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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

EU’s fight against money laundering in West Africa

The European Union launched on March, 18 a new project which will contribute to the fight against money laundering in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde. The project will help law enforcement agencies to better investigate money laundering, and thereby fight organized crime. At the same time, it is expected to increase regional cooperation among these countries which are part of the "Cocaine route", i.e. the route used by South American drug cartels to ship drugs into Europe.
Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development believes that drug trafficking needs to be addressed globally, as in West African countries, the money laundering, generated by illegal profits, “destabilizes whole economies, threatening both their development and their stability."
The Anti-money laundering project is worth €1.8 million and is funded under the Instrument for Stability (IfS), as part of the "Cocaine Route Programme", which has as aim to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement and judicial services of the EU partner countries in the fight against international criminal networks, while fully respecting human rights. The Cocaine Route Programme started in 2009 and is trans-regional, with activities covering 36 countries, of which half are in Africa (mainly West-Africa), five are in the Caribbean and the rest are in Latin and Central America. The programme seeks to establish gradual stronger links with West Africa.
At present, the West Africa suffers from a lack of regulation of the non-financial sector, which plays an important role in the laundering of funds in cash based economies. There is also currently insufficient cooperation between the countries in the region, which is crucial to counter cross-border threats such as organised crime. In addition the law enforcement agencies often lack capacity and access to information.
The Instrument for Stability (IfS) is a tool that links security and development, as it fills gaps where or other instruments cannot be used.The Instrument can be used to address trans-regional threats to security.

Source: European Commission