EU Considers Ghana as Covid Vaccine Manufacturing Hub, Removes West African Country from Money Laundering List

EU Considers Ghana as Covid Vaccine Manufacturing Hub, Removes West African Country from Money Laundering List

The European Union has announced plans to remove Ghana from the list of countries that are deficient anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.

The decision to remove Ghana from the list followed a two-day working visit by the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankw Akufo-Addo to Brussels, Belgium from the 19th to 20th May, 2021.

A statement by the Acting Director of Communications, Office of the President of Ghana, Eugene Arhin said Akufo-Addo met with the President of the European Council Charles Michel where he intimated the EU with efforts of his government in implementing the action plan of the International Country Risk Guide.

The statement said the EU acknowledged the efforts made by Ghana in this regard and has decided to remove the country from the list of the countries that are deficient anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.

“It is expected that the Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, will, in June 2021, announce that Ghana has been taken off its list of high risk, third world countries with strategic deficiencies in Anti-money Laundering and Countering of Terrorism Financing,” the statement added.

The statement also said that the Vice President of the European Commission, Vadis Dombrovskis, the commission indicated the selection of Ghana as a possible manufacturing hub for Covid-19 vaccines in Africa.

This, according to the commission follows the initiatives already taken by the Government of Ghana towards the domestic manufacturing of vaccines.

The statement said taskforce teams from the EU and Ghana will meet shortly to discuss modalities towards the realization of this initiative.

The Ghanian president had already secured one hundred and seventy million euros (€170 million) from EIB for the establishment of the Development Bank, Ghana.

Last month, United Kingdom exempted Nigeria from its list of high-risk countries for money laundering. The list, comprising 21 countries, was released as part of post-Brexit developments.

Until the end of the Brexit transition period, the list of high-risk countries was determined by the European Union under the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive.

However, from January 1, 2021, the UK has had its own standalone list. Since then, any amendments made by the European Union to its list do not have effect in the UK. The EU had in March 2019 added Nigeria to countries on its “dirty money blacklist”.

The EU said the nations in this category pose a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering.

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, however, announced that Nigeria was officially withdrawn from the list by the Council of Europe on March 5, 2019.

Ghana, Senegal, Iran and Morocco are among the countries listed in the UK’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021 which took effect on March 26.

Others include Syria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

“These Regulations amend the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (S.I. 2017/692) (“the MLRs”) to insert as Schedule 3ZA a new UK list of high-risk third countries for the purposes of enhanced customer due diligence requirements,” an explanatory note attached to the regulation read.

Regulation 2 substitutes for the definition of “high-risk third country” in regulation 33(3)(a) of the MLRs a definition which refers to the list of countries in this Schedule, rather than to the list in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 of 14th July 2016 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (“the CDR”). It also makes a consequential amendment to a further reference to the CDR. Regulation 3 revokes the CDR.”

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