Is Kenya being shaped into Africa's flagship tax haven?

The Corporation of the City of London appears to be expanding its shadow economy into Kenya writes *MARTIN KIRK and *GATHONI BLESSOL

If anyone ever doubted the sheer scale of corporate greed, they had the unedifying spectacle of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to enlighten them last week. In already infamous evidence to a Senate Committee, he demonstrated there is no limit on what corporations will take from society. With the detachment of a sociopath, Cook said outright that he would not consider repatriating the $100bn they have hoarded offshore if it meant paying standard US corporation tax.  There is an argument to be made that this is just businesses doing what businesses do. However full of moral holes that is, it is a very common logic and unfortunately a compelling one to many politicians. This is why, if the tax-avoiding instincts of companies such as Apple - and Glencore and Google and Starbucks, in fact most large multinationals - is to be neutralised, the only thing to do is tackle the system of tax havens that makes every individual act of looting possible.

The imperative is overwhelming. Tax havens exist for one purpose only: to provide a way for the rich to get around the taxes that pay for the infrastructure and services we all - and they all - rely on. They have become, over the past 30 years, a key driver of vast inequality around the world. The system has grown so big that it is now an arterial drain on public budgets everywhere. According to James Henry, a former chief economist of management consultant giant McKinsey, somewhere between $21 and 32 trillion has been siphoned off from the mainstream economy.  The global tax haven system is a network with many parts, and the more parts, the more extensive and powerful the network. Thirty years ago there were a handful of relatively small tax havens, serving a small elite. Today, there are more than 80, and they are a parasite on the mainstream, public economy.

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