The Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence for the US Treasury, Brian E. Nelson has on Thursday concluded his second trip to Africa, engaging in critical meetings with officials from Somalia and Kenya to strengthen cooperation and tackle shared challenges between the two countries, particularly security threats from Al-Shabaab militants.

During the visit aimed to bolster the partnership in combating terrorist financing in the region, the Secretary highlighted Africa’s role in shaping the global economy, echoing Secretary Yellen’s sentiments from her earlier trip to the continent. “Africa will shape the future of the global economy,” stated Secretary Yellen, underlining the US Treasury’s unwavering commitment to deepening financial connections across the continent.

Secretary Nelson engaged with Somali authorities to ensure proactive information sharing to aid investigations into suspected terrorist financiers and facilitators. “We commit to sharing information early and often to facilitate Somalia’s investigations into and enforcement actions against suspected terrorist financiers and facilitators,” he affirmed.

The meetings with President Sheikh Mohamud and other officials centered around three key topics; the progress on building capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The debt relief and addressing financial de-risking to ease the flow of remittances and humanitarian aid from diaspora communities in the United States.

“H.E @HassanSMohamud received Brian Nelson, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at @USTreasury. They discussed Somalia-U.S. cooperation in countering the financing of terrorism, debt relief under the HIPIC program, and the ongoing offensive against al-Shabaab,” the Villa Somalia said in Tweet.

The Under Secretary emphasized the importance of improving Somalia’s control to combat money laundering, highlighting the need to protect its financial sector from abuse through systemic reforms.

“Improving Somalia’s controls to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, and sanctions evasion risks can instil confidence within the U.S. banking sector that Somalia’s financial sector is supervised and regulated in accordance with international and domestic standards,” Sec Nelson stated.

“Ultimately it is these systemic reforms which will equip authorities and the private sector with tools to protect Somalia’s financial sector from abuse by terrorist financiers, corrupt actors, and other criminals. Authorities at the highest level spoke of their commitment to prioritizing the whole of government effort needed to advance these reforms,” he added.

Apart from government meetings, the Under Secretary also engaged with representatives from Somalia’s banking and mobile money services sectors.

“As frontline industries, these private sector actors play a crucial role in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, including by working with local authorities. Treasury works closely with our own financial institutions to share information on suspected illicit activities and refine the implementation of AML/CFT regulations,” he acknowledged.

He pointed out the negative effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine on Africa, emphasizing the US government’s efforts to ensure food and humanitarian-related related transactions flow unimpeded. “We have always had exemptions from our Russia’s sanctions for food, agriculture, and humanitarian transactions,” the Under Secretary said.

This important trip reflects the US Treasury’s ongoing commitment to deepen partnerships across Africa, build financial connections, respond to pressing challenges, and identify opportunities for mutual growth and development.

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