Anti Money Laundering (AML) in Egypt
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|Money laundering in Egypt is not a widespread problem, but it is one that must be closely monitored. Egypt should continue establishing its comprehensive Anti Money Laundering (AML) system to prevent the potential for money laundering to arise.
In 2005, the Government of Egypt (GOE) sustained financial sector reforms that were initiated in 2004, with the aim of streamlining the financial sector. Despite this reform, Egypt is still largely a cash economy, and many financial transactions do not enter the banking system.
Money laundering and terrorist financing are not considered to be widespread in Egypt. However, informal remittance systems are unregulated and therefore pose a potential means for laundering funds. Many overseas workers use informal means to remit earnings, due to a lack of trust in, or familiarity with banking procedures. As a result of the unregulated nature of informal remittance systems, it is unclear if, and to what extent, money laundering actually occurs through these systems.
In May 2002, Egypt passed the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Law No. 80 of 2002. The Law criminalizes the laundering of funds from narcotics trafficking, prostitution and other immoral acts, terrorism, antiquities theft, arms dealing, organized crime, etc. The Law did not repeal Egypt’s existing law on bank secrecy, but it did provide the legal justification for providing account information to responsible civil and criminal authorities. In addition, the Law also provided for the establishment of the Money Laundering Combating Unit (MLCU) as Egypt’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which officially began operating on March 1, 2003.
In June 2003, the administrative regulations of the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Law were issued as Prime Ministerial Decree No. 951/2003. The regulations provided the legal basis by which the MLCU derives its authority, spelled out the predicate crimes associated with money laundering, established a board of trustees to govern the MLCU, defined the role of supervisory authorities and financial institutions, and allowed for the exchange of information with foreign competent authorities.
In 2009, the Government of Egypt created the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA). The primary role of the FSA is to regulate non-banking financial markets and instruments.
AML Training in Egypt
The passing of Egypt's Anti Money Laundering Law made it a requirement for financial institutions in the country to develop appropriate training programs to combat money laundering.
The Economy of Egypt
Egypt’s economy is involved in a range of activity including agriculture, textiles, tourism and some industry. Despite having only 5% of fertile soil, the economy’s main source of income is derived from its farming industry.
In previous years, Egypt has experienced a strong economic growth, however, the country as a whole has been unsuccessful in bridging the gap between its extremely wealthy population and its extremely poor population. Although the standard of living is considered to be poor and the government continues to subsidize basic necessities, an increasing number of residents can be classified as middle class or rich.
The Government of Egypt has worked hard to meet the demands of Egypt's growing population, which is the largest in the Arab world. As the country continues to grow, the government must focus on improving its economic conditions, as well as maintaining its vigorous pursuit of economic reforms.
Banking In Egypt
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) was established in 1961. The main objectives and functions of the CBE are regulating banks and the banking system, implementing banking, monetary and credit policy, issuing bank notes, managing gold and foreign exchange reserves, regulating and managing Egypt’s presence in the foreign exchange market, supervising the national payments system and managing public and private external debt.
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is the oldest and one of largest banks in Egypt with over 400 branches, as well as having subsidiary locations abroad. During the 1950s NBE acted as the central bank to Egypt, but currently retains its duties as the premier commercial bank in the region.
The Egyptian pound is the official currency of Egypt. Egyptian money is colorful in design and the size of Egypt’s paper money decreases as it decreases in denomination.
Banknotes are available in denominations of 25 and 50 piastres and 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pounds. Coins are available in 5, 10, 25, 50 piastres and 1 pound.
Other Key Statistics of Egypt
Time Zone: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time).
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula.
Population: 86,218,547 (June 2015 est.)
Labor Force: Approximately 13.8% work in agriculture, 41.1% in industry and 45.1% in services industries. The unemployment rate is 9.1%.
Languages Spoken: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes.