Journalist urged to put spotlight on illicit financial flows to Ghana

Economics Media Training
Economics Media Training

Journalists have been urged to develop interest, investigate, and put spotlight on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) to help fight the menace in the country.

Mr Sampson Kwakwa, the Technical Advisor, IFF, GIZ Governance for Inclusive Development Programme, who gave the advice, noted IFFs threatened Ghana’s economic stability and ability to generate revenue and could derail the country’s bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

African Union (AU) defines IFFs as money illegally earned, used, or transferred, while the World Bank defines it as flows that have a direct or indirect negative transfers on impact on the economy of the country of origin.

Mr. Kwakwa was speaking at the opening session of a media training workshop aimed at building the capacities of investigative journalists and to empower them to author compelling stories and help fight against IFFs in the country at Akosombo in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

Eleven selected journalists are attending the five-day workshop to position them to appropriately inform the public and enhance their ability to attack the national and global problem of IFFs.

The workshop is being organised by the GIZ Governance for Inclusive Development Programme, and co-funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.

Mr Kwakwa expressed worry that African countries, including Ghana, continued to grapple with the depth of IFFs, saying a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 estimated Africa loses $88.6 billion annually to IFFs.

The report further noted that the amount was enough to finance almost half the annual financing gap of $200 billion that the continent needed to achieve the SDGs.

Since then, it has been reported that Ghana loses $340 million annually to IFFs, Mr Kwakwa added.

Ghana faces an increasing challenge in tackling transnational criminal activities characterized as Serious Organized Crimes (SOC) and is further challenged with stemming the IFFs associated with it.

In the fight against IFFs, Mr Kwakwa said it was important to identify policies, institutions and actions that had a meaningful impact, saying the role of journalist remained paramount in that regard.

The workshop facilitators, Mr Patrick Batarilo, a renowned international journalist and Mr Bishop Akolgo, an economic and IFFs consultant, would take the participants through key concepts and definitions of IFFs, money laundering mechanisms, investigative journalism reporting on IFFs and Natural Resources extractive activities and IFFs.

Other topics to be treated include channels and mechanisms of transmission of IFFs, as well as Ghana IFFs institutional mapping.

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