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Transparency is a blind spot for EU leaders in the G20 partnership with Africa

Brussels, 28 JUNE 2017. ONE is calling on EU Heads of State to do more in the fight against corruption and lead on transparency, ahead of their meeting tomorrow to prepare for the G20.

During the recent G20 Partnership with Africa conference, African leaders repeatedly raised that transparency should be part of a win-win partnership between Africa and the G20 as illicit financial flows are undermining their efforts to secure social and economic growth.

EU leaders must use their strong position to lead global in anti-corruption efforts, as they are currently negotiating the revision of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Making public who owns and controls EU companies and trusts would help authorities, civil society and journalists in developing countries follow the money and root out corruption.

Emily Wigens, Brussels Interim Director at ONE, said:
“6 EU member states, the European Commission and the European Council will participate in the G20 summit – they have the power to influence outcomes. With the Compacts with Africa, the G20 aims to improve the investment climate in African states for foreign companies. The EU has a critical role to play in leading the way for the G20 to make commitments in the fight against corruption. A first step they can take is to confirm their support for public registers of beneficial ownership information of EU companies and trusts – whose anonymity is taken advantage of by the corrupt to launder dirty money – currently being negotiated as part of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Yet, transparency is currently a blind spot, despite 89 billion dollars being siphoned out of Africa every year due to money-laundering, shady deals and illegal tax evasion.  If just a portion of these stolen and hidden funds was properly taxed, this could help developing countries finance their fight against extreme poverty, providing vital government revenues for education, healthcare and infrastructure in the poorest countries.

Tomorrow EU leaders must ensure that transparency is at the core of the G20’s agenda with Africa by backing public registers for companies and trusts. If they don’t, the success of a new, win-win partnership with Africa is at stake.”


Notes to editors:

  • Contact, information & interviews – Emily Wigens (interim Brussels Director), [email protected], +44 7557 265 4833
  • ONE will be on the ground during the G20 Summit in Hamburg. ONE Germany Director Stephan Exo-Kreischer and ONE International Director for G7 and G20 Friderike Röder are available for briefings and interviews in German, English and French.

Revision of the Anti-money Laundering Directive

A critical trilogue is happening today in Brussels.  The Member States’ position would leave a loophole in the legislation by not requiring information on trusts to be made public, leaving them open to abuse.  Read more on the Council position.

The European Parliament backs full transparency of beneficial ownership for companies and trusts, which would shine a light on corruption and help developing countries crack down on illicit financial flows.

The European Commission presented its proposal amending the Anti-money Laundering Directive (AMLD) in July 2016. Read more

‘The African Century’ report : ONE has published a report on the 8th of june that shows that by 2050 Africa’s youth will outnumber the G20’s youth population and will bring with it huge opportunities – and requires a strong partnership between Africa and G20 to seize this moment. Through renewed action by African and G20 leaders investing into employment, education and empowerment, sufficient jobs and chances for prosperity for this youth generation can be created and  lead to an increase of $500bn for the African GDP for 30 years, which will also drive global growth. Read the report

ABOUT ONE: ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono, ONE raises public awareness and works with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency, so governments are accountable to their citizens.