The workshop was officially opened by Mrs. Rekha Mhango, Deputy Governor, Administration, of the Bank of Zambia. She welcomed all participants and highlighted the importance of the event in addressing pressing issues related to money laundering, terrorism financing, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Mrs. Mhango emphasized that the world faces significant threats from these illicit activities, perpetrated by individuals, organized criminal syndicates, and corporations. These activities not only pose security risks but also undermine economic stability, transparency, and efficiency, leading to increased poverty and suffering. Furthermore, they can weaken financial institutions and compromise the integrity of financial systems.
To combat these challenges, nations worldwide have united under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to implement measures aimed at preventing, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting those involved in these crimes. The workshop underscored the importance of global cooperation and collaboration in addressing these issues.
Regional and national initiatives to combat money laundering and terrorism financing were discussed. Regional groups like the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and individual country efforts were acknowledged. A robust Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, supported by legal and regulatory frameworks, was identified as essential for success. It was stressed that financial institutions must understand and mitigate AML/CFT risks.
The Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), has actively led initiatives to combat money laundering and related crimes. Their efforts are geared toward eliminating these activities from the financial sector, protecting the financial system’s integrity, and supporting economic development.
The importance of continuously enhancing AML/CFT capabilities in financial institutions was highlighted. Compliance with rules and regulations and fulfilling obligations and responsibilities under existing AML/CFT regimes were emphasized. Building capacity to protect against abuse by money launderers was identified as crucial.
The workshop aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of AML/CFT risks, provide a comprehensive overview of the fight against money laundering from global, regional, and local perspectives, and cover measures to effectively combat money laundering and enhance compliance with international standards such as FATF Recommendations and UN Security Council Resolutions.
The workshop organizers, MEFMI and the Bank of Zambia, were thanked for their meticulous planning and execution. The Financial Intelligence Centre’s participation and sponsorship of certain activities were also appreciated.
Mrs. Rekha Mhango officially declared the workshop open, encouraging participants to explore the beautiful city of Livingstone on the banks of the Zambezi River, near the majestic Victoria Falls.