Botswana’s exit from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FAFT) grey list and the European Union (EU) black list will be determined by the outcome of an on-site assessment that will be discussed at the FAFT Plenary in October 2021, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame, has said.
In October 2018, FAFT made a determination that Botswana was not taking sufficient steps to implement recommendations made by assessors in a mechanism known as Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).
FAFT then recommended that the country be referred to International Cooperation Review (ICRG) for monitoring and potential listing, which is often referred to as FAFT grey listing. Following the FAFT grey listing, the European Union (EU) placed Botswana on its list of third high-risk countries, often referred to as the black list
Since then, Botswana has made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) to strengthen the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, passing a series of laws to plug deficiencies.
According to Minister Serame, Botswana has been making regular updates to FAFT’s International Compliance Review Group (ICRG) since being listed in 2018.
“At the June 2021 FAFT Plenary meetings, the FAFT made the initial determination that Botswana had substantially addressed the action plan, (that) this warranted an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of Botswana’s anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation in the future,” Serame said recently when updating the nation on the country status in relation to money-laundering and countering terrorism financing.
“Botswana is making all these efforts of complying with the FAFT standards so that we guard against our financial system being used for money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.” She noted that the country is hoping that the outcome of the on-site visit undertaken by the FAFT in August 2021 will bear positive results, leading to Botswana being de-listed from the FAFT grey listing.
The Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) was officially established in 1999 in Arusha, Tanzania through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As at the date of this Report, ESAAMLG membership comprises of 18 countries and also includes a number of regional and international observers such as AUSTRAC, COMESA, Commonwealth Secretariat, East African Community, Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, FATF, GIZ, IMF, SADC, United Kingdom, United Nations, UNODC, United States of America, World Bank and World Customs Organization.
ESAAMLG’s members and observers are committed to the effective implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation, in particular the FATF Recommendations.