Accountable and effective institutions

Economic and Financial Crime

 

An obstacle to development

Economic and financial crime, faced by donors and developing countries alike is a major obstacle to development. Resources that could support a country’s development are lost through criminal acts like corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and others. The “spoiler” effects on countries’ development processes are diverse, and particularly severe for fragile states: economic crime, including illicit financial flows, diverts much needed resources needed to rebuild countries’ public services, from security and justice to basic social services such as health and education.

OECD-DAC Governance team focuses on the following areas:

  • How can donors address corruption and crime in their projects?
  • How can developing countries reduce levels of economic crime and corruption?
  • What are the best practices to implement effective anti-corruption policies?

Delivering more effective responses to curb corruption and illicit financial flows

The Anti-Corruption Task Team

The Anti-Corruption Task Team is a forum that brings together anti-corruption specialists from the development agencies of OECD countries. The OECD supports these experts in their work by conducting studies, developing tools, and organising meetings to share knowledge and experiences.

One of the anti-corruption work streams focuses on illicit financial flows, funds tied to illicit activities which leave developing countries through various channels. Statistics are contested and estimates of illicit financial flows vary. However, there is consensus that the scale of the problem is sufficient to represent a considerable negative influence on development, fiscal sustainability and governance. Illicit financial flows and other forms of illicit economic activity are mutually reinforcing, and empower those who operate outside of the law. Over the long term, this work stream will study in more detail how illicit flows impact development and the policy implications for OECD member states and developing countries.

Illicit Financial Flows: The Economy of Illicit Trade in West Africa

This report is a first step towards building a qualitative understanding of the way illicit or criminal activities interact with the economy, security and development of West African states. Going beyond a traditional analysis of illicit financial flows (IFFs), which typically emphasises the scale of monetary flows, the report examines the nature of thirteen overlapping, and oftentimes mutually reinforcing, criminal and illicit economies, with a view to identify their resulting financial flows and development linkages. In taking this approach, this report identifies the networks and drivers that allow these criminal economies to thrive, with a particular emphasis on the actors and incentives behind them. As a conclusion to this work, this report proposes a series of policy considerations to assist countries to prioritise and focus their responses to reduce the development impacts of IFFs. Resolving the problem of IFFs requires responding to underlying development challenges, and tackling all parts of the problem in source, transit and destination countries.

 

Related publications‌

Illicit Financial Flows: The Economy of Illicit Trade in West Africa (brief)

Few and Far, The Hard facts on Stolen Asset Recovery (2014)

Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: Measuring OECD Responses (2013)

Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: Measuring OECD Responses (brief)

International Drivers of Corruption: A Tool for Analysis (2012)

A collective donor response to corruption: Why does it matter and how to construct it? (2012)

Working towards more effective collective donor responses to corruption, Synthesis report and recommendations (2009)
Case Studies: Mozambique Indonesia Afghanistan

Transnational organised crime and fragile states (2012)

Tracking Anti-Corruption and Asset Recovery Commitments: A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action (2011)

Further information

OECD work on bribery and corruption

 

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