IFF Project in Ghana, Namibia and Zambia: Kick-off workshop

22 February 2024
11:00 - 13:00 hrs.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are co-custodians of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 16.4.1 on the “total value of inward and outward illicit financial flows”. UNCTAD, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), has implemented a UN Development Account project from 2018 to 2022 on “Defining, estimating and disseminating statistics on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs)”, in 11 countries on the African continent, including Ghana, Namibia, and Zambia. The project focused on developing a statistical methodology to estimate IFFs and resulted in the finalisation of the UNCTAD-UNODC IFF Conceptual Framework in 2020 and the UNCTAD Methodological Guidelines in 2021, to measure tax and commercial IFFs, and tested by all pioneering countries.

The project and related guidelines supported the countries to assess the types of IFFs relevant to their national contexts. Countries pilot tested between one and three of the methods to measure different types of IFFs, including trade misinvoicing, profit shifting and offshore wealth. In parallel, UNCTAD Africa, Least Developed Countries (ALDC) Division was focusing on strengthening research and data analysis skills in selected pioneering countries and developing targeted policy measures linked to specific IFF activities. These pioneering countries have paved the way for the approach to measure IFFs, providing a wealth of knowledge, lessons learned and resources such as terms of references, tools and guidelines.

At the end of the project, more work was necessary to confirm the preliminary estimates and extend them to other types of IFFs towards reporting data on the Global SDGs Indicator Database for 16.4.1.  At half-way point through the 2030 Agenda and in the conditions of compounding crises, it is more urgent than ever to pursue SDG target 16.4 to significantly reduce illicit financial (and arms) flows by 2030, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime. The new project proposes to refine preliminary estimates, to pilot test new methodologies and report results on the Global SDGs Database, as well as to link estimates with policy formulation and action.


The objectives of the online regional workshop are as follow: Kick-off the project and introducing the different entities; Present the project components, objectives, activities and timeline; Countries share expectations on measurement and policy pillars, confirming their national objectives.


UNCTAD Statistics; UNCTAD ALDC; Ghana Statistical Service; Bank of Namibia; Zambia Statistics Agency; other relevant national institutions in countries; ECA (tbc); UN Regional Coordinator Offices (tbc).

22 Feb 2024
UNCTAD Africa Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes (ALDC)

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