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US & SA treasury form a task team to track illegal trade in wildlife

Umamah Bakharia | ub@radioislam.co.za

2 min read
26 January 2023 | 13:00 CAT

The United States (US) Treasury Department and South Africa’s National Treasury have formed a task force to “follow the money” in an effort to step up surveillance on illegal trade in wildlife.

Picture credit: African Travel Canvas


Speaking at the Dinokeng Game Reserve outside Pretoria, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the force would work to boost information sharing between the countries’ financial intelligence units which will in turn strengthen controls to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Through closer collaboration to target illicit proceeds linked to wildlife trafficking, as well as an overlapping criminal activity like corruption, fraud, and drug trafficking, we are taking a step in the right direction today,” says Yellen.

The partnership comes as reports claim that the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – which evaluates money laundering and illicit financing, could add South Africa to its “grey list” when it meets in February 2023.

Grey-listed countries are subject to greater monitoring by the FATF as the countries are at higher risk for money laundering and terrorist financing.

South Africa is the last stop on Yellen’s three-country tour of Africa, which forms part of the Biden administration’s push to deepen U.S. economic ties with Africa.

The partnership is also to provide a counterweight to China’s dominance in trade and investment on the African continent for the past decade.

Meanwhile, Conservation Strategy Fund ranks illegal wildlife trafficking as the world’s fourth-largest internationally-organised crime, with annual revenues of $7 billion to $23 billion.


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