Ethiopia, along with Uganda, became a member of the Egmont Group’s financial intelligence network. Egmont Group is the body of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) which provides financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The 26th plenary of Egmont group of FIUs held at the Netherlands with the key issues of new admissions of Ethiopia and Uganda along with Dominican Republic, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, and Turkmenistan. Egmont Group now has 164 members after the latest entries.
Acceptance into the group is seen internationally as a sign of the country’s determination to stamp out money-laundering and terrorist financing. Among the requirements, a country should enact sound laws and legislations guided by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001, its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing.
Ethiopia commenced to Egmont Group in 2010 after establishing Ethiopian Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) with anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regulation in 2009. In 2014, It drafted a bill replacing the 2009 rules to align more with FATF.
Countries and monetary institutions have benefited from joining the Egmont Group. After admission to the group in 2013, Vatican increased its financial transparency in response to financial scandals. Ethiopia’s membership to the group helps the country to combat money laundering, as FIUs are required to establish a national center to analyze suspicious transaction reports and information about money laundering and terrorism financing.
Elizabeth Mutanga, Head of Peace and Security Program for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said financial intelligence of the two-member states of COMESA would be benefited from the ability to exchange financial intelligence with other FIUs through a secure communication platform. She added, “Their personnel will also benefit from regular training by experts in the field as well as opportunities for personnel exchanges to enhance the effectiveness of FIUs.”
However, the fact that member states such as Malawi and Nigeria are encountering scandals shows joining Egmont Group doesn’t necessarily eliminate political corruption.