n African Security Review - Repatriating Africa's looted billions : asset recovery : feature

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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A recent European Commission report estimated that "stolen African assets equivalent to more than half of the continent's external debt are held in foreign bank accounts". Following the international legal precedent set by the Holocaust Claims Commission in recovering assets stolen from the Jewish people by the Nazi regime, some African leaders have begun to focus on the repatriation of these looted African assets as an important element of anti-corruption efforts. Asset recovery is fraught with the complicity of the banks involved, the navigation of a costly international legal labyrinth and the fact that those most implicated in public looting usually have the most power and influence. This article addresses the history and context of asset recovery on the continent. It traces the experiences of two African states, Kenya and Nigeria, that have attempted to repatriate some of their lost wealth while facing significant obstacles at home and abroad.

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