Nick Shaxson ■ The Impacts of Illicit Financial Flows on Peace and Security in Africa


From Alex Cobham of the Center for Global Development, a paper for the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa 2014. It’s called, as our title suggests, The Impacts of Illicit Financial Flows on Peace and Security in Africa.

Published in April, it’s an important contribution to the literature on this large topic, and it teases out many of the subtleties in the arguments and analyses that very often get lumped together into one large topic. See him summarise the main points in this video from the Tana Forum (0:45 to 1:55 in the video). He notes in a short summarising blog for the LSE:

“My background paper distinguishes two types of illicit financial flow (IFF): those involving illegal capital (criminality, corruption and the theft of state assets), and those where the capital may be legal but the transactions are illicit (corporate and individual tax abuse, and the abuse of market regulations such as those against monopoly positions and against political conflicts of interest). Together, these IFF pose a major threat to effective states.

Each type is linked to both positive security (the ability of states to provide secure conditions for human development progress, including e.g. health and education) and negative security (the ability of states to safeguard against threats to security at the personal, community and political levels); but the linkages are likely to be strongest between illegal capital IFF and negative security, and between legal capital IFF and positive security.”


There is also a fascinating typology of illicit financial flows, categorising all their different types and assessing the nature of the impact of each. And much more.

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