Africa’s Pandora Papers Revelations Are About More Than ‘Legality’

Africa’s Pandora Papers Revelations Are About More Than ‘Legality’
Kenyans read the morning newspapers following the Pandora Papers revelations that President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the beneficiaries of secret financial accounts, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

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Nearly 50 politicians and public officials from 18 African countries have connections to secretive offshore financial structures and trusts in tax havens, according to the Pandora Papers investigation. The leaders implicated by the leaked files—the latest effort of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ—include Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Prime Minister Patrick Achi of Cote d’Ivoire.

The revelations come at a time when debates over taxation, sovereign debt and capital flight from Africa are raging, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout. The pandemic’s impact has underscored the difficulties faced by countries in Africa and the rest of the Global South in supporting their economies, providing social protection for the most disadvantaged, rolling out vaccination campaigns and even implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which have a decade left to run.

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