Time to clean up: How Barclays promotes the use of tax havens in Africa

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Publication Date: 
20 November 2013
Author: 
ActionAid
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Barclays bank’s behaviour challenges the efforts for building a just world; the corporation is fuelling the plunder of Africa and providing a comforting zone for Tax havens. ActionAid is taking a huge risk through this exposure and we count on our governments to challenge this and call for better ways of doing business. The efforts of the Africa Union – NEPAD towards effective mobilization of Domestic Resources will be undermined if institutions such Barclays continuously provide a window for extracting Africa’s hard earned resources. This report is premised on the principle Africa’s resources must be utilized for the continent’s sustainable and inclusive development. 

Barclays bank is now reported to be the largest retail bank in Africa and is the largest UK bank operating on the continent. This puts it in a position of responsibility with regard to the way it operates and the role it can play in the economic future of some of the poorest countries in the world. In the wake of the global crisis, Africa’s economy has enjoyed one of the strongest growth rates across the world.

Weak economic performance in rich countries and rapidly rising commodity prices have resulted in a steady increase in foreign investment, totalling US$50 billion in 2012 – as much as is received in overseas development aid. However Africa still suffers extreme poverty and under-development. Between 1990 and 2011 the number of new-born children who died in sub-Saharan Africa went up from 1.0 to 1.1 million, and the number of hungry people increased from 175 million to 239 million.