The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) has announced that it is prospecting for a digital solution provider to step up its fight against illicit financial transactions within the sub-region. The BEAC serves as the Central Bank for Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo,

Authorities of the bank said recently that they had published a call to tender for the selection process of an enterprise that will deploy the technology. They said they were expecting tenders to be submitted till 6 November 2020 after which the files will be scrutinized to choose a contractor.

Illicit Financial Flows. Source: Tackling illicit financial flows for sustainable development in Africa

The system will check illicit financial flows linked to terrorism

According to BEAC, the computerized system will enable the Bank to meticulously track and eliminate practices related to money laundering as well as the financing and proliferation of terrorism within the sub-region. The central African sub-region is notorious for acts of terrorism, with the Lake Chad area (which includes Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) particularly suffering the brunt of Boko Haram insurgency for nearly a decade now.

The new computer system to be put in place means that the bank will be able to track such illicit financial transactions both in the formal and informal sectors of member-countries using dedicated software.

The move by BEAC to upgrade its financial flow monitoring system within the sub-region is coming in the wake of growing concerns about the proliferation of illicit financial transactions, some of which are believed to be linked to the financing of terrorism.

Growing concerns about illicit financial transactions in Africa

A recent report by an outfit known as the Action Group against Money Laundering highlighted the fact that instances of money laundering were on the rise in the sub-region, but that there were no adequate corresponding measures by the financial regulators to check the situation.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its Economic Development in Africa Report for 2020 published late last month, underlined how economic growth is retarded on the continent due to illicit financial flows. The report estimates that Africa could save up to $89 billion annually by curbing the practice.

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