Ghana - dirty money conduit, via Barclays?
"Ghana has been urged to strengthen institutions and master the political will ensure that the country does not become a safe haven for money laundering activities , as its offshore banking ambitions ‘ risk being soft touch magnet for flood of dirty money’."
The warning comes from a London-based attorney, John Hardy. His comments are right, as far as they go, but what he should have said was that turning itself into a secrecy jurisdiction is a recipe for further undermining the economies of African countries (we'd be particularly worried about oil-rich Nigeria.)
As with oil, the provision of financial secrecy for outsiders provides a source of easy rents that create no links of accountability between rulers and citizens - and thus this plan, if it comes to fruition, is likely to prove to be a curse on large numbers of ordinary Ghanaians too.
As Jeffrey Owens of the OECD rightly said in January:
"The last thing Africa needs is a tax haven in the centre of the African continent."
Well said, Mr. Owens.