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Nigerian official promotes the use of blockchain and AI to combat illicit financial activities

Chairman of Nigeria’s EFCC Advocates for Blockchain and AI to Combat Illicit Financial Flows

The chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Olanipekun Olukoyede, has emphasized the importance of utilizing blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to combat illicit financial flows (IFFs) in Africa. At the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation, Olukoyede highlighted the staggering $88.6 billion lost annually in African countries due to IFFs.

The conference, which is the premier annual forum of the African Union, serves as a platform for stakeholders across Africa to discuss and address the challenges of IFFs and taxation. Olukoyede stressed the need for establishing robust legal frameworks and capacity building at national, regional, and international levels. He advocated for the adoption of advanced technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, and AI to enhance asset tracking and recovery efforts.

Olukoyede emphasized that recovered funds could significantly benefit infrastructure, healthcare, and education across the continent. He cited successful recoveries, like the $311 million repatriated from the United States in 2020 linked to former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, as examples of practical international cooperation.

In Nigeria, efforts are being made to embrace blockchain technology and AI. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) recently restructured the National Blockchain Policy Steering Committee to reassess policies guiding the implementation of the country’s National Blockchain Policy. This review aims to stay abreast of blockchain innovations and involve additional stakeholders for comprehensive adoption.

Additionally, NITDA has advocated for incorporating artificial intelligence into Nigeria’s security framework to enhance outcomes. Initiatives like the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and the development of a National Artificial Intelligence Policy are promoting AI growth in Nigeria.

The use of blockchain technology and AI in addressing illicit financial flows and enhancing security measures in Nigeria showcases the country’s commitment to leveraging technology for positive change.

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