Researching Africa and the Offshore World

30 September 2022

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

View Journal Article / Working Paper

One of the key features of today's global economy is an ‘offshore world’ of financial structures, institutions and techniques designed to provide secrecy, asset protection and tax exemption. While its worldwide impact is very significant, Africa is affected to an unusual extent by the strategies of tax avoidance/evasion, outward financial flows (both legal and illegal) and corruption enabled by the offshore world. This is corroborated by a number of quantitative studies of capital flight as well as by influential investigations such as the Pandora Papers, Panama Papers and Luanda Leaks.

The offshore world's limited presence in the study of contemporary African politics, political economy and international relations is therefore striking. The purpose of this exploratory paper is to highlight this gap, provide a preliminary analysis, and suggest that the politics of African insertion in the global offshore economy merits more attention from scholars of African politics.