UNCTAD’s report also reinforces previous estimates on the scale of illicit financial flows from Africa. In 2017,  Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington think thank, reported illicit financial flows from developing regions grew at an average rate of 8.5% to 10.1% a year between 2005 and 2014. In Sub Saharan Africa however, illicit outflows equaled between 7.5% and 11.6% of regional trade on average between 2005 and 2014—the highest for any region.

In 2018, West Africa Leaks, an investigative project by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in collaboration with West African journalists, also uncovered more specific details of the practices used to illegally take money out of the region with findings drawn from a pool of 30 million documents, including leaked financial records.

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