Illicit Financial Flows, Asset Recovery, the Power Game and the Right to Development in Africa

Author Serges Djoyou Kamga

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Associate Professor at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa.
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 51 Issue 2, p. 193 – 214


The right to development (RTD) is controversial. This controversy is built on the identification of the international community as one of the duty bearers of the RTD. This means that state members of the international community should fund development projects outside their territory or should contribute to resource mobilisation for the achievement of the RTD beyond their borders. Against this backdrop the article seeks an alternative solution for resource mobilisation for the achievement of the RTD. It shifts the RTD from depending on donors and developed countries to the recovery of assets stolen from developing countries through illicit financial flows. The article relies on the power game theory that posits that in the international arena, initiatives are informed by self-interest. However, it also recognises the challenges linked to asset recovery and articulates this position considering the new institutional theory, which believes in ‘the common good’. Another key issue associated with anticorruption and anti-money laundering initiatives which informs asset recovery is that different countries have different norms and values, which are likely to influence the interpretation of the laws and regulations in consideration of the context. Ultimately, successful asset recovery requires a joint adoption and harmonisation of common strategies by actors.