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Accountability in Africa: Harm from International Financial Flows and Strategies for Supporting Community-led Access to Remedy

By: Accountability Counsel, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA)

Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars flow into Africa from abroad. Regardless of motivations, these financial flows can have both positive and negative impacts on local people and the environment. A ‘negative impact’ may mean that a family’s home and farmland is taken by force, they are forced to flee from their ancestral land, and children and grandchildren suffer the multigenerational poverty that results from a loss of the resource base that sustained their family’s life and livelihoods.

This report explores the avenues available to communities to raise grievances, with a goal of understanding how to increase the rate of remedy that results. Too few of these avenues regularly result in remedy in cases where foreign finance and investment has led to human rights or environmental abuse.

Because the source of an investment in a project will likely determine a community’s options for account- ability, this report helps communities and their advocates understand the chain of actors and common sources of financing behind financial flows in Africa. We focus on the upstream part of an investment chain, including parent companies, project companies, investors and shareholders, lenders, and governments.

We focus on three types of accountability options: national courts, quasi-judicial regional commissions and courts, and non-judicial accountability offices at the site and international levels.