Angola's Anti-Money Laundering Efforts Stand-Out at ARINSA Conference 2023: A Victory
in Port Louis
Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius, 12 October 2023 – At the General-Assembly of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network For Southern Africa (ARINSA), the Republic of Angola’s Attorney General Office (PGR) was bestowed an Award of Excellence presented in recognition of its efforts to prevent and combat illicit financial flows and money laundering. The PGR was specifically commended for being the institution that recovered and confiscated the most assets in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region for the past 3 years.
The award was presented to the Angolan delegation as a whole, headed by the Vice Attorney General Dr. Inocência Pinto and the Director of the National Asset Recovery Service (SENRA) Dr. Eduarda Rodriges. At the conference, during the State presentations, Dr. Eduarda Rodrigues revealed that the Asset Recovery process in Angola is already having a significant impact for the country, with the proceeds of such assets being mobilised for the construction of schools and hospitals.
A Zambian delegate was inspired by Angola’s achievement, stating that: “I am very moved by what our Angolan colleagues have done. It makes me want to do the same for my country.”
ARINSA is an informal multi-agency network for Southern Africa dedicated to providing a cooperative framework to tackle the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime. It allows members to exchange information, model legislation and country laws in asset forfeiture, confiscation and money laundering
, increasing the effectiveness of members’ individual and collective efforts in depriving criminals of instrumentalities of crime and illicit profits as a dissuasive, crime preventive effort.
Money laundering is the illegal process of making large sums of money obtained from criminal activities appear legitimate by disguising their origins. This is largely connected to illicit financial flows, meaning, the cross-border exchanges of value, monetary or otherwise, which are illegally earned, transferred or used.
In Southern African countries, including Angola, money laundering and illicit financial flows have had severe consequences such as economic instability by undermining the economy, distorting market competition and investment, and ultimately enlarging pre-existing socio-economic gaps. In fact, according to the Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), illicit financial flows are estimated to cost Africa around $88.6 billion per year, roughly 3.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
In February 2021, UNODC launched its Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, also recognizing the threat illicit financial flows pose to the continent’s sustainable development, human security and governance.
Angola’s ANRISA award is evidence of steps in the right direction. It demonstrates that Angolan authorities have intensified their efforts to combat these issues, taking significant steps to seize and freeze the proceeds of crime both nationally and transnationally. This award also stands as a demonstration of its institutions’ operational cooperation and dedicated strategic efforts in tackling money laundering and illicit financial flows, particularly the National Asset Recovery Service (SENRA). These efforts evince the commitment needed to achieve the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the African Union Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.
Of particular importance to this feat is the EU funded project PRO-REACT launched in 2021 and implemented in partnership by the Attorney General’s Office in Angola (PGR) and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Project PRO-REACT, aims to develop an effective system to counter illicit financial flows and contribute to higher economic growth and poverty reduction in Angola, namely by strengthening the national asset forfeiture system in the country,
reinforcing laws against organized crime and money laundering and asset forfeiture capacities at various institutional levels, including law enforcement and magistrates.
Angola's victory in Port Louis stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and dedicated efforts in the fight against money laundering and illicit financial flows. The transformative impact of Project PRO-REACT showcases the importance of international partnerships in combating organized crime and promoting development.
UNODC conveys its warm congratulations to Angola and hopes to continue to support the country on its journey towards a future free of crime, promoting transparency, enhancing accountability and fostering sustainable development.