Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Event on “African Union Silencing the Guns Initiative: the role of illicit financial flows in fuelling instability in Africa”. —
Thank you, Mr. Moderator. I am very pleased to take part in this discussion and thank you to the co-organizers for promoting this event.
I think it is important that we fully recognize the magnitude of the challenge that illicit financial flows pose to the stability and development of Africa including with regard to the “Silencing the Guns” initiative.
Tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing and abusive transfer pricing, weak governance, money laundering: these are problems with a huge impact on already fragile economies, as they deprive many African countries of important resources which could be dedicated to the pursuit of the SDGs. It is absolutely key that we promote a greater international cooperation in order to foster asset recovery and return.
Italy is fully onboard on this. We fully support the strengthening of international cooperation in this field. We are at the forefront of all the international conventions, institutions, fora that are most directly committed to this fight: from the UN Conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime to the Financial Action Task Force; from the Global Forum on Asset Recovery to the OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Cooperation in Tax Matters.
We adopt, vis-a’-vis this phenomenon, a comprehensive approach which is also reflected in the annual Resolution that we submit to the General Assembly through the Third Committee every year, the so called “Crime Omnibus Resolution”. Its latest version was adopted only a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday we celebrated the International Day against Corruption: another important moment to underline the need for increased cooperation in this field and this will be one of the main priorities also of the Italian G20 Presidency 2021.
As partnerships are crucial in implementing the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, Italy is working closely with a number of African countries in capacity building activities, in order to strengthen rule of law and their capacity to fight against illicit financial flows.
Building sustainable and long-term partnerships is exactly the spirit with which Italy will keep strengthening its relationship with Africa. Our geography, our common history, our friendship and shared destiny makes the African Continent a strategic priority of our foreign policy.
In this spirit, our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will present in the coming days, in Rome, a new policy document entitled “The Partnership with Africa”, which will outline priorities and principles of Italy’s action vis-a-vis the African Continent This is further evidence of our long-term engagement along with our African friends which will remain a priority.
So we stand ready to contribute to the “Silencing the Guns in Africa” initiative, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.