ECOWAS Ambassadors Laud GIABA For Cutting Terrorists’ Financing

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ECOWAS

By Victor Asije

Dakar – The Ambassadors of ECOWAS member-states in
Senegal have commended the Inter- Governmental Action against Money
Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) for reducing terrorists’ financing in
the West African region.

GIABA is a specialised institution of ECOWAS and the Financial Action
Task Force-Styled Regional Body (FSRB), with the mandate to protect
the economies of member-states from the laundering of the proceeds of
crime.

The Doyen of ECOWAS Ambassadors in Senegal, Amb. Benita Cisse, gave the
commendation on Thursday in Dakar at GIABA’s Annual Briefing Session
for Ambassadors and Development Partners.

Cisse, the Ambassador of Mali to Senegal, said that GIABA’s efforts were
contributing to the realisation of the ECOWAS Vision 2020, good
governance and economic prosperity in West Africa.

“In recent times, there have been insurgencies in some West African
countries. One of the cardinal activities of GIABA is to assist our
member-states to combat terrorist financing.

“Through this activity, GIABA is helping our member-states to develop
mechanisms for cutting off funding for terrorist groups or individual
terrorists which will eventually help to stem terrorism in the region,’’
she said.

Represented by the Ambassador of Gambia to Senegal, Amb. Ebrima
Ndure, Cisse also congratulated the organisation for hosting the Annual
Briefing Session for Ambassadors and Development Partners in Senegal.

According to her, the session helps the various missions in Senegal to
know the activities, projects and trajectories of ECOWAS.

“I must also congratulate GIABA for implementing this important
activity in compliance with the directive of the ECOWAS authority that
ECOWAS should periodically brief member-states’ representatives on
their activities.

“We recognise the dual status of GIABA as both an ECOWAS institution
and as a Financial Task Force-Styled Regional Body (FSRB),’’ she said.

GIABA’s Director General, Justice Kimelabalou Aba, said that the
organsation was prepared to provide more technical assistance to
stakeholders in member-states.

Aba, however, told the ambassadors and development partners that the
organisation was being faced with the challenges of insufficient
technical staff at its Secretariat, inadequate interpreters and
translators.

He added that GIABA had also observed lack of understanding among
experts engaged in carrying out mutual evaluations of member-
states.

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in
West Africa (GIABA), is a specialised institution of the Economic Community
of West African States responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation

of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT)
in West Africa.

It is also the FATF-Style Regional Body (FSRB) in West Africa and works with
member-States in the region to ensure compliance with international AML/CFT
standards.

GIABA was established in 2000 and has its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal.

The body consists of the 17 member-states of ECOWAS.

GIABA grants Observer Status to African and non-African States, as well as
Inter-Governmental Organizations that support its objectives and actions and
which have applied for observer status.

The following organizations are also eligible for observer status within GIABA:
the Central Banks of Signatory States, regional Securities and Exchange
Commissions and UEMOA, Banque Ouest Africaine pour le Développement
(BOAD), the French Zone Anti-Money Laundering Liaison Committee
(Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Public et des Marchés Financiers).

Others include the African Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Office
on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), the FATF,  Interpol, WCO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the
European Union.

In 2007, Observer status was granted to the Egmont Group.

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