Zimbabwe’s reintegration into the global economy and financial systems took another step forward at the end of last week when the Financial Action Task Force, an expert group set up by the G7 in 1989, agreed that we had tightened up our banking system in both theory and practice to make money laundering very difficult.
This meant we were removed from the FATF “grey list”, a watch-it list, and that in turn means it is a lot simpler for global banks to deal with our banks and for global investors to bring their money into Zimbabwe.
The default for dealing with Zimbabwean banks now is that they and the banking system they operate in are compliant with international standards.
That in turn means there is a lot less checking needed whenever someone wants to buy something from Zimbabweans, sell something to Zimbabweans or invest money in Zimbabwe.
The grey list does not mean that these transactions were banned, but that external banks needed to check more things out, and that costs money and so some did not want to bother.
We are not out of the woods yet, mind you, since the largely financial sanctions imposed by the US and some other western countries mean that some American banks in particular will still need under their country’s laws to make checks, but these are far simpler and those banks can assume that the Zimbabwean banks they are dealing with are open.
So even here we win since over-compliance with sanctions has been identified as a major cause of transfer difficulties.
Meeting agreed global standards on money laundering and potential terrorism funding was not something that Zimbabwe had to be forced to do, although we bet that there was pressure on the FATF experts to be particularly strict when they were checking us out.
We also wanted to make money laundering and dubious payments a lot more difficult, hence we passed our own Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act in 2013 and tightened this up in 2020 under the Second Republic, largely to give muscle to our anti-corruption drive and make it a lot more effective as the battle against corruption moved up our agenda into the priority areas.
More to the point, we have been applying our own laws. In Zimbabwe money laundering is not really an international affair as we are not one of those countries that international criminals use to launder their money, although we do have drug …….