Illegal transactions continued to grow over the last decade, and Nigeria was one of the worst offending countries.

Illicit financial flows (IFF) surged in 2013 reaching $1.1 trillion (approximately ?219 trillion) globally and Nigeria remains one of the worst performing countries in the world, according to the results of a recent report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a public policy think tank.

Nigeria came tenth in the worldwide rankings of countries by IFF and was the second worst performing country in Africa, behind South Africa, which came seventh globally.

Authored by GFI Chief Economist Dev Kar and GFI Junior Economist Jospeh Spaniers, the report pegs cumulative illicit outflows from developing economies at US$7.8 trillion (roughly ?1.5 quadrillion) between 2004 and 2013, the last year for which data is available.

However, ?219 trillion is a conservative estimate as many illegal transactions may not have been detected.

IFF refers to the illegal movement of capital from one country to another.

Examples of IFF include money laundering, tax and duties evasion, corruption, cash smuggling and illegal wire transfers by individuals and organisations, including terrorists and drug cartels.

According to GFI’s report, IFF accounts for 4% of the developing world’s GDP.

The figure is even worse in sub-Saharan Africa where IFF accounts for 6% of GDP.  The region remains the worst performing area in the world.

The Middle East and North Africa was the best performing region as IFF only occupied 2.3% of GDP.

The IFF growth rate from 2004-2013 was 8.6% in Asia and 7% in other regions.

Also, in seven of the ten years surveyed, IFF outpaced the total volume of foreign aid and direct investment flowing into developing nations.

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Details at Global Financial Integrity.

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