Nigerian official advocates blockchain, AI against illicit financial flows

The NFT Unicorn 54b41d40-b489-4366-bb8b-ae69ac954346 Nigerian official advocates blockchain, AI against illicit financial flows Crypto News

The chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, has emphasized the urgent need to leverage blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to address Africa’s rampant illicit financial flows (IFFs). 

According to local media, at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation, Olukoyede highlighted the staggering $88.6 billion lost annually from African countries due to IFFs.

Fighting illicit financial flows

The Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (PAC) is the premier annual forum of the African Union (AU). It brings together stakeholders across Africa to discuss IFFs and taxation. This platform facilitates sharing insights, strategies, and best practices to address the challenge of IFFs.

The financial watchdog chair said establishing robust legal frameworks and capacity building at national, regional, and international levels is essential. Olukoyede advocated for adopting advanced technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to enhance asset tracking and recovery efforts.

Source: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

Olukoyede stressed that these funds if recovered, could significantly enhance infrastructure, healthcare, and education across the continent. He pointed to successful recoveries, such as the $311 million repatriated from the United States in 2020 linked to former Nigerian Head of State Sani Abacha, as examples of practical international cooperation.

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According to Olukoyede, effective anti-corruption efforts require international pressure to ensure cooperation from tax havens and low-tax jurisdictions. He emphasized the need for strong advocacy to enforce this cooperation.

Blockchain and AI in Nigeria

However, Nigeria has recently taken steps to embrace blockchain technology and artificial intelligence.

In May, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) restructured the National Blockchain Policy Steering Committee (NBPSC) to reassess the policies guiding the implementation of the country’s National Blockchain Policy.

The review forms part of efforts to stay abreast of blockchain innovations and expand its reach by involving additional stakeholders, promoting comprehensive adoption and successful execution.

In April, NITDA advocated incorporating artificial intelligence into Nigeria’s security framework to improve outcomes. The agency’s director-general, Kashifu Inuwa, stressed that the security and IT sectors can work together to use technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve the security sector.

The NITDA is fostering AI growth in Nigeria through initiatives like the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) and the development of the National Artificial Intelligence Policy.

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Source: Cointelegraph