In October 2023, the IIJ conducted the third in a series of workshops on Mitigating Risks Associated with Abuse of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) for Terrorist Financing Purposes in West Africa. The event, which reconvened the same cohort from two previous programs to maximise progressive expertise building and networking as well as brought in new participants, provided support in building knowledge and skills on preventing, identifying and disrupting illegal activities involving DNFBPs that contribute to financing of terrorist groups in the region.
The programme, implemented since 2021 with generous financial support from the Government of Germany, is largely focused on improving interagency cooperation and public-private dialogue. Capitalising on strong partnerships with UNODC and GIABA, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the host country Cote d’Ivoire, the IIJ has succeeded in creating a community of high-level professionals specialising in DNFBPs and their role in countering the financing of terrorism (CFT). The 2023 workshop, attended by representatives of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo, advanced participants’ mastery in mitigating specific sectoral risks, monitoring CFT obligations of high-risk sectors, building public-private trust and cooperation, promoting procedural and institutional change at workplace, and implementing risk-based supervision measures.
The participants represented key state actors involved in CFT, namely financial intelligence units, prosecution, judiciary, and regulatory authorities; as well as the private sector – lawyers, notaries, chartered accountants, microfinance organisations and industry self-regulating bodies.
The delegations highlighted how this series of IIJ programmes has impacted their daily work. In particular, the delegation of Senegal reported using takeaways from the previous workshop to identify weaknesses in their CFT regulations, such as the lack of mechanisms to address reporting entities that don’t adequately comply with their CFT obligations. The delegation stated that the authority managed to fix the gaps and achieved a significant improvement in the effectiveness of their inspections and follow-up communications with the private sector, resulting in the increase of the compliance level among the inspected businesses.
The IIJ will continue working with this motivated group of practitioners, continuing to help improve CFT mechanisms in the West African region.