Blockchain and AI: Combatting Illicit Financial Flows in Africa

Leveraging Advanced Technologies to Strengthen Financial Integrity and Boost Economic Growth in Africa
Blockchain and AI: Combatting Illicit Financial Flows in Africa

The chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olanipekun Olukoyede, has emphasized the critical role of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in tackling illicit financial flows (IFFs) across Africa. Speaking at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation, Olukoyede highlighted the staggering $88.6 billion lost annually to IFFs in African countries. He called for the adoption of advanced technologies to enhance asset tracking and recovery efforts, which could significantly bolster infrastructure, healthcare, and education on the continent.

The conference, a key annual forum of the African Union, brings together stakeholders to discuss strategies and best practices for addressing IFFs. Olukoyede stressed the importance of establishing robust legal frameworks and capacity building at national, regional, and international levels. He cited the successful recovery of $311 million linked to former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha as an example of effective international cooperation.

Nigeria has been proactive in embracing blockchain and AI. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has restructured the National Blockchain Policy Steering Committee to stay abreast of blockchain innovations and promote comprehensive adoption. In addition, NITDA advocates for incorporating AI into Nigeria’s security framework, leveraging technologies like AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve security outcomes.

Olukoyede's remarks underscore the transformative potential of blockchain and AI in combating financial crimes and fostering economic development. By enhancing transparency and efficiency, these technologies can play a pivotal role in curbing illicit financial activities and promoting sustainable growth across Africa.

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