European businesses will no longer be punished for investing in Mauritius, the Bahamas, Botswana, Ghana and Iraq.
The year opened happily for a handful of nations lifted from the EU’s financial blacklist: Mauritius, the Bahamas, Botswana, Ghana and Iraq.
For the island nation of Mauritius, which had labored to build a robust international financial center, it was particularly painful to be identified as a jurisdiction with “strategic deficiencies” in anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). The country was blacklisted by the EU in October 2020.
However, having already had its problems flagged by the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Mauritian government was already collaborating with international officials, and had enacted an improved version of the AML/CFT law. Yash Beeharee, head of Compliance for Mauritius at financial services firm Sanne Group, reckons that being removed from the list “validates the series of bold and in-depth measures,” including the new, stronger laws as well as deeper cooperation with the global FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group.
Regaining its status as a trusted platform for global transactions was critical for Mauritius, which has been building its economy, with some success, around the financial services sector. Last year alone, the country strengthened economic collaboration with not only Africa but also China and India with key trade and economic agreements, including enactment of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement with China, and the signing of the Composite Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement with India.