OCWAR-M – Organised Crime : West African Response to Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism
In West Africa, organised crime is multifaceted: trafficking in drugs, arms, human beings… Its transnational dimension makes it difficult to neutralise and this entails human, economic and security costs for countries.
But organised crime, of whatever type, also generates financial flows. Identifying and neutralising them contributes to limiting the operational capacity of criminal and/or terrorist groups.
This is why the European Union’s priority is to strengthen the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT). Consequently, alongside its own actions in this field, the European Union finances technical cooperation projects to help countries improve their tools to fight against illicit financial flows.
The OCWAR-M project is part of this approach and, along with OCWAR-T (Trafficking) and OCWAR-C (Cybercrime), is among the projects financed by the European Union to fight against organised crime in West Africa.
Strengthening tools to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing
The primary objective of OCWAR-M is to contribute to the adoption and effective application of international standards to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT).
To this end, the objective of OCWAR-M will be to achieve:
• A better understanding of the ML/FT risks by partner countries and an enhanced coordination of actions at national level;
• Greater compliance of the legislative regimes of partner countries with international standards and a more effective implementation of these regimes;
• Enhanced national, regional and international cooperation, in particular to facilitate the sharing of quality financial information and the strengthening of the capacities of prosecution authorities;
• Operational capacity building for GIABA, the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, which is the ECOWAS specialised institution responsible for building the capacities of Member States in this field.
The team of French experts based in Dakar has been mobilised by Expertise France and combines expertise in project coordination, as well as in the financial and legal aspects of AML/CFT. It will work closely with GIABA and the various stakeholders directly concerned from partner countries (institutional stakeholders, operational stakeholders, professions subject to taxation, financial institutions, civil society).
The support will include very practical training for the various stakeholders, based on actual cases. It will also strengthen the legal framework for intervention (regulations, manuals, procedural guides…) and the tools required (computer equipment, information analysis software…) to increase the effectiveness of the prevention and prosecution of crime. Finally, cooperation will be sought with the private sector and in particular with banks and NGOs, which have a role to play in detecting and reporting illicit financial flows.
A 6-month start-up phase enabled to carry out an assessment of the 16 countries concerned, to define a detailed action plan for the implementation of activities adapted to each country and to ensure that any duplication of actions already carried out by national, regional and international stakeholders in AML/CFT was avoided.
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