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GIABA, ECOWAS to deliberate on Gender, Youth and financial crime in sub region

General News

The deputy minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Gifty Twum Ampofo, has applauded the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa and the Economic Community of West African States for coming up with a comprehensive framework to mainstream gender and youth dimensions into the fight against financial crimes in the sub-region.

The deputy minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Gifty Twum Ampofo, has applauded the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa and the Economic Community of West African States for coming up with a comprehensive framework to mainstream gender and youth dimensions into the fight against financial crimes in the sub-region.

 

Madam Twum Ampofo said this in a speech at a three day forum jointly organized by GIABA and ECOWAS Gender Development Centre in Accra yesterday.

According to the deputy minister, the ECOWAS region is very important to Ghana because women constitute about fifty two percent of the total population.

She added that as a result if the generally increased reports of financial and cross-border crimes, it had become pertinent to find pragmatic ways to curb the menace.

The deputy minister described financial and cross-border crimes such as human and drug trafficking, cybercrimes, fraud and terrorism as some of the dangers that affect development in the ECOWAS region.

"Among all of these, women who are in the majority suffer the most. We can all attest to what happened over the past few years in other countries within the sub region. We in Ghana remember our dear Professor Kofi Awoonor, a former chairman of the Council of State who was killed in the Westgate Mall terror attack in Kenya in September 2013.

These have all been bad news to the development of our sub-region. This is because transnational crimes take advantage to globalization, trade liberalization and exploding new technologies," she stressed.

She stated that as part of measures to mitigate these menace, the NPP government had institutions and legal framework such as Narcotic Control Board, Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Human Trafficking Unit.

"Government has also enacted the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) which prescribe, punishes perpetrators of human trafficking and provides for the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking.”

Madam Twum Ampofo outlined that other activities government had put in place are continuous education and sensitization to highlight the nature of trafficking, hazards associated with the phenomenon, prosecution of offenders, and victim protection.

She emphasized that capacity building training had also been organized for some stakeholders including the police, immigration, customs, excise and preventive services, the navy, the judiciary and prosecutors among others in this arena.

The deputy minister, however, cautioned that in addressing the matter holistically, there should be the need to critically address the disparities in gender and high rate of youth unemployment in the region.

She stated that there should be the need to further invest in quality education in order to produce the right set of people for development.

"We also have to strengthen the cross-border law enforcement agencies so as to enable them effectively check the frequent crimes that impede its external relations and development," the deputy minister said.

In her remarks, the Director of ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, Sandra Oulate Fattah , mentioned that it is estimated that sixty six per cent of the West African population is less than twenty five years with significant proportion being women and young people  who are out of school.

This, she stated, makes them target for terrorists and other criminals for recruitment into their networks.

Oulate Fattoh specified that it was for this reason that GIABA and ECOWAS gender centre had decided to combine forces in order to create synergy in dealing with the converging threats of economic and financial crimes within the framework of gender mainstreaming and women and youth empowerment.

The deputy Director General of GIABA, Brian Anku Sapati, said GIABA is mandated to integrate the implementation of the financial action task force standards into the ECOWAS regional economic integration programme.

He added that the mission of the inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West is to promote concerted actions in the design and diligent implementation of harmonized anti-money laundering.