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ECA Inception Meeting on Preventing Trade Mis-invoicing in Selected African Countries
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 to Thursday, April 25, 2019
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Macroeconomics and Governance Division of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will hold an inception meeting on the 24th to 25th April, 2019 for the project on strengthening the capacities of selected African countries to counter trade mis-invoicing. This project is among several ECA-led initiatives which are aimed at implementing the recommendations of the High Level Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), endorsed at the 24th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government in 2015. 

The 2015 High Level Panel Report underscored that trade mis-invoicing which involves the deliberate falsification of the value or volume of an international commercial transaction of goods and services, is the largest component of IFFs. ECA’s latest estimates indicate that Africa loses $73 billion annually through trade mis-invoicing alone, posing a direct threat to Africa’s sustainable and inclusive development by diverting resources from social spending and productive investment as well as undermining structural transformation. IFFs drain capital and tax revenues for most economies, undermining their ability to mobilize adequate resources for development. IFFs also weaken political and institutional legitimacy and reduce taxpayer compliance throughout the economy, thus affecting the realization government of revenues. These risks have been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where the reduction of IFFs is explicitly stated under Goal 16. 

Against this backdrop, the ECA in collaboration with ESCAP, UNCTAD, UN-DESA and UNODC, has organized an inception meeting for a project to strengthen capacities of selected African countries to prevent trade misinvoicing. Six countries have been identified for the first phase of this project including South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria and Tunisia.  

Objectives

The overall objective of the inception meeting is to initiate the development and implementation of a capacity building framework to address trade misinvoicing at country and regional levels. Specifically, the meeting aims at:

  • Gathering perspectives and experiences from the selected countries in order to define priorities, identify capacity gaps and needs in tackling trade misinvoicing.
  • Gaining insights on the efficiency and effectiveness of existing regional and global tools or solutions as well as customs administrative practices for detecting and controlling trade misinvoicing.
  • Discussing the development of an appropriate capacity building framework, including software tools, for addressing trade misinvoicing at country and regional levels.

 Expected outcomes

Expected outcomes of this meeting include: an enhanced understanding of key capacity challenges and needs of selected countries in tackling trade mis-invoicing, clear consensus with respect to country-specific priorities and the appropriate capacity building strategies and solutions required to detect, prevent and control trade misinvoicing and ultimately contribute to reducing IFFs in Africa.  

 Target audience

The meeting targets officials from national customs administration authorities and financial intelligence centers of selected countries, relevant representatives of regional economic communities. This meeting will bring together the experts from participating UN agencies and other regional and international organizations working on IFFs related issues. 

Venue, date and time

This meeting is scheduled to take place on the 24thto 25th April, 2019 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

For further information, please contact: Ms. Uzumma Erume, Economic Governance and Public Finance Section, ECA Tel: +251-115-443301. E-mail: erume@un.org