Empowering States to Fight Financial Crime and Terrorism

More than 30 officers from Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) in seven COMESA Member States have completed a one-week training in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on strategic and operational effectiveness in financial intelligence. Held from May 13 to 17, 2024, this training is part of the COMESA Secretariat’s efforts to combat Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and disrupt criminal networks in the region.

The training was organized in response to Member States’ requests to enhance the capabilities of their FIU officials. The goal is to enhance their ability to conduct effective inspections of reporting entities, monitor financial transactions, and detect predicate offenses.

“This is a common demand across our Member States, so we grouped the countries together to deliver the training. This ensures broad benefits and provides a platform for sharing experiences,” said Dr. Oita Etyang, Head of the COMESA Governance, Peace, and Security programme.

Participants from Eritrea, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Zambia were trained in strategic and operational analysis and financial intelligence. The training highlighted the region’s progress in complying with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, including the supervision of reporting entities and the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions.

During the training, delegates exchanged experiences on enhancing information sharing and technical cooperation, especially considering the transnational nature of money laundering and terrorist financing.

A similar training session is planned for later this year, targeting officials from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

In addition to building the capacity of FIUs, the COMESA Secretariat has supported Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) with training sessions in 2022 and 2023. These sessions focused on investigating, detecting, and prosecuting financial crimes, including IFFs and money laundering, to recover illicit wealth. Further support has been provided to strengthen anti-money laundering laws in accordance with global FATF standards.

These initiatives are supported under the fourth African Union African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA IV) Program, funded by the European Union.