The macroeconomics and governance division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has held a two-day inception meeting for a pilot project on strengthening the capacities of selected African countries to counter trade misinvoicing.

The meeting discussed several aspects of trade misinvoicing, including how it differs from other forms of illicit financial flows (IFFs), key misinvoicing typologies, the most affected commodities and key country destinations.

Misinvoicing largest IFF

This project is one of the several UNECA-led initiatives aiming to implement recommendations of the High Level Panel Report on Illicit Financial Flows that were endorsed by African leaders in 2015.

The High Level Panel Report underscored that trade misinvoicing was the largest component of IFFs on the continent.

UNECA’s latest estimates indicate that Africa loses at least US$73 billion annually through trade misinvoicing alone.

Pilot project

“This project is part of our efforts to move the implementation of the IFF agenda to the national level. The outcomes of this project will greatly inform our plans to scale up on capacity building for stemming IFFs to the rest of the continent,” said macroeconomics and governance division director, Adam Elhiraika.

The rationale for selecting the pilot countries was based on their demonstrated willingness to address IFFs and trade misinvoicing and the potential for country-level impact.