Combat money laundering in West Africa

Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo( seated sixth from right) and Mr Brian Anku Sapati(seated fifth left) with the participants.Photo: Ebo Gorman

Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo( seated sixth from right) and Mr Brian Anku Sapati(seated fifth left) with the participants.Photo: Ebo Gorman

Member states of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) have been urged to adopt stringent measures to effectively combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other cross-border criminalities.

According to the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) of ECOWAS, the inability of one state to address such issues compromised the overall security of the sub-region.

The Deputy Director-General of GIABA, Mr Brian Anku Sapati, made the call at the opening of the regional forum on Gender and Youth Dimensions of Financial and Cross-border Criminality in West Africa, in Accra yesterday.

The three-day forum, jointly organised by the GIABA and the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC), is being attended by experts from all ECOWAS member states.

It aims to facilitate the development of policies, strategies and programmes to stop financial crimes and identify consensual approaches to address the effect of such criminalities on gender and youth.

Mr Sapati said the development and integration of the sub-region required peace and security in all spheres, and that the opposite in any part of the region must be considered as potential threat to the ECOWAS vision.

He said members of the organised criminal groups and terrorists took advantage of porosity of borders and play on the frequent reluctance of law enforcement authorities, therefore stressing the need for strong structures.

He indicated GIABA’s commitment to work in synergy with other bodies to intensify ongoing efforts against organised crimes and expressed the hope that the forum would help to address the gender and youth dimensions.

The Director for EGDC, Mrs Sandra Oulate Fattah described organised crime as a major challenge on the continent, and expressed worry over the growing involvement of women and the youth as actors and victims.

She said women and youth who constitute a significant portion of the African population were being targeted and recruited  by terrorists and criminals into their networks.

She said there was the need for gender and youth issues to be mainstreamed into the relevant policies and mechanisms as it would bring about equitable participation in decision making and help mitigate effects of the crimes.

Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo called for strong alliance within the sub-region to effectively fight financial and cross border crimes.

In doing so, she said there was the need to critically address the disparities in gender and high rate of youth unemployment and invest in education in order to produce the right set of people for development.

“We also need to strengthen the cross border law enforcement agencies so as to enable them effectively check the frequent crimes that impede its external relations and development,” she said.

By Jonathan Donkor

 

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