|Defined by the Global Financial Integrity Program (GFI), illicit financial flows refer to that which is illegal in its origin, transfer or use and reflect and the proceeds of corruption, crime and tax evasion. The issue has now taken center stage in the international finance community, where policy-makers, economists and governemnt representatives are now looking at the massive effects the flows have on economic growth for developing countries around the world. According to a 2007 Conference Report released by the GFI, "upwards of $500 billion a year exits developing and transitional economies and is deposited into Western accounts. Almost all of it is a permanent transfer, with little ever returning to countries of origin."
On September 14 and 15 2009, a diverse ensemble of economists, foreign government representatives and anti-corruption advocates gathered to discuss the issue at the World Bank. Organized by the Bankís Poverty Reduction Evaluation Monitoring Network (PREM), the two-day event aimed to exchange the latest analysis and perspectives from the government, private and non-profit sectors.