Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (“MENAFATF”) concluded, this morning, Wednesday, 16 November 2021, and over two days, the works of the MENAFATF 33rd Plenary, which was held in Cairo, the Arab Republic of Egypt under the chairmanship of His Excellency Counselor/ Ahmed Saeed Hussein Khalil – MENAFATF President, Vice-President of the Court of Cassation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Egyptian Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit (“EMLCU”).
The meeting witnessed the attendance of the heads of delegations and experts in anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (“AML/CFT”) from member countries, in addition to experts from the observer countries and the international bodies concerned with AML/CFT and proliferation, under the leadership of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), the United Nations (“UN”), Germany, Australia and other countries and bodies.
It is worth noting that the concluded Plenary was preceded by a number of MENAFATF’s working groups’ meetings “virtual meetings” during the period from 07 to 11 November 2021, which included the 38th meeting of the Mutual Evaluation Working Group (“MEWG”), the 32nd meeting of the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group (“TATWG”), and the 31st meeting of the Financial intelligence Units (“FIUs”) Forum, and the 13th meeting of the Risk Committee (“RC”).
Over the course of two days, the plenary discussed a number of administrative issues related to the MENAFATF work set on its agenda, the most important of which are the MENAFATF’s strategic plan for 2022-2024, the report of the MENAFATF’s advisory committee, the MENAFATF’s latest activities, and issues related to membership therein, whereas the plenary considered the observer request submitted by the Russian Federation, in addition other relevant matters.
within the area of ME process, a number of subsequent Follow-Up Reports (“EFURs”) was adopted, including the 3rd EFUR of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania; the 1st EFUR of the United Arab Emirates, which included a Technical Compliance re-rating request for some recommendations; The two EFURs of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Tunisia which were discussed and approved without a Technical Compliance re-rating request, as the reports of each country clarified the efforts exerted in the course of addressing the shortcomings during the implementation of the recommended actions contained in their reports; Adoption of the timetable for both, the Mutual Evaluation under the second round and the Follow-Up process under the first round, as well as the timetable for the Follow-Up process under the second round.
In the same context, the Plenary adopted several typologies reports projects, where the fourth edition of the 2020 typologies project report and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the AML/CFT systems in the Middle East and North Africa were approved. In addition, the Plenary reviewed several other topics, including the training programs plan and webinars for 2022, the e-learning platform and other future projects.
These meetings come within the framework of strengthening and unifying regional and international efforts in the Middle East and North Africa to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation to protect the economic, social and political systems from the risks of such crimes.
On the other hand, the Plenary addressed the MENAFATF’s relationship with international and regional bodies and organizations working in the field of AML/CFT, as well as the current and future cooperation therewith, including with the FATF.