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KIGALI, 15 February 2018– The fight against illicit financial flows today received a boost as students from five Rwandan universities took part in the inaugural National Students debate on tax justice and IFFs and the official launch of the Stop the Bleeding Campaign in Rwanda. The ‘Stop the Bleeding’ campaign is a movement that seeks to mobilize citizens across Africa against the outflow of illicit flows from the continent.

The campaign drive was part of a two-day national students’ debate on tax justice that had been organised by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) and Governance for Africa. The Debate brought together students drawn from INES-Ruhengeri, The University of Lay Adventists of Kigali, University of Kibungo, Kigali Institute of Management University and University of Rwanda. The competition sought to demystify tax policy and raise awareness among students on the importance of tax justice agenda to development in Africa.

Recent exposes such as the Panama Papers (2016) and the Paradise Papers (2017) have served to bring to the fore issues around tax justice. There has also been a renewed push to increase citizen involvement in developing solutions to causes of underdevelopment and inequality. As the single largest constituent community of populations across the Developing World, the youth have a greater responsibility in driving efforts to address development problems.

The Stop the Bleeding Campaign is a civil society effort aimed at creating a critical mass to demand for measures to the illicit financial flows (IFFs) scourge as recommended by the High Level Panel on IFFs and Tax. A report by the Panel indicates that Africa loses upto USD 80 billion every year.

Following the conclusion of the Debate, Kigali Institute of Management University emerged the winner, with University of Kibungo (UNIK) following closely in second place. The students were debating on topics drawn from illicit financial flows, human rights, inter-state competition and mining regimes in relation to taxation. The two top universities will represent Rwanda at the next EAC Debate on tax justice. Youth engagement has become a key component of TJNA’s efforts in pushing the message that IFFs, though a global problem, needs Africa-driven solutions. The Debate is the first of its kind in the country and follows a similar one that was held in Uganda in 2017.