More often than not, transaction monitoring is being presented as a prime solution and measure against money laundering, and this proposition is not being excluded in Africa. Africa remains home to a bountiful of commercial activities. There are 763 commercial banks across the African continent in its 54 countries, and there has also been the rise of digital banking and neo-banks in Africa. Presently, there are 450 neo-banks in Africa with increasing transactions, customers and capacity daily. With this swell of financial activities, transactions can not be left without monitoring in order to provide a stringent form of control to financial transactions in Africa. Transaction monitoring is a proactive form of anti-money laundering procedures. This article provides an in-depth overview of the transaction monitoring procedure in Africa, providing unique insights, information and recommendations.
What is Transaction Monitoring?
Transaction monitoring in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) refers to the process of keeping track of and analysing financial transactions to identify suspicious or possibly illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. Transaction monitoring is critical not only for detecting potential fraudulent conduct but also for ensuring regulatory compliance.
AML legislation and compliance requirements require financial institutions and organisations, such as banks, credit unions, money service businesses, and casinos, to develop transaction monitoring systems to detect and report anomalous or suspicious transactions to regulatory authorities. It is a crucial component of financial risk management and is a procedure under the umbrella of Risk-based approach systems, and this means that it is a proactive measure.
Why is Transaction Monitoring Needed in Africa?
Why is transaction monitoring important? Especially for a continent like Africa, which has a number of commercial cities and a fast-growing digital transaction scene. Well, a growing hub of digital transactions such as Africa is prone or susceptible to growing occurrences of money laundering, identity fraud, financial fraud, terrorist funding and other vices that may be bred in the financial scenes. Therefore, a proactive measure such as transaction monitoring is highly needed. Below are the reasons for the cogent adoption of transaction monitoring in Africa is expounded.
a. Terrorist Financing
The presence of terrorist operations in many regions of Africa makes it important to monitor financial transactions for potential linkages to terrorist financing. It is a global priority to identify and block the flow of finances to terrorist organisations. This allows for larger positive ripple effects in the long run. Allowing for economic growth in the region, customer trust and true liquid reserves.
b. Digital Transformation
Due to several reasons, such as mobile money and increased internet availability, Africa has experienced substantial development in digital payments and financial technology (fintech) usage. While digital transactions have numerous advantages, they also open up new avenues for financial crime. In this digital age, transaction monitoring is critical for preventing fraud, identity theft, and other illegal actions.
c. Cross Border Transaction
For most of Africa, cross-border transactions take place from Ghana to Lagos, from Lagos to Kenya, and from Kenya to Uganda. This is motivated by the pan-African commercial scene or spirit being fostered in Africa, especially in West and East Africa, as well as the southern countries of Africa. The economies of the African continent are diversified and interconnected and interconnected. Because money laundering and other financial crimes commonly include worldwide movements of funds, transaction monitoring aids in discovering potentially suspect cross-border actions.
d. Regulatory Compliance
Many African countries have developed or are in the process of implementing AML and KYC laws in accordance with international norms. Compliance with these requirements is essential for African financial institutions, and transaction monitoring is an essential part of AML compliance.
e. Economic Development
Africa needs further economic growth; this is paramount for its governments and citizens. Economic growth and development require a stable and reliable financial system. Transaction monitoring contributes to the financial system's integrity, which is critical for attracting foreign investment and fostering economic stability.
f. The Risk of Money Laundering
Of course, Africa, like many other regions, is vulnerable to the risk of money laundering and may even be more vulnerable. Malicious persons or individuals may frequently take advantage of financial institutions to legitimise the proceeds of unlawful activity. Effective transaction monitoring aids in the detection and reporting of questionable transactions, which aids in the fight against money laundering.
g. Regulatory Expectations
Global regulatory bodies and organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), define criteria and expectations for AML compliance. To maintain their place in the global financial system, African countries have to conform to international standards.
Transaction Monitoring Tools Used in Africa
There are a lot of transaction monitoring tools that can be utilised; of course, there are digital tools, some of which are multinational and some "native"; that is, founders or firms are based in Africa or African countries. Let's discuss some of these tools or brands.
Youveriy is considered indigenous to Africa because it is a Nigerian-based Regtech company that offers identity verification services and background check solutions. You Verify is known for offering a variety of KYC, KYB, and KYT solutions for businesses of all sizes. These solutions are totally scalable and are automated compliance tools aimed at improving accuracy, reducing false positives and saving time on the whole. Youverify offers a transaction monitoring tool that aids or assists in flagging and reporting suspicious patterns in transactions on the go. With this tool, false positives are effectively eliminated through a dynamic artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm which is able to monitor over 6000 + global data sources and helps accurately flag fraudulent transactions even before they occur. Youverify's software can be tailored according to your business needs. Although Youverify is a Nigerian Regtech company, it caters to the needs of commercial entities around the world.
2. NICE Actimize
NICE Actimize is a RegTech firm that provides anti-money laundering and fraud prevention solutions that are used by financial institutions around the world, including those in Africa. This includes customer due diligence, which is suspicious activity monitoring that gives predictive scoring, anomaly detection and machine learning analytics.
Entersekt, a South African company, provides transaction security and fraud protection solutions to African financial institutions and businesses. They also offer services that can aid in fraud detection—offering some form of risk-based approach to compliance. The software offered by Entersekt boasts of the use of a single API.
Although not indigenous to Africa, it can be used in Africa; SAS AML provides AI and machine learning software tool that aids in the advanced analytics of financial transactions. It uses rule-based detection to detect potential fraud or an anomaly. SAS offers a variety of services, which include anomaly detection, predictive modelling, and network analysis. These capabilities enable firms to discover patterns and anomalies in transaction data that could suggest fraudulent behaviour. The application also includes an easy-to-use interface that allows firms to navigate and use it.
This cloud-based financial crime management platform offers a variety of fraud detection and prevention tools, which include transaction monitoring. Verafin detects suspicious transactions and prevents fraud using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. The platform also has case management tools, allowing banks to quickly examine and address questionable activity.
The Future of Transaction Monitoring in Africa
1. Increased Digitalisation
African countries are rapidly embracing digital financial services, mobile money, and online transactions, and the volume and complexity of digital transactions are on the rise. Transaction monitoring systems will need to adapt to the challenges posed by the digital landscape. Therefore, there will be a continuous need for real-time monitoring and analysis of digital financial activities.
2. Cross-Border Collaboration
Financial crimes often involve cross-border transactions. Enhanced collaboration among African countries and with international organisations will be crucial for effectively monitoring and combating financial crimes that transcend national boundaries. Commercial entities within Africa will most likely and will critically need to come to this realisation and will form formidable collaborations.
3. Regulatory Developments
Current changes in AML and counter-terrorism financing regulations will influence transaction monitoring practices. Financial institutions in Africa will need to stay updated with the changing or evolving regulatory requirements and ensure their transaction monitoring systems are aligned with evolving standards.
4. Adoption of Blockchain Technology
The adoption of blockchain and distributed ledger technology in Africa may impact transaction monitoring. While these technologies offer transparency and immutability, new methods for monitoring transactions on blockchain platforms will need to be developed to address potential risks.
5. Cybersecurity Concerns
With the growth of digital transactions comes an increased risk of cyber threats. Transaction monitoring systems will need to integrate robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive financial data and prevent cyber-related financial crimes.
6. Focus on Customer Experience
While ensuring compliance and security, there will be a growing emphasis on maintaining a positive customer experience. Transaction monitoring systems will need to be efficient and effective without causing unnecessary disruptions for legitimate transactions. This is what Youverify seeks to achieve. The services or solutions provided by Youverify also take into account user experience and seek to provide a seamless user experience. This is why all products stay true to their goal: simple complaint automation tools for businesses.
Transaction monitoring seeks to flag or detect suspicious activities beforehand. It is also a required compliance measure for financial entities as a standard measure set by national and international regulatory bodies.
With the rapid digitalisation of financial transactions, transaction monitoring is much needed in Africa more than ever. Transaction monitoring tools should be designed to accommodate the peculiar needs of African financial institutions, neo-banks and other entities offering related services. You verify is one trusted company willing to offer such services, simple compliance automation tools that are completely scalable and are suitable for entities of all kinds, belonging to a variety of industries such as the gig economy, marketplaces, e-commerce, gaming and casinos, etc.