeholders on the role, lCT