The Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) and the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC) will be organizing a Joint Regional Consultative Meeting on Gender and Youth Dimensions of Financial and Transnational Crimes in West Africa, for representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Gender, Justice, Security/Internal Affairs, Civil Society Organizations, ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies and Development Partners at the M-Plaza Hotel in Accra, Ghana, from 28th to 30th August 2017.

The key objective of this Consultative Meeting is to bring together the main stakeholders in ECOWAS Member States to share knowledge, experiences and best practices. This will enable the mapping out a global framework for the incorporation of the gender and youth dimension in the fight against financial crime, particularly money laundering, terrorism financing and related crimes in the ECOWAS region. This forum also seeks to facilitate the development of policies, strategies and programmes designed to combat financial and other related crimes; to develop a consensual approach on how strategic and operational issues relating to gender and youth can be addressed as well the relevant mechanisms to be mapped out in order to combat these scourges. Finally, this meeting will provide an opportunity to establish the framework for sustainable regional partnership on gender, youth and anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism in West Africa.

This forum, to be jointly organized by the two ECOWAS Institutions responsible for the fight against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing and the Promotion of Gender and Women’s Empowerment respectively, is a sequel to the 49th Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Dakar (Senegal) on 4th June 2016, which had directed the ECOWAS Commission to convene an emergency meeting to map out a support framework for Member States in their efforts to sensitize and educate the citizenry against radicalization and violent extremism.

In this regard, taking into account the proportion of women (52%) and youths (66%) in the overall population in West Africa, according to studies, and considering their increasing vulnerability, their involvement at various levels in financial and transnational crimes, GIABA and the EGDC have decided to coordinate efforts in order to create synergy and convergence by incorporating the gender and youth dimensions to effectively combat these financial crimes in all their ramifications.

During this three-day event, presentations will be made during plenary sessions and group discussions on topical issues of financial crimes and related challenges, while laying special emphasis on money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the gender and youth dimension of these phenomena.

The expected outcomes of this Accra meeting include: the development of a regional action plan on the gender and youth component of the fight against transnational financial crimes in West Africa; the establishment of a framework for sustainable regional partnership on gender, youth and the fight against transnational financial crime in West Africa; and finally, the establishment of a network of practitioners in the fight against financial crimes, money laundering and terrorist financing with a gender perspective.