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Published 1st May 2014

Vol 55 No 9


South Sudan

Calling time on the killing

A boy cries in front of a mural of an aircraft on the wall of a house in South Sudan. Sven Torfinn / Panos
A boy cries in front of a mural of an aircraft on the wall of a house in South Sudan. Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

As the rival leaders appear indifferent to the slaughter and threats to stability, support is growing for a serious intervention force and targeted sanctions

The pressures of war are mounting but President Salva Kiir Mayardit still sports a black ten-gallon hat and a hefty walking stick. Looking tired and stooped, Salva hectored a group of African leaders and security experts on 27 April on the justice of his cause. He and his allies in Juba had no choice but to resist a 'desperate' and 'fully armed' rebellion, he said, questioning why foreign governments and international organisations were so sluggish in their support for an elected government.

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BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

At a meeting in Bahir Dar on 26-27 April, financial experts told Ethiopia's Tana Security Forum that Africa could be losing as much as US$100 billion a year from illicit financial flows and suggested ways to stop them. They also had a sneak preview of a report due to be presented to the African Union summit in June.

It may help the leaders to take this subject seriously at the AU summit in Malabo – an improbable location given the reputation of Equatorial Guinea for grand corruption a...

At a meeting in Bahir Dar on 26-27 April, financial experts told Ethiopia's Tana Security Forum that Africa could be losing as much as US$100 billion a year from illicit financial flows and suggested ways to stop them. They also had a sneak preview of a report due to be presented to the African Union summit in June.

It may help the leaders to take this subject seriously at the AU summit in Malabo – an improbable location given the reputation of Equatorial Guinea for grand corruption and nepotism – that South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki chairs the panel presenting the findings. Carlos Lopes, who heads the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa which led the research, says the sections on deliberate trade mispricing, the over-pricing of imports and under-pricing of exports to facilitate capital flight, will be particularly detailed. Experts calculate that Africa's two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, each lose as much as $10 bn. a year from mispriced trade and the suborning of customs officials.

The report will also show how obsessive financial secrecy in many countries helps conceal crimes such as contract kickbacks, money laundering and theft of state assets. It will also show how such secrecy helps companies evade tax and flout market rules. Mbeki will struggle to persuade leaders to act decisively against such abuses. The experts at the Tana Forum concluded that his strongest argument would be self interest: as capital gets costlier and more risk averse, even resource-rich regimes may find it counter-productive to indulge their own criminal classes and foreign allies.

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