UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the international community to take action against the flow of illegal funds, money-laundering and tax evasion, which cost Africa 50 billion dollars every year.

Guterres, who made the appeal in Addis Ababa at the Second Annual UN-African Union Conference, said African resources should remain in Africa to support the development of the continent.

The UN chief said: “I strongly congratulate the African Union for its very important initiative on corruption.

“I appeal to the international community to do everything to make sure that illegal financial flows, money laundering and tax evasion do not allow $50 billion dollars to leave the African continent every year.

“This is a responsibility to support Africa to make sure that African resources remain in Africa to support African development”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AU had anti-corruption as its agenda for the year 2018 with the theme: ‘Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’.

The theme was officially launched at Addis Ababa in January by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who was appointed by the continental body to serve as the ‘Champion of the theme of the year’.

The meeting, which covered a wide range of topics, was part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the relationship between the AU and the UN and Guterres spoke about the AU-UN close collaboration in areas such as peace and security.

The UN chief said recent developments in Africa indicates that the continent is increasingly moving in the direction of peace and enhanced security

“We feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict had raged since 2013.

“All this gives us hope that the African continent will be moving more and more in the right direction in peace and security,” he added, telling delegates that the UN could not afford to fail in its dealings with the continent.

“As I just said to the African Union Peace and Security Council: if the UN fails in Africa, the UN fails. On the other hand, African leadership is essential to solve African problems.

“If those two things are true, the only way for the UN to deliver is for a very solid and close partnership with African Union and I am extremely grateful to Chairperson Faki (Mahamat) for the excellent development our relations have had in the recent past”.

However, the UN chief also focused on what he described as the “dramatic crises” in Africa, where the UN has deployed peacekeeping missions in four countries: the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and South Sudan.

He said the rise of armed groups and international terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, means that these operations are not involved in “traditional” peacekeeping, and he cited the need for more funding, particularly in enforcing peace and countering terrorism.

“We need to understand that when African troops are fighting terrorists in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are protecting the whole world. And the world must be in solidarity with Africa, as African forces are protecting us all,” he stated.

The Secretary-General also called for greater support for the UN’s Agenda 2030 and African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which address long-term economic development.