Positive Move: SADC takes bold action


Sadc has moved in to curb illicit financial flows within the region through the operationalisation of the Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

The inaugural meeting of the committee is planned to take place next month, buttressing the provision of Annex 12 of the Sadc Protocol on Finance and Investment.

Among others, the committee is expected to facilitate the convergence of the AML/CFT policies, laws, and regulatory practices of Sadc member States within the framework of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

This supports the effective and proportional action against money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the region.

With the operationalisation of this committee, Sadc has said this will be able to address AML/CFT issues for the banking and non-banking sectors.

The creation of this committee will further help mitigate the effects of criminal economic activity and promote the integrity and stability of the financial markets.

In a recent statement, the Sadc secretariat said the operationalisation of the Sadc AML/CFT committee follows the decision made by the ministers of finance and investment at their meeting held in the Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2023.

It said the decision was informed by the recommendations from the two studies commissioned under the Support to Improving Investment and Business Environment (SIBE) Programme.

This includes the assessment of the level of risk for the implementation of the FATF Recommendations, the assessment of the national authorities’ capacities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing structures and proliferation financing, and the national authorities’ capacity-building programme.

The director of finance ofu investment and customs at the Sadc secretariat, Mr Sadwick Mtonakutha assured all AML/CFT/CPF actors that the regional bloc was paying special attention to the agenda of the fight against AML/CFT/CPF in the region.

“Actions at this level will continue to be crucial due to the constant increase in money laundering crimes, exacerbated by the escalation of criminal networks in the region and beyond,” he said.

“The main objective of these efforts is to maintain the Sadc region as an investment destination with stable, efficient, and integrated financial systems.”

The Sadc Protocol on Finance and Investment already calls for Member States to adopt the FATF recommendations, following which the Sadc secretariat has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Secretariat to formalise its relationship in respect of AML-CFT.

The operationalisation of the Sadc AML/CFT Committee will be undertaken in close collaboration with the ESAAMLG secretariat, said the bloc.

The Sadc AML/CFT Committee will play a leading role in maintaining initiatives to monitor the developments of member States on technical compliance with the FAFT recommendations.

“It will ensure capacity-building for member states to respond adequately to threats to financial stability arising from AML/CFT and contribute to the introduction of legal, political, and institutional improvements,” reads the statement.

“The committee will also contribute to mitigating the adverse effects of criminal economic activity and promoting integrity and stability in the financial markets.”

The SIBE programme is a five-year initiative (2019-2024) implemented by the Sadc secretariat and financed to the tune of 14 million euro by the EU under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

Its objective is to develop the region into a Sadc investment zone, promoting intra-regional investment and FDI in the Sadcregion, in particular for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

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