Strengthening financial defenses: an intensified fight against money laundering and terrorist financing


By Isaac BOADI (Prof) & Godwin MUSAH (Dr)

The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) is calling on banks, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies to join its Strategic Seminar Series focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT). This collaborative effort is designed to empower stakeholders across the financial sector with the latest strategies and insights to tackle financial crimes.

By participating in UPSA’s seminar series, stakeholders can stay ahead of evolving financial crime tactics, ensuring robust compliance practices and safeguarding the economic landscape of Ghana. The series is a critical step toward creating a united front against financial crimes, enhancing the resilience of Ghana’s financial sector against global threats.

In the heart of West Africa, Ghana stands as a beacon of economic progress and stability. Yet, like many nations, it faces the daunting challenges of money laundering and terrorist financing—issues that threaten to undermine its financial integrity and security. Recognizing the gravity of these threats, Ghana is ramping up its efforts to fortify its financial defenses, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to combating these illicit activities.

The global approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing is increasingly coordinated and strategic, involving a multitude of stakeholders across various sectors and countries, including Ghana. Nations worldwide are adopting comprehensive frameworks and collaborating internationally to tackle these issues effectively.

Global Efforts:

International Standards and Cooperation: Countries are aligning with international standards set by bodies like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which provides guidelines and policy recommendations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. International cooperation facilitates the sharing of intelligence, best practices, and mutual assistance in investigations and enforcement.

Regulatory and Legal Frameworks:

Nations are establishing and enhancing regulatory and legal frameworks to detect, prevent, and prosecute financial crimes. This includes enforcing strict compliance requirements on financial institutions, improving transparency in financial transactions, and establishing dedicated bodies to oversee and implement AML and CFT measures.

Technological Advancements:

The use of technology in monitoring and detecting suspicious activities is on the rise. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are being employed to enhance the effectiveness of AML and CFT efforts.

Public-Private Partnerships:

Collaboration between the public sector, financial institutions, and other private entities is strengthening the global response to these threats. Information sharing and joint initiatives are key components of these partnerships.

Education and Awareness:

Raising awareness and educating financial professionals and the public about the risks and indicators of money laundering and terrorist financing are crucial components of the global strategy.

Ghana’s Approach:

Ghana is actively participating in this global effort by enhancing its legal and regulatory frameworks, engaging in international cooperation, and investing in capacity building. The country is committed to improving its AML and CFT systems through:

Legislative Reforms:

Updating laws and regulations to meet international standards and address new challenges in financial crime.

Institutional Strengthening:

Empowering institutions like the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to effectively oversee and implement AML and CFT measures.

Capacity Building:

Enhancing the skills and knowledge of professionals in the financial sector and related fields to detect and respond to financial crimes.

Regional Collaboration

Engaging with neighboring countries and regional bodies to tackle cross-border financial crimes.

While significant progress has been made globally and in Ghana, eradicating money laundering and terrorist financing is an ongoing challenge that requires continuous effort, adaptation, and international cooperation. The commitment to a more secure and transparent global financial system remains a key priority for countries and institutions worldwide.

The financial landscape in Ghana, buoyed and boosted by rapid technological advancements and increasing globalization, presents a fertile ground for financial crimes if left unchecked. Money laundering and terrorist financing not only jeopardize the country’s financial system but also pose significant risks to its socio-economic development and international standing.

In response, Ghana’s financial sector, in collaboration with various stakeholders, is implementing a comprehensive strategy to strengthen its AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT (Counter-Financing of Terrorism) frameworks. These efforts are designed to ensure a robust, transparent, and resilient financial environment, safeguarding the nation’s economy and its citizens’ welfare.

Ghana’s strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing is multi-dimensional, encompassing legal, regulatory, and educational facets. The country has enacted stringent AML and CFT regulations, aligning with international standards and best practices. Financial institutions are now mandated to implement rigorous due diligence processes, monitor transactions meticulously, and report suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.

Key to Ghana’s defense strategy is the strengthening of its institutional frameworks. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), alongside the Bank of Ghana and other regulatory bodies, plays a pivotal role in identifying, analyzing, and mitigating potential threats of money laundering and terrorist financing. These institutions are equipped with enhanced capabilities to detect and respond to financial crimes effectively.

FAF Capacity Building and Education

Recognizing that knowledge is power, Ghana is investing in capacity building and education. Training programs for financial professionals, law enforcement, and judiciary members are being expanded, ensuring they are well-equipped to tackle AML and CFT challenges. Public awareness campaigns are also being intensified to educate citizens on the risks of financial crimes and the importance of reporting suspicious activities.

In the global fight against financial crimes, international collaboration is crucial. Ghana is actively engaging with global organizations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to share intelligence, adopt best practices, and participate in joint initiatives to combat money laundering and terrorist financing on a global scale.

While significant strides have been made, the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is ongoing. Ghana remains committed to adapting its strategies in response to evolving threats, ensuring the financial sector’s resilience and integrity.


The global and local efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing represent a critical and ongoing commitment to safeguarding the integrity and stability of the world’s financial systems, including Ghana’s. Through the adoption of international standards, strengthening of legal and regulatory frameworks, leveraging technological advancements, and fostering global and regional cooperation, significant strides have been made in identifying, preventing, and mitigating these financial crimes. Education and capacity building remain pivotal in cultivating a knowledgeable workforce and informed public to detect and deter illicit financial flows.

While challenges persist, the continued dedication to enhancing these measures is vital for promoting economic stability, preventing crime, and ensuring a secure financial future on both a global and national scale.

By fostering a culture of compliance and transparency, Ghana is not only protecting its financial system but also contributing to global efforts to eradicate financial crimes.

In this concerted fight, every stakeholder has a role to play—from financial institutions and regulators to the public. It is through collective vigilance and action that Ghana can secure its financial defenses, ensuring a prosperous and stable future for all its citizens. So, this FAF Innovate Project + Program aims to support the battle against money laundering and the funding of terrorism in Ghana with its FAF Strategic Seminar Series for all stakeholders in Ghana and beyond.

Prof. Boadi is the Dean, Faculty of Accounting and Finance (FAF), University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and Dr. Musah is a Lecturer, Department of Banking and Finance University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA)

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