Ecuador (NI) – It is official: the ‘yes’ vote wins in the country’s historic referendum Ecuadoreans have voted to bar politicians and civil servants from having assets, companies or capital in tax havens. Some 54.5 per cent of the nation’s electorate voted…
Nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger in the world, mainly in the so-called “developing” countries. Now, in these countries, every year at least 250 billion euros in tax revenues disappear to tax havens – that’s 6 times the amount needed annually to fight and conquer hunger by 2025 (1).
“It is estimated that 85% to 90% of these assets [private funds invested in tax havens] belong to less than 10 million people – or 0.014% of the world population – and at least a third of those assets belong to the 100,000 richest families in the world, with each having at least 30 million dollars” writes US economist James S. Henry. It’s the wealthy who profit most from the reduction of tax revenues to fraud, which perpetuates and exacerbates inequalities.
What steps did the London Anti-Corruption Summit make towards eliminating corruption?
On 12 May 2016, David Cameron hosted the Anti-Corruption Summit in London. This summit aimed to bring together world leaders to discuss ways to expose corruption, punish those responsible, and to eliminate institutionalized practices that encourage corruption. I previously wrote an article explaining why this conference was unlikely to result in meaningful reform. So far, many civil society organizations have claimed that the Summit was underwhelming and did not go far enough. However, some positive steps were taken and as a result, I believe that it is worth exploring the end result of this Summit.
In the days before the Anti-Corruption Summit, tension started to brew as David Cameron was caught on camera stating that “Nigeria and Afghanistan are possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.” This was expected to cause problems as the Nigerian and Afghani presidents were high profile invitees to the conference. Fortunately, this faux pas appeared to have been forgiven and the summit was able to proceed in a cooperative manner. At the Summit, several commitments and provisions were agreed to and published in a communiqué. Some of these provisions are as follows:
On 12 May, 2016, many world leaders will meet at a summit in London to discuss corruption. The objective of this summit is to foster international cooperation for combatting corruption. Since this is occurring in the aftermath of the Panama Papers, the summit is coming at a very opportune time when this topic is still salient amongst the public. However, while this summit has noble objectives, many have expressed skepticism towards it.
On 8 May 2016 Downing Street published a statement from David Cameron about the summit. This statement, which recognizes the myriad of poverty and security-related problems that corruption causes, stated Cameron’s desire to formulate and implement the first global declaration against corruption and mechanisms for combatting it. In the process, David Cameron set lofty goals for international cooperation to engage in anti-corruption efforts. To this end, David Cameron invited many prominent heads of state to his summit, the agenda of which includes exposing corruption, punishing those responsible, and eliminating cultures of corruption. The British government has expressed optimism that this will lead to meaningful anti-corruption reform.