Catch Them If You Can highlights the need to address illicit activities such as fighting illicit financial flows, the growing use and promotion of tax havens, reforming international investment agreements and addressing the challenges of external debt burdens.
Wealth extraction from the poor is the rule, not the exception.
For every €1 that is transferred in overseas aid to developing countries €5 is transferred out, according to a new report, Catch Them If You Can, launched in Dublin this week by human rights education organisation, 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World.
The scale of transfers from poor to rich is both staggering and utterly indefensible, according to the report’s authors Tony Daly and Colm Regan.
Based on official figures tracked by the researchers, the net transfer of resources from developing countries to ‘developed’ countries including UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany amounts to a loss of €1.1 trillion during the first three years of the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals.
The authors argue that “If a business-as-usual approach is maintained, on this basis, we estimate a net loss to the poorest of the world of at least €5.5 trillion by 2030. It translates into fewer hospitals, doctors, teachers, roads and water and sanitation services. It slows down or even reverses progress tackling world hunger and eradicating poverty amongst those least able to respond. The public of the EU expects better.”
Covering basic social protections in one year for the 59 lowest-income countries such as maternity cover, children’s allowance and disability would cost $105 billion; tackling biodiversity would cost $9 billion and education at all levels would cost $259 billion, by way of a comparison.
In 2015 alone, the countries of Africa were net creditors to the rest of the world to the tune of US$41.3 billion. Much more wealth was leaving the world’s poorest continent (US$203 billion) than entered it (US$162 billion).
In advance of politicians returning to work in September and in the lead up to the 75th UN General Assembly taking place from September 15th, 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World calls on EU politicians, institutions and transnational corporations to minimise finance that contributes towards underdevelopment in rebuilding from the wreckage of the COVID-19 crisis.
The report concludes: “There is little point in attempting to improve the targeting and impact of better livelihoods and human rights focused investments if the ‘business as usual’ model of financial ?ows from developing countries continues to operate unhindered.”
Catch Them If You Can also highlights the need to address illicit activities such as fighting illicit financial flows, the growing use and promotion of tax havens, reforming international investment agreements and addressing the challenges of external debt burdens as challenges that cannot be ignored, particularly as inequalities deepen within and between countries under the COVID-19 pandemic.