Africa is losing money. Wealth of Nations works with the continent’s leading journalists and media organisations to investigate how this happens and expose those responsible. 

Wealth of Nations is an award-winning programme run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in collaboration with some of Africa's leading organisations promoting excellence in journalism. In 2017 it won Best Capacity Building Project at the British Expertise International Awards, which recognise outstanding international work done by UK-based organisations. 

The programme recognises that, despite the poverty seen across the continent, Africa is wealthy in natural resources and human capital.

Wealth of Nations aims to form a strong, well-trained, independent media able to investigate and expose the financial manipulations that stop Africa from flourishing. The programme is supported by a grant from Norway’s development agency, Norad.

The problem

Despite receiving large sums of money through foreign aid and remittances, Africa loses larger amounts to illicit financial flows - money that pours out of economies through aggressive tax avoidance, corruption, smuggling, and other means. These illicit flows deprive African nations of vital tax revenues that could be spent on social programs including healthcare, education and basic infrastructure, and bleed countries of funds that could otherwise be invested in projects to create jobs and drive development. Illicit financial flows cost Africa an estimated US$30-60 billion annually.

But reporting on illicit flows is a major challenge for the media, requiring knowledge of complex financial agreements and access to carefully hidden information. This makes it a largely untold story.

The approach

Wealth of Nations works with journalists and media in a variety of ways to address these problems, including:

  • Professional development schemes for journalists – journalists with relevant experience can take part in tailored schemes, featuring training, mentoring and modest grant funding to support original reporting, designed to give them the skills and knowledge they need to report on illicit finance
  • Production of investigations – the above scheme is producing a growing cross-border network of specialised reporters. Experienced investigative journalists coordinate this network and drive the production of stories and investigations, to be published in local and international media
  • Capacity development scheme for newsrooms – news organisations can apply to become ‘flagship’ newsrooms for the coverage of illicit financial flows; they will receive bespoke training and support, and have access to reporting grants

If you or your media organisation is interested in taking part in the programme, please find out how to get involved.