PRESIDENT Michael Sata says Africa is being used as a conduit by multinational companies to externalise resources to offshore destinations.
Mr Sata reiterated that the biggest problem facing Africa was unemployment, which was a contributing factor to the illicit financial flows retarding the continent’s growth.
President Sata said this when former South African President Thabo Mbeki, leading a high-level panel on illicit financial flows from Africa, called on him at State House yesterday.
“once we address the problem of unemployment, africa will not be used as a conduit to externalise its resources.
“For a long time now, rich countries have been plundering our resources and building their countries and they are now richer than us in africa,” Mr sata said.
He praised Mr Mbeki’s team for their efforts to counter mass externalisation of cash and urged the group of experts to come up with tangible solutions to the problem.
“If we create employment then our people will not be used as conduits for externalisation of resources. There is no company in Africa that is worth talking about.
“I am grateful for your coming to fight for mother Africa. I can see that you haven’t retired. When you were the President of South Africa, you were fighting for the continent and you have continued and if there is anything that Zambia can do please let us know,” he said.
Mr Mbeki, on the other hand, said Africa was losing US$50 billion through illicit cash flows and that the figure was not equivalent to donor aid that the continent received.
He said recommendations from the proceedings would be communicated to the ongoing G8 summit in Ireland and the European Union members of Parliament, who had taken keen interest in the matter.
The recommendations would also be availed to ministers of Finance in Africa to map out a strategy on how the issue could be tackled.
“If we can manage to retain the money that has continued to be lost through illicit cash flows, we would be able to develop our continent,” he said.
President Sata and Mr Mbeki shared a light moment before the discussion on illegal cash flows and later posed for a group photograph at the State House grounds. And speaking during a media briefing, Mr Mbeki described yesterday’s regional consultative meeting with stakeholders from the Eastern and Southern Africa as a success.
He, however, emphasised a call to the G8 summit to come up with an urgent action plan to address the illegal financial dealings.
Mr Mbeki said transparency in the manner countries entered into concessions with multinational companies was vital if the scourge of illicit cash flows was to be dealt with adequately.
“As the G8 meets, we expect them to come out of their meeting with concrete and precise decisions on how they will deal with issues of tax avoidance and transparency as these are also critical for us to deal with the problem of illicit cash flows,”