Friday, September 10, 2010

Africa's disappearing resources: Churches rally to counter illicit flows

Africa has been plundered by western nations for centuries. The plundering continues, disguised behind secretive contracts, transfer pricing abuses and shady companies registered in secrecy jurisdictions in the Caribbean and British Channel Islands. In the run-up to the review summit for the UN Millennium Development Goals, Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu from Congo-Brazzaville, is leading a church MDG advocacy tour to highlight the disastrous impact of illicit flows on his country and others in the continent. He, and others including Eva Joly MEP, will be speaking about these menaces to society at an event at the European Parliament in Brussels next week. We encourage you to participate: details below

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Transparency and Extractive Industries:

How to Recuperate Uncollected African Tax Revenues

Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu (Congo-Brazzaville)

International donors, meeting in New York to review the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 20-22 September, are looking at urgently needed funds for development. Currently, large sums of money flow out of the African continent illicitly. This money is pocketed by African elites and transnational companies and disappears in secret (often European) bank accounts. The EU could contribute to recuperating these uncollected tax revenues. The European Commission is currently reviewing the EU Transparency Regulation (the TOD Directive). There is increasing pressure (including from CIDSE) to ensure that this legislation will include a requirement for companies registered or active in the EU -including those in the extractive sector- to become transparent about their operations in every developing country they operate in.

Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu (Congo-Brazzaville) is leading the MDG Advocacy Tour, organised by CIDSE and the Pan-African Bishops Conference SECAM, ahead of the New York summit. He is an outspoken voice within the church in Africa for greater transparency of extractive industries. He survived three attacks on his life for his powerful testimonies, which are based on personal experience as a human rights defender. He challenges his government on the damaging effects of corruption - arising out of the opaque dealings of extractive industries with national elites- and the impact of these industries on the environment and the well-being of local communities.

A group of MEPs, who are concerned about the extreme influence of the private sector on EU policy, has called on civil society to provide a counter-force; a challenge which CIDSE has accepted.

We would therefore like to invite you for an open discussion:

Wednesday 15 September 2010

18.30 (welcome cocktail), 19.00-20.30 (debate)

European Parliament, Brussels, Rue Wiertz 60

Simultaneous EN-FR translation will be available

Undermining Africa’s future or plugging the leaks?

Transparency of extractive industries: How EU policy can contribute to recuperating one trillion Euro uncollected African tax revenues

Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu (President of the Bishops Conference of Congo-Brazzaville and Human Rights Defender)

N.N. (European Commission, DG Internal Market)

MEP Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP)

MEP Pervenche Berès (S&D) (tbc)

MEP Charles Goerens (ALDE)

MEP Eva Joly (Greens) (tbc)

Bernard Pinaud (Director of CCFD-Terre Solidaire)

Philomena Johnson (Executive Secretary Caritas Ghana)

Moderator: Gie Goris (Editor in Chief, MO)


We would be grateful if you could participate.

Sincerely yours, Bernd Nilles (Secretary General, CIDSE)

To facilitate the organisation, please register by email not later than 10 September garcia@cidse.org. If you do not have a valid access card for the EP, please provide us as well with your address and your date of birth. The EP security will then be able to prepare an entrance badge in advance, which will be handed over to you on 15 September at the “Luxembourg entrance” of the Spinelli Building (ASP) from 17.30 onwards. For media requests, scholtalbers@cidse.org - +32(0)477068384

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