Kenya has launched a financial flows toolkit to help track, share information and seize money involved in illegal wildlife trade.
Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is the fourth largest organised crime after drugs, people and counterfeiting, costing $23billion annually.
According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, the new tool will support financial institutions including our Central bank, and other commercial banks, and Safaricom in tackling illicit money flows associated with illegal wildlife
He spoke at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Nairobi where the launch took place.
“We are committed to combating illegal wildlife trade and particularly saving endangered species. Today, the Pangolin is the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. We’re therefore grateful to all convening partners coming together with the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in launching this toolkit that will contribute to the safeguarding of our flora and fauna for the benefit of future generations,” he added.
UK Minister for Environment, Lord Goldsmith welcomed Kenya’s continued efforts in prioritising tackling the illegal wildlife trade. He described the toolkit as an important part of our wider partnership on tackling illicit finance.
“It will help financial institutions identify and report suspicious transactions making it difficult for criminal networks to profit off the illegal wildlife trade,” he said.
The toolkit builds on the landmark UK-UAE Partnership agreement to tackle illicit financial flows, formed in September 2021.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year; and rhino poaching has soared since 2007 with an average death rate of around 100 rhinos per month.
Data from TRAFFIC confirms that at least 23.5 tonnes of pangolins and their parts were trafficked in 2021 alone.
The toolkit was developed in a multilateral collaboration between the UK Serious Organised Crime Network in collaboration with UAE and Kenyan governments, WWF, TRAFFIC, Themis, UK government, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and cross sector partners including Safaricom.
The toolkit will help law enforcement and financial institutions such as banks and mobile money service providers to detect and share information with other countries in an effort to address suspicious transactions relating to trafficking in wildlife.
It will focus mainly on the Africa to Asia route – including global financial centres, in particular the UAE, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Through public-private partnerships and international co-operation, the toolkit is expected to establish strong foundations of information sharing to fight crime.
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