ONE highlights solutions to end the Trillion Dollar Scandal at WEF in Kigali


  • More than one trillion dollars siphoned from developing countries annually
  • 99.5 % out of 1080 cases of cross border corruption in Africa involved non-African firms between 1995-2014

  • A comprehensive domestic fight against corruption in Africa must be supported by changes in the global financial system that currently supports massive international corruption
  • The ONE Campaign calls for new ‘fair play’ transparency standard to help end domestic and foreign corruption sources.

KIGALI – 9 May 2016

As African leaders, businesses and policymakers gather in Kigali for the World Economic Forum Africa, ONE demands they pay attention to what is at stake at the London Anti-Corruption Summit this week.

They must consider how they too can support the implementation of the Fair Play Standard across the continent as demanded by African civil society organisations and activists like Mo Ibrahim, Winnie Byanyima, John Githongo and Rakesh Rajani.

As the recent Panama Papers showed, flaws in the global financial system enable corrupt individuals  and companies to hide details of their financial affairs under the noses of governments and law enforcement agencies. If just a portion of the stolen and hidden funds was properly taxed and the revenues invested in public services and systems, this could help developing countries finance their own fight against extreme poverty.

“It is encouraging that a major African economy like Nigeria is stepping up  in the fight against corruption,” said Mwambu Wanendeya, Africa Executive Director at ONE. “The loss of public funds to money laundering – often in collusion with banks and law firms based in G20 countries – has a direct impact on the ability of some  states to provide basic services like health and education. The world’s poorest people continue to pay the price for the siphoning of money out of African economies.”

Besides the human cost of corruption, greater transparency increases civic and investor confidence with GDP growth estimated at 0.6% annually.1

A study carried out on the implementation of the Dodd- Frank Section 1504, estimates that increased transparency resulting from disclosures may lower the cost of capital by $6.3 billion to $12.6 billion for US-listed companies.2

Jamie Drummond Executive Director for Global Strategy at ONE said:

“A south-north movement of citizens, including ONE’s 7 million members, is joining with responsible leaders in the private sector to demand urgent action in this crucial  campaign against corruption – through the summits  in Africa and Europe this week. Business as usual cannot continue – we need a step change now in the fight against corruption inequality and poverty.”

Since its founding, ONE has campaigned for greater openness and more aggression in the fight against corruption. Its ground-breaking Trillion Dollar Scandal report in 2014 revealed the scale of money disappearing each year from poorer nations because of weak global financial governance.

Corrupt individuals know they can conceal their identities through anonymous shell companies which then funnel the cash into other companies, property and assets.

ONE is calling on governments participating in the summit to seize this week’s opportunity to help end the Trillion Dollar Scandal. ONE has laid out key areas for action and set a global standard of “Fair Play”:

  • Public register of beneficial ownership, so we know who owns trusts and companies.
  • Tighter rules to make it harder to hide corrupt assets.
  • More due diligence in business transactions so ignorance is no excuse if people you do business with turn out to be corrupt.
  • Transparency for companies buying oil, minerals or gas.
  • Public disclosure of companies’ tax payments.
  • Greater transparency in government procurement.
  • Government budgets should be available for anyone to view.

The Anti-Corruption Summit is taking place in London, a leading financial centre that plays a central role in the global system that allows funds to flow out of developing countries. But many other countries, including France, the US and the British Overseas Territories, are also implicated in this web of shady deals.

Between 1995 and 2014 out of 1080 cases of cross-border corruption in Africa, 99.5% involved non-African firms according to the recent UNECA report Measuring Corruption in Africa.3

On 5 May, ONE organised a preparatory anti-corruption event in Abuja, bringing together the Nigerian Ministry of Justice, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and other regional partners. ONE’s Africa Director, Mwambu Wanendeya, addressed the event.

Also on 5 May, ONE organised a side-event at the Open Government Partnership’s Africa Regional Meeting in Cape Town.  The event, ‘A Fair Play Standard: Ending Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows’ was addressed by Mo Ibrahim, a member of the ONE board.

ONE believes the Anti-Corruption Summit could be the moment world leaders turn the tide in the fight against corruption and raise the global standard of transparency and openness.


Note for editors

ONE Spokespeople are available for comment by request. Please contact Yannick Tshimanga on +27 63 698 1093 or email [email protected]

Adrian Lovett, ONE’s Interim Deputy Chief Executive, will speak at the ‘Tackling Corruption Together’ event at Marlborough House, London, on 11 May.

Jamie Drummond, ONE’s co-founder, will speak at the World Economic Forum session on ‘Corruption and the Private Sector’, in Kigali on 13 May.

Taken together these efforts aim to strengthen a range of campaign partnerships against corruption so that citizens, governments and the private sector can work together better to beat back corruption.

  1. ONE launched the first Trillion Dollar Scandal report in September 2014. The figures presented here are updated using latest information from 2015.
  2. Letter published in the Financial Times on 15 April, reproduced at:
  3. Data from the Panama Papers has helped reveal the extent of money held in financial centres that is associated with corrupt officials:
  • James Ibori, the former Governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State, is currently serving a 13-year conviction in the UK for ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud. He owned six properties in London with the help of secret shell companies. His properties included a flat opposite Abbey Road recording studios and a six-bedroom house with indoor pool in Hampstead worth £2.2m in 2001.4 In today’s prices, this luxury house could vaccinate 230,000 children in Nigeria against seven killer diseases.5
  • Dan Etete, the former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, has been implicated in facilitating the transfer of payment of $1.1b to a shell company he anonymously owned in the tainted Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 deal, with the funds ending up in a Natwest bank account in London.6 He was convicted of using €15m believed to have been fraudulently obtained to buy properties in 1999 and 2000 in France, including a chateau in north-western France for ₣7.5m (€1.1m), a Paris apartment for ₣12 million (€1.8m) and a luxury villa in the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly for ₣28m (€4.3m). The value of these French properties is equivalent to antiretrovirals to treat HIV/AIDS for over 370,000 people in Nigeria.7

Background to Anti-Corruption Summit:

In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron led the world on a number of tax, trade and transparency initiatives with the aim of the G8 getting its own house in order and addressing the corruption that undermines growth and prosperity in developing countries. Ahead of the 2015 G7 summit in Germany and following the FIFA corruption scandal, the Prime Minister announced a major anti-corruption summit to take place in London in 2016.

Methodology of the $1 trillion figure:

Given the challenges involved in estimating the costs of corruption, ONE has investigated its impacts through three approaches, all of which overlap but which we believe corroborate our findings.

  • The first draws on estimates of ‘Illicit financial flows’ from developing and emerging countries by the US-based organisation Global Financial Integrity, which estimates the scale of illicit financial flows to be $1.09 trillion in 2013. These figures do not represent the government revenues lost to developing and emerging countries, but rather to the amount of capital that escapes their economies illicitly.
  • The second approach involves updating estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which put the scale of global money laundering at between 2.1% and 4% of global GDP. This estimate sits within the often cited International Monetary Fund ’consensus range’ on the scale of money laundering of 2–5% of global GDP. Thus, in 2015 money laundering globally was estimated to involve between $2.38 trillion and $4.53 trillion. UNODC suggests that “all crime proceeds appear to be generally higher in developing countries and tend to be laundered abroad more frequently”. ONE estimated the proportion of this estimate likely to relate to developing countries, using IMF statistics on the proportion of global GDP (purchasing power parity) originating in developing and emerging economies (57.6%), and used this ratio to calculate the likely scale of money laundering as estimated by UNODC originating in developing and emerging economies. We concluded that in 2015 the amount involved was likely to be between $1.37 trillion and $2.61 trillion.
  • The final approach involves an aggregation of a range of methodologies. Developing countries lose an estimated $100–$160 billion in tax revenues as a result of trade mispricing and an estimated $250 billion from illegal tax evasion each year. The global cost of money laundering in 2015 is estimated at between $2.38 trillion and $4.53 trillion. The global cost of bribery is estimated at between $600 billion and $1.7 trillion. ONE has taken a highly conservative estimate of the low-range costs of money laundering and bribery incurred by developing countries, at one-third of the global total. In this scenario, the cost of money laundering for developing countries is between $792 billion and $1.51 trillion, and the cost of bribery is between $200 billion and $560 billion. While there may be some overlap between these estimates, the use of highly conservative assumptions means the cost of corruption is likely to be underestimated rather than overestimated. If we aggregate the low range, the total comes to $1.34 trillion. Using less conservative assumptions of the proportion of bribery and money laundering relating to developing countries – two thirds – but still using low-range global estimates, the total could be as much as $2.33 trillion.
  • It is important to note that the $1 trillion estimate is money siphoned out of all developing countries – not only low income countries. It is also critical to note that the estimate is not all public money that would otherwise be in government coffers, but even if a proportion of this money was available and could be taxed it could generate significant revenues for development.

About ONE:

ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organisation of over seven million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes. Read more at

1 Trillion Dollar Scandal, quoted from Mehmet Ugur and Nandini Dasgupta (2011) ‘Corruption and economic growth: A meta-analysis of the evidence on low-income countries and beyond’, University of Greenwich. MPRA Paper No. 31226.

2 Source Cannizzaro & Weiner (2016) Study on the how mandatory disclosure lowers cost of capital

3 UNECA, Measuring corruption in Africa: The international dimension matters- calculation by Escresa and Picci, 2015a


5 ONE internal calculation using the unit vaccine rate of €19.74 per child for vaccinations to protect against: tetanus, diptheria, whooping cough, Hepatitis B and meningitis (pentavalent); pneumonia (pneomococcal); and diarrhoeal disease (rotavirus). Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance (2014) CEO Board Report,—CEO-presentation/


7 ONE internal calculation using the unit vaccine rate of antiretrovirals to treat HIV/AIDS of $92 per annual course. PEPFAR (2014) Report on Costs of Treatment in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,


Join the fight against extreme poverty

By signing you agree to ONE’s privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to ONE’s servers in the United States.

Do you want to stay informed about how you can help fight against extreme poverty?

Sign up to receive emails from ONE and join millions of people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. We’ll only ever ask for your voice, not your money. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Privacy options
Are you sure? If you select 'Yes' we can let you know how you can make a difference. You can unsubscribe at any time.

By signing you agree to ONE's privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to's servers in the United States.

You agree to receive occasional updates about ONE's campaigns. You can unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply