Adopting an electronic version of the euro and granting it the legal tender status would certainly allow States to adopt more stringent policies for fighting AML and tax evasion. Even though most of the references and examples in this contribution were focusing on the EU context, similar conclusions can be drawn for other parts of the world. While new technologies such as a CBDC could represent an additional tool at disposal of tax authorities to fight tax evasion and fraud, issues concerning the digital divide and privacy shall be addressed while the debate over the design of a CBDC is still ongoing.
The developmental indices of certain countries are immaterial to their compliance levels. Nevertheless, this paper argues that economic development cannot be divorced from economic crime, and for this reason, it is paramount for the SDGs to give this the attention it deserves.
The introduction of CBDCs would, no doubt, raise some legal and regulatory questions. First of all, due to the monetary policy implications of private currencies such as Libra, African countries need to think ahead whether they would want to ban the use of Libra for domestic transactions. Secondly, should African countries introduce their own CBDCs, governments would need to be able to know and manage the identities of parties transacting with these currencies in order to be able to fulfil ‘Anti-money laundering and combating the financing terrorism’ (AML/CFT) requirements. Of course, if these currencies become acceptable globally, they would be required to adhere to, the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) - the global watch dog against money laundering and terrorism financing - recommendations on travel rules.
For the objective of AfCFTA not to be defeated through the menace of trade-based laundering of illicit funds, African member states must be proactive to ensure that all necessary measures and regulations are put in place in combating TBML that may ensue therefrom before AfCFTA comes into full implementation.