“We are delighted that on 7 January 2022, we received a notification from the European Commission, through the intermediary of the Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, that Ghana, after the pursuit of some rigorous reforms, has now, formally, been removed from the Grey List of high-risk third countries in money laundering activities.”
These were the words of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday, 13 January 2022, when he addressed a joint press conference at Jubilee House with the visiting President of the Republic of Hungary, His Excellency János Áder, who is on a state visit to Ghana.
It will be recalled that in 2016, Ghana was subjected to the Second Round of Mutual Evaluation by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West Africa (GIABA).
Though the round of mutual evaluation showed some progress over an earlier one in 2009, there were still significant gaps that needed to be addressed which led to Ghana being placed under observation by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).
Consequently, European Union added Ghana to its list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, in October 2020, as a direct result of Ghana being on the FATF list.
Over the last three years, an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Ministry of Finance had been hard at work coordinating key reforms to cure strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.
Welcoming His Excellency János Áder to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo described the visit as a landmark one, “as it is the first time since the fall of communism that a President from Hungary is paying a State Visit to Ghana. We are honoured by your presence, Mr President.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “President Áder and I first had the opportunity of meeting on the sidelines of the R20 Austria World Summit, held in Vienna in May 2019, where we both pledged our commitment to exploring further areas of interest for the mutual benefit of our two countries. This visit reinforces our commitment to engage each other further to this end.”
The bilateral discussions between the two leaders and their delegations centred on the expansion of relations in the sectors of trade, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, ICT, financial services, water management and environmental protection, with an agreement put in place for the commencement of meetings under the auspices of a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC), which will serve as the platform for accelerating mutually beneficial co-operation between Ghana and Hungary.
The President revealed that, soon, a number of key agreements will be signed between Ghana and Hungary, including the continuation of the Educational Exchange Programme, the mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and service passports between the Republic of Ghana and Hungary, the Memorandum of Understanding on Sports Co-operation between the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ghana, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hungary on Co-operation in the field of water management in Kumasi, and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the field of environmental protection and nature conservation.