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FSVC Update – May 2024

Sudan: Advocating for Extractive Industry Reform

FSVC assessment meetings with local civil society organizations,

South Kordofan and River Nile States, Sudan. 2022 – 2024

FSVC, with support from the U.S. Department of State, works to combat corruption in the extractive industry sector in Sudan. The key objectives of this effort include 1) enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media to monitor conditions, expose corruption, and advocate for reform in the extractive industry sector, and 2) equipping Sudanese stakeholders with the tools to effectively combat corruption in this sphere.

Recent FSVC activities have focused on building the capacity of local stakeholders in the northern and southern regions of Sudan, where extractive activities are prevalent, to advocate for transparency and sustainable resource stewardship. Since 2022, these stakeholders have formed two coalitions – The Gold Mining Advocacy Network in South Kordofan and Garanesh Services Works in River Nile State – to advocate for reforms.

As a result of the coalitions’ advocacy work, the South Kordofan state in Sudan banned gold mining by Russian and state-owned companies, whose mines often contaminate surrounding communities’ soil and water supplies with harmful chemicals. The Gold Mining Advocacy Network recently held discussions with the new Governor of South Kordofan and the Sudanese Mineral Resource Company to ensure the continuation of this ban. Meanwhile, Garanesh Services Works is mapping Sudan’s artisanal and small-scale mines to provide essential data to support analysis and advocacy on the sector. These initiatives are important achievements in the extractive industry transparency and accountability effort in Sudan. 

FSVC looks forward to continuing to build the capacity of these coalitions to combat corruption and increase transparency in the Sudanese extractive industry sector.

Iraq: Empowering Women Business Coaches

FSVC training for businesswomen members of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce,

Istanbul, Turkey. March 2024

FSVC works in Iraq, with support from the U.S. Department of State, to strengthen micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) reforms, opportunities, and growth within the country. The program aims to enhance the legal and regulatory framework for MSMEs, broaden access to finance, and fortify the MSME business support ecosystem.

Businesswomen in Iraq often face considerable obstacles in their work. In response to this challenge, FSVC recently held a training in Istanbul, Turkey for businesswomen members of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce on how to coach women-owned enterprises. FSVC equipped the women participants with tools, techniques and practical exercises to enhance their business coaching abilities and prepare them for real-world scenarios. As a result of this training, the businesswomen gained the skills needed to effectively mentor and support other entrepreneurs within their communities. Furthermore, the businesswomen found inspiration in this project and made a collective decision to establish a Women Business Association in Iraq. This association aims to provide tailored coaching and guidance to women-owned MSMEs, filling a significant gap in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

FSVC remains committed to continuing this crucial work in Iraq in pursuit of fostering an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Strengthening Suspicious Transaction Reporting

FSVC’s public-private roundtable for actors in the suspicious transaction reporting (STR) chain,

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. April 2024

With funding from the U.S. Department of State, FSVC supports key public and private sector institutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in their efforts to enhance the detection, analysis, investigation, and prosecution of financial crimes. 

Suspicious transaction reports (STRs) are vital for detecting money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF), providing critical information about suspected ML/TF infractions from the private sector to law enforcement. However, the number of STRs sent to the DRC’s financial intelligence unit, the La Cellule Nationale des Renseignements Financiers (CENAREF) by reporting entities (REs) is low relative to the country’s ML/TF risks. To address this, FSVC has bolstered the capacity of actors along the entire STR filing chain, including training commercial banks in identifying suspicious transactions, developing STR filing guidelines for REs, and training CENAREF analysts in effective strategic analysis of STRs received. 

Recently, FSVC convened all actors in the reporting chain to discuss the root causes of the low reporting rates and poor quality STRs. FSVC moderated public-private roundtables for the CENAREF, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Commission for the Management of Seized and Confiscated Assets, financial institutions and select designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs, e.g., lawyers, accountants). During the roundtables, the government institutions explained the significance of STRs in fighting financial crimes and each institution’s role in the financial intelligence cycle. CENAREF presented the components of a high-quality STR and FSVC-developed STR Guidelines to the REs. These roundtables laid the foundation for more effective public-private coordination on ML/TF, improving actors’ understanding of their roles in the STR process and practical strategies for enhancing quality and quantity of shared financial intelligence in STRs.

FSVC looks forward to continuing to support the DRC’s efforts to enhance public-private collaboration to combat money laundering and financial crimes.  

FSVC Symposium on Great Power Rivalries in the Global South:

Rapporteur’s Report and Strategic Memorandum

In 2024, the world is at an inflection point, the most important since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Amidst the complexities and challenges of a rapidly evolving global landscape, understanding the intricate dynamics between great powers and the “Global South” has never been more crucial. To address this need, FSVC recently held an international symposium in Istanbul, Turkey, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Regional Economic Programme Asia (SOPAS), that brought together 30 leading experts and practitioners in international finance and foreign policy from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America to exchange ideas on pressing current affairs. The symposium encouraged reflection on what has worked and what has gone wrong in recent decision-making, with the goal of identifying informed, proactive policy responses to current and future stresses. 

FSVC developed a Rapporteur’s Report and Strategic Memorandum to synthesize the discussions and summarize the insights and recommendations derived from this thought-provoking symposium.