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New report states Ethiopia loses 6 percent of its GDP every year through illicit financial flows. The report released this month states that, the country has lost 16.5 billion USD from 1970 to 2008 making it one of the top 10 African countries by cumulative illicit financial flows. The top ten countries also represent 79 percent of the total illicit financial flows from Africa.
The report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa states that, over the last 50 years, Africa is estimated to have lost USD 1 trillion in illicit financial flows (IFFs), this figure is roughly equivalent to all of the official development assistance received by Africa during the same time frame. It also states that, although there aren’t accurate numbers, the amount lost annually by Africa through IFFs is therefore likely to exceed USD 50 billion by a significant amount.
Given the problem of inadequate growth, high levels of poverty and resource need, illicit financial flows has become a serious concern for the continent. According to the report, although African economies have been growing at an average of 5 percent annually, it is still considered to be low and there is still a long way to go to reach the double digit growth that has been seen to transform some parts of Asia.
The report states that among other things, poverty remains to be one of the biggest challenges the continent is still facing. Data shows that the number of people living on USD1.25 per day has almost doubled from 290 million during the 1990s to 414 million in 2010.
The increase is due to the imbalance between population growth and those that are being lifted out of poverty. The report further states that the resource needs by African countries for social, infrastructure as well as investment also underscore the importance of preventing illicit financial flows.
Africa is currently a continent with the largest youth population in the world. By 2050, the median age for the continent will be 25 years, while the average for the world as a whole will be about 36 years, according to the United Nations Population Division. This is expected to put a lot of pressure on economies that do not have the resources to put in place the necessary infrastructure for sectors like health and education.
The report also states that, the continent is estimated to be in need of an additional USD 30 to 50 billion annually to fund its infrastructure projects.