WACSI in collaboration with the International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL) on 20th to 22nd August 2019, convened a workshop on the theme Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West Africa: Strengthening civil society capacity to combat negative impact on civic space. The workshop which took place in Abidjan witnessed the attendance of 23 participants from 8 francophone counties; Guinea Conakry, Togo, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and 2 lusophone countries; Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau. Also in attendance were representatives of GIABA, an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in West Africa; the Financial Intelligent Unit in Côte d'Ivoire (CENTIF-CI); and Mr Samuel Thompson-Essel, Former Director of Financial Intelligent Centre in Ghana.
Discussions at the workshop revealed among others;
Omolara Balogun, Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy at WACSI emphasised that WACSI’s role is to facilitate knowledge sharing and skills empowerment for CSOs to effectively contribute to curb AMLensure that the civil society are well informed of FATF recommendation 8 and acquire requisite knowledge and capacity to protect themselves from being used as avenues for money laundering and terrorism financing. She also noted and shared effective strategies to combat abuse of the CSO sector by terrorists.
Yona Wajala, Executive Director, Defenders Protection Initiative, Uganda and Hassan Abdille, Executive Director, Muslims for Human Rights from the ICNL experts’ hub in East Africa were in attendance to shed more light on strategies that CSOs can adopt to avoid being abused by money launders and terrorist groups. They equally shared with participants the ICNL toolkit that enables civil society actors work collaboratively with government on the issue while protecting civic space.
Concluding, the workshop contributed to creating awareness on FATF among civil society actors. In line with this, they emphasised the need for a self-regulation with ethical standards and code of conducts that will govern the operations of civil society actors in the region.
For more information on FATF and AML/CTF concerning civil society organisations in West Africa contact WACSI firstname.lastname@example.org.
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