AU Member States Commit to Implement Africa Asset Recovery Program –

An expanded working group on the African Common Position on Asset Recovery, comprising more African Union (AU) Member States, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi and Senegal, joined the pan-African institutions mandated by the AU Assembly to actively promote the implementation of CAPAR.

Commitment of AU Member States to implement Africa’s Asset Recovery Programme, CAPAR, is one of the key outcomes of the High Level Technical Meeting on Frameworks for its Implementation held this weekend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At the meeting attended by senior government officials and heads of anti-corruption and asset recovery agencies, the aforementioned countries agreed through their respective missions and representatives to propagate the CAPAR , to unify its messages and provide the necessary political support for its implementation frameworks, as well as its draft protocol and model agreements.

The high-level meeting, co-hosted by the African Union and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), discussed strategy papers focusing on the legal framework for African asset recovery and the proposal for setting up of an escrow account of African assets.

Discussions focused on sharing experiences while ensuring that African state asset recovery frameworks maintain a comprehensive approach in a holistic and cost-effective manner. The meeting also made valid proposals to address the major legal issues that African states face in recovering illicit financial flows and stolen assets.

Participants of the meeting agreed that its outcomes should feed into updates from the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (as AU Champion on Anti-Corruption) and the report of the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the AU Assembly. heads of state and government at its next summit to be held in February 2023 in view of the nexus between corruption and peace and security. This is in line with further galvanizing the implementation of CAPAR by all AU Member States and the need to strengthen the implementation of CAPAR at the national, sub-regional and regional levels.

On the escrow account, the African Union is committed to facilitating the necessary consultations with relevant regional banks to establish escrow accounts to mitigate the losses suffered by African countries as negotiations drag on for recovery and restitution of sovereign assets wrongfully removed from AU Member States. .

It was further agreed that the expanded CAPAR working group would meet again in future meetings with a view to engaging other AU Member States and advancing the frameworks implementation processes.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in February 2019 proposed the CAPAR which was unanimously adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union during its 33rd Assembly in Addis Ababa in February 2020.

The development of CAPAR as a policy instrument has also been supported by the African Union Commission, the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and members of the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from from Africa.

The Secretariat of the AU High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa – Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) has constituted the CAPAR Working Group which guides the actions needed to popularize and to the successful implementation of CAPAR. In addition to the AU and CoDA, the group is made up of AU Member States – Nigeria (represented by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offenses Commission (ICPC)), Senegal, DRC, Malawi, as well as relevant African institutions, including AfDB. , AFREXIMBANK, CoDA, BIDC, PALU and ALSF.

CAPAR aims to assist African Union Member States to effectively identify, repatriate and manage these assets while respecting their sovereignty. It outlines Africa’s asset recovery priorities along four pillars: detection and identification of illicitly removed assets; the recovery and restitution of assets unlawfully withdrawn; management of recovered assets; and cooperation and partnerships to harmonize the identification and recovery process.

Michael J. Birnbaum