/ Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to South Africa / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaFinancial Action Task Force (FATF) graylisted South Africa on February 24. According to the global watchdog, the country lags behind international standards for combating money laundering and other financial crimes. The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to graylist South Africa is politically motivated and seems to be a punitive measure against South Africa for the latter’s cooperation with Russia, Dr. Anne Abaho, international relations and security studies lecturer at the Nkumba University in Uganda, told Sputnik. She added that the move will affect the country’s economy.
"South Africa getting greylisted because of its relationship with Russia is the West's usual way to put a begging continent on its knees even when the economy of one may seem strong," the expert said, noting that the decision "is a demonstration of the use of soft power to attain national interests."
South Africa is currently developing bilateral ties with Russia, as well as within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) bloc. South Africa, Russia and China have recently participated in joint naval drills.In October 2022, South Africa refrained from voting for a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia for holding referendums in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.Overall, the West discourages cooperation between Pretoria and Moscow, as experts noted. In particular, in May 2022, the US passed a bill to counteract Russia’s “malign” activities in Africa, which impede the achievement of the goals and interests of the United States. According to the bill, the country can penalize African countries for interacting with Russia in various fields.According to Thandi Modise, South African Defense Minister, Washington puts pressure on African countries that are willing to cooperate with Russia and “threatens Africa, not just South Africa, of having anything that is even smelling of Russia.”The analyst argued that the graylisting will not only affect one of Africa’s major economies, but also have a negative impact on the southern part of the African continent.
"Getting greylisted doesn't just hurt South Africa, but Africa as a whole, and Southern Africa in particular. The inclusion affects its economy by causing investor flight, affecting stock market performance and giving the impression that the country is being built on illicit funds," she underlined.
According to the expert, in the worst scenario it can “attract sanctions” in case FATF sticks to the “most radical approach.”AfricaSouth Africa Being Graylisted by Paris-Based Watchdog ‘Less Dire Than Some Suggest’, President Says27 February, 13:51 GMTThe expert emphasized that South Africa has already got used to the “special approach” of the West.
"South Africa is not new to the ironic comedy of the West… its support for apartheid, a government that was anti-people, probably is still fresh in their memories and so is baptizing Mandela, a freedom fighter, as a terrorist," Dr. Abaho told Sputnik.
The Nkumba University lecturer also noted that as South Africa plays a role of a “huge investment hub in Africa” for foreign investors, the incident can “equally shape South Africa’s financial policies.”The FATF is a Paris-based intergovernmental organization that establishes standards aimed at fighting financial crimes. South Africa has been cooperating with the FATF for 20 years since it became a member in 2003. On February 24, the FATF added South Africa to the so-called “grey list”, with the organization assessing the country as one which does not fulfill international standarts in fighting financial crimes.
When the FATF places a country in a “jurisdiction under increased monitoring” list, it means that – according to the international body – the country has committed itself to promptly addressing identified strategic financial crime combating gaps within the agreed time frame and is subject to enhanced monitoring.Recently, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the graylisting of the country is “concerning” but not as “dire” for the country as some suggest.