On March 1, 2016, CGD visiting fellow Clay Lowery testified before the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Finance at a hearing titled “Helping the Developing World Fight Terror Finance.” Lowery’s testimony addressed the unintended consequences of anti-money laundering and counter the financing of terror policies for poor countries, a subject that was the focus of a recent CGD working group report.
From the Testimony:
A very important policy goal of the United States is to prevent finance from getting into the hands of bad actors. The idea of such efforts is to increase the safety of the financial system and to improve our national security. A different, but also important policy goal of the United States is to allow finance to flow in the most efficient and competitive manner possible. The idea of such efforts is to assist with global economic growth and to include even more people in the financial system in a formal and transparent manner.
To me, it is pretty clear that these two legitimate policy objectives have come into conflict, particularly in poorer countries around the world. Those most affected are likely to include the families of migrant workers, small businesses that need to access working capital or trade finance, and recipients of life-saving aid in active-conflict, post-conflict or post-disaster situations.