Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Can Robots Save Banks? RegTech’s Potential to Solve De-Risking

Policies put in place to counter financial crimes have unfortunately had a chilling effect on banks’ willingness to do business in markets perceived to be risky—due in part to the high price of compliance. Even as changes are being made to address this problem, financial institutions are developing solutions in the form of new cutting-edge technologies to help them comply better and faster with anti-money laundering regulations.

Why Do People Think Nigeria Might Be Losing $1 Trillion to Corporate Tax Evasion?

Misunderstandings about the scale of multinational tax avoidance are common. The origin story for an erroneous $1 trillion figure is a case of bad lip reading, but its proliferation reflects the belief that there are absolutely huge sums of money for development at stake from cracking down on multinational tax avoidance. The figure itself may be ridiculous but these myths are serious—they undermine both trust in revenue authorities and businesses, overheat disputes, and make it harder to judge practical progress on improving tax systems and compliance.

Criminal Finances: Should the UK Be Imposing Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership on Its Ex-Colonies?

A new Criminal Finances Bill is making its way through the UK House of Commons which aims to make it harder for criminals and kleptocrats to use the UK financial system to launder ill-gotten gains, while minimising the burden on legitimate businesses and individuals. The bill gives expanded powers to law enforcement agencies and makes banks and other businesses liable for prosecution if they fail to prevent facilitation of tax evasion. It also introduces ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’ (UWOs). These would allow the authorities to demand explanations about any assets that appear suspicious. These measures should have both domestic and international benefits in tackling illicit financial flows.

Davos Secrets: Swiss Trade Opacity and Illicit Flows from Developing Countries

This week the World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. As the great and good gather to chart the direction of the global economy, there will be much talk of development, of transparency, and of the importance of trade. In light of our new research showing that Switzerland’s recent emergence as a global commodity trading hub might hide large illicit capital flows, participants may want to raise some questions with their hosts.

The G-8 Declaration on Tax and Transparency

This is a joint post with Owen Barder. 

International tax has continued to rise up the political agenda, and the crucial UK-hosted G-8 meeting is now approaching.  We’ve updated our draft declaration that we would like to see from that summit, to reflect discussions that have taken place since then, and many valuable comments from a wide range of contributors.

Follow the Money: Illicit Financial Flows and Development

When I joined CGD to start our Europe programme, I said there were two particular reasons why we need more of CGD’s approach in Europe: first, there is more to development than aid; and second, as citizens of rich countries we have a responsibility to focus on how our policies affect development. CGD in Europe is now embarking on an exciting new programme which puts those principles into action.