• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Blockchain, AI to help Africa’s fight against illicit financial flows

We ‘ll not betray you, EFCC assures whistle-blowers

Olanipekun Olukoyede, the chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in tackling illicit financial flows (IFFs) in Africa.

This was disclosed during his address at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation.

According to him, the $88.6 billion annual loss reported due to illicit financial flows across African nations emphasised the critical need for advanced technological solutions to curb these illegal activities.

Olukoyede stressed the importance of establishing robust legal frameworks and enhancing capacity at national, regional, and international levels to combat IFFs effectively.

He advocated for the adoption of advanced technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, and AI to improve asset tracking and recovery efforts.

“Integration of these technologies could significantly enhance the effectiveness of anti-corruption initiatives and financial monitoring systems across the continent,” he said.

The chairman highlighted the significant impact that recovered funds could have on infrastructure, healthcare, and education across Africa.

As an example of successful international cooperation, he cited the recovery of $311 million from the United States in 2020, funds linked to former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. This recovery showcased the potential of global collaboration and the use of sophisticated technologies in tracking and repatriating illicit financial assets.

“By adopting and integrating blockchain and AI technologies, countries across the continent can strengthen their financial systems, enhance transparency, and ensure that vital resources are directed towards sustainable development and the well-being of their citizens,” Olukoyede said.