Illicit financial flows and Tax Reforms in Egypt: Mapping of the Literature and Synthesis of the Evidence

Africa and developing countries have incessantly been depicted as dependent on developed countries for aid and assistance. However, illicit financial flows (IFFs) portray a different scenario whereby massive amounts of financial outflows illegally or clandestinely leave African countries to benefit more developed countries. Among African countries, Egypt stands out in the magnitude of illicit flows. IFFs from Egypt are estimated to have reached US$105.2 billion, constituting 14.7 percent of the total illicit outflows from Africa. Egypt ranked third in Africa, after Nigeria and South Africa for the exportation of illicit capital in the period of 1980-2009 (ABD & GFI, 2017). Egypt also dominated the North African illicit outflows ranking followed by Algeria and Libya (ibid. pp.25-27). Together, Egypt and Algeria account for 66 percent of the illicit outflows from North Africa. The purpose of this study is to synthesise the literature on IFFs and tax reforms in Egypt, map the key stakeholders and derive policy recommendations to improve, facilitate, or maximise the impact of existing initiatives or related key stakeholders. Evidence reviewed suggest that illicit outflows continue to undermine economic development and render developmental issues in Egypt, such as poverty alleviation, human rights and economic recovery, ineffective, especially after the events of the 2011 Arab spring. The main source of illicit outflows in Egypt is trade mis-invoicing motivated by a desire to evade or reduce taxes.