Combatting Illicit Financial Flows in Southern Africa

Wednesday, August 30th. 2017

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for its continuing work on combatting illicit financial flows. Through research, grant-making and advocacy under its Economic and Social Justice cluster, OSISA will support organisations and groups pressuring states to develop pro-poor economic policies. This will include support to public participation in the development of policy frameworks that reduce inequality, mobilisation and advocacy against illicit financial flows. In this regard, OSISA seeks proposals that will monitor and advocate against illicit financial flows and push for better regulation and policy reforms to address the use and complicity of tax havens, tax evasion and illicit transfers. OSISA works in ten (10) southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Only proposals from these countries will be considered.


Former South Africa president, Thabo Mbeki argues that Africa is losing USU50 billion a year through illicit financial flows. This is a conservative figure as a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts the amount at USD150 billion. All this is money that could potentially fund education, health care or investments on the continent. The Global Financial Integrity (GFI) estimates that between 1970 and 2008, a staggering amount of between USD854 billion and USD1.8 trillion flowed out of Africa. The United Nations Development Programme classifies five out of eight countries with the highest capital flight in Africa as low human development countries. These numbers, shocking as they are, do not adequately tell the story of deeply entrenched practices that have flourished over the past decades with devastating impact. A report by the African Development Bank and GIF paints a stark picture:  “The illicit haemorrhage of resources from Africa is about four times Africa’s current external debt”.  Yet, not all hope is lost as civil society organisations and popular movements are pushing back and demanding that the outflow of resources be stopped so that more can be invested in sectors that will ensure inclusive and equitable development. OSISA therefore seeks to support proposals that will expand the conversation on illicit financial flows beyond specialist spaces and mobilize ordinary people and key constituencies such as women, youth, students, churches, trade unions and grassroots social movements to be a key part of the voices for change.

Main Activities

Proposals to be considered for funding will focus on:

  • Mobilizing the general population to engage on the issues of tax justice and ending illicit financial flows;
  • Raising public awareness to push for changes to a financial system that is complicit in allowing billions of dollars to leave the African continent every single year;
  • Producing and disseminating research and knowledge to understand better the power relations and political economy drivers of illicit flows and corruption;
  • Supporting peer-to-peer dialogue, policy development and shared technical expertise for reform;
  • Provide policy options and recommendations to strengthen the regulatory framework around illicit flows; and
  • Use data-driven stories that utilize the tools of the trade -- data visualizations, and interactive maps/graphics to explain and reveal new perspectives on illicit financial flows

Geographic area:

Total project costs actions must be in SADC region.

Ownership and sustainability:

Project proposals should include actions that would allow greater involvement of organizations or individuals resident in the countries of the region. Proposals that better involve and ensure civil society and community participation stand a higher chance of being selected.

  1. Project size:
    • Total project costs must be between USD 10,000 to USD 100,000.
  2. Instructions for submitting a proposal
  3. Language of proposal: Proposals can be submitted in either English, Portuguese or French.
  4. Deadline for submission:

The deadline for submission of proposals is Wednesday, 30 August 2017 at 17:00hrs.




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