I love football and just like most people in Africa, I enjoy watching the English Premier League.
My favorite team is Arsenal, yes Arsenal. I am a proud Gunner.
The fan base of the EPL in Nigeria and I’m sure the rest of Africa is so large that I like to think that Africa is home to the largest following and fan base for the English Premier League.
Interestingly, the English Premier League is supported and promoted by the Barclays Bank, a British multinational finance company with its head office in London and branches around the world.
Barclays are one of the world’s biggest banks and have been expanding rapidly
So much so, that they’ve become the largest retail bank operating in Africa.
So they carry a fair bit of weight, right? Yes indeed.
More interestingly yet saddening to know is that apart from promoting the English Premier league which Africans so love and support, Barclays Bank also promotes the use of tax havens by multinational companies operating in Africa, which enable tax dodging.
This I liken to biting the fingers that feed you.
When multinational companies operating in Africa and elsewhere use tax havens to dodge paying taxes, they deny Africa the much needed resources for its development
Studies show that tax dodging costs Africa about US$ 63 billion every year.
This may just sound like a big number, until you do the calculations and find out what US$ 63 billion can do for Africa.
This money could be used to fix the problem of lack of basic primary education for African children, reduce to minimal levels extreme hunger and poverty and also tackle the critical issue of maternal and child health across the African continent. And yes we might see some change.
This is an injustice that is not acceptable.
I am joining ActionAid supporters around the world to call on Barclays Bank to clean up its act and stop promoting the use of tax havens.
There is a growing conversation around this which you too can be part of.
I urge you to join in, by sending an e-mail to the Chief Executive of Barclays Bank, Anthony Jenkins, telling him that the time to clean up is now and that Barclays must stop promoting the use of tax havens.
I am quite development conscious and it saddens my heart to read, see and experience the backwardness of Africa in many respects.
Statistics indeed do us no good as we can easily be dubbed the poorest continent on the planet
We have the highest number of children who are out of school. In Africa, the number of women and children dying of preventable causes or illness is alarming.
More saddening is the fact that in the face of all these, multinational companies are further impoverishing the African people and that Barclays Bank in some ways supports this. I am disappointed.
By supporting and promoting the biggest football league in the world, the English Premier League, Barclays brings joy to millions across Africa and the rest of the world.
But by promoting the use of tax havens which enable tax dodging, Barclays Bank is doing more harm than good to Africa.