IMF PROJECT CRACK DOWN ON ILLICIT DIAMOND SELLS IN AFRICA: An IMF project will help 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that produce and deal in diamonds, gold, and precious minerals to strengthen their defenses against money laundering, smuggling, and terrorist financing. Africa produces an estimated $19 billion in gold per year and $6 billion in diamonds. But an unknown amount is laundered or siphoned each year for criminal purposes. The technical assistance will be conducted in two stages. For the first stage, two awareness-raising regional workshops are being organized in Tunis, Tunisia, featuring representatives from the four relevant government departments of each country. The first workshop is on March 8–12 for eight French-speaking countries. The second is planned for June 14–18, with participants from eight English-speaking countries. The primary objective of implementing an AML/CFT framework is to detect and deter the proceeds of predicate crimes such as fraud, drug trafficking, arms smuggling or corruption. But better regulations and oversight of the precious metals sector should also result in revenue increases for governments and have a positive impact on their fiscal situation.
Places where it is predominantly illicit diamonds.
WTO GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR TECHNOLOGY PROJECT: The United States grant will help provide internet connections, computer equipment for the operation of WTO Trade Reference Centers in these countries. The centers enable trade ministries to keep in touch with WTO activities via the WTO internet site and the Trade and Development Center, jointly operated by the WTO and the World Bank. Through these and other trade-related internet sites, ministries can gather information from electronic trade databases which will enable governments to better utilize the multi-lateral trading system. This U.S. contribution comes in addition to grants already provided for the same project by the governments of Norway, Hong-Kong and the Netherlands.