Tax Justice ends 5th Media Training in Yaoundé

By Mohamed Konneh

Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) in partnership with the African Regional Center for Endogenous and Community Development (CRADEC) ended the 5th Africa Media Training held on 11-12th April in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

This special programme designed by TJNA is to improve the understanding and reporting of African journalists as well as to support them in investigating and adequately reporting on the extractives sector, domestic resource mobilisation, illicit financial flows, the general tax justice agenda and its linkages to the broader structural transformation of the African continent. It also serves to bridge the gap between journalists and CSOs working on tax and domestic resource mobilisation.

Participants at the 5th TJNA Media training

Welcoming participants at the training, the Executive Director of Tax Justice Network, Alvin Masiamo praised the Cameroon Network for the organizational arrangement put together for the training.

Alvin moved further to question some of the appalling situation Africa found herself while asking series of questions.

‘Why do African leaders agree to manage impunity while poverty takes over their people? There is corruption and mismanagement of the continent resources including it natural resources which continue to be exploited” he said.

Alvin noted that “we all have a role to play especially the media. We go to hospitals, there is no medicine and sometimes there is no doctor. You go to schools there are no furniture for students to sit on and teachers hardly finish their lesson notes. Are we happy with this kind of situation he continue to ask?

He said tax is the prize we pay for these facilities and in a civilized society we give away so much especially to multilateral companies and we are left with the burden.

“If we want good roads, schools, hospital and clean water we must pay our taxes and the same for business entities. We must not continue to rely on International support when we have the resources. It is just a matter of harnessing them and managed them well. Tax is at the heart of development and the reason we must have a tax system that is fair.

The TJN Executive Director said the problem of Africa poverty is not just an Africa problem. The stolen wealth from Africa ends up in Swiss banks and other tax havens. Corruption has a taker, it has an enabler and a keeper and we must target of these’, he said. 

In his statement, Jean MbalaMbala of CREDEC started by questioning the continent’s poor effort in funding its own projects.

He said Africa has long ago sought independence but the continent is still not independent.

‘We cannot be independent when we can’t fund our own projects, adequately feed our people and pay the salaries of public employees. We talk a lot and do little action, this will not help while calling for a stop to rhetoric and go into action.

There is every needed to create and develop champions in fighting Illicit Financial Flows and corruption that is eating deep into the fabric of society. This is the only way we will be able to finance our own programmes he said.

MbalaMbala noted that African problems can only be solved by Africans and not the west. Imagine Africa hosted the African Nations Cup but it is funded by outsiders, this is not right.

There is every need to come together and each and every body is needed in this fight. The media civil society, academics, officials of government are all needed in this fight he said.

The 2019 edition of the Africa Media Training seeks to discuss illicit financial flows and commodities in Africa and explore the methods, data sources as well as tools to collect and secure media investigation.

This year’s training attracted close to 20 nationalities from both Anglophone and Francophone countries. The facilitators are professionals with rich and diverse experiences in the tax industry. This includes fellow journalists who have excelled in reporting on tax issues to lead by example. This gave both parties an opportunity to not only network but also open doors for mentorship.

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