In summary, as stakeholders gather and discuss at the COP28 summit in Dubai, it is important for them to bear in mind that while debt-for-climate or ecological debt for fiscal debt swaps offers a promising approach to addressing debt and climate challenges simultaneously, they need to be implemented with careful attention to transparency, accountability, and integrity. Otherwise, it could become just another pathway to facilitate IFFs in Africa, which have the potential to undermine the fiscal benefits that should ordinarily result from these swaps.
Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs)
As the AU enters its twenties, understanding and addressing its funding challenges must be embedded in the broader political economy of Africa and the world. Global fiscal justice will go a long way in enabling African agency through more self-funding and leadership in the AU's agenda-setting and programme implementation. The AU can and should balance the shouldering of a steadily increasing burden of funding itself with continued pragmatic partnerships. In so doing, the AU will be able to roll out its reforms without losing access to vital resources in the short-term.
Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) are one of several impediments to achieving sustainable development in developing countries across the world. While there is no globally accepted definition of IFFs, there is global acceptance that IFFs undermine the efforts of developing countries to generate domestic revenues to finance their national development agendas. According to the United Nations (UN), developing countries face an estimated annual funding gap of $2.5 trillion to deliver on Agenda 2030. In Africa, the continent loses approximately $100 billion annually through IFFs that are generated in and moved from the continent to tax havens.