By deploying modernized tools of financial pressure, European Union can demonstrate to violent kleptocrats in South Sudan that leverage exists to stop them
A new policy report published today by the Enough Project urges the European Union to more clearly and consistently assert leadership and develop much-needed financial leverage that could support a truly reinvigorated peace process in South Sudan, a country hijacked by corrupt elites and marred by brutal conflict and urgent humanitarian crises.
In “EuroPressure: EU Financial Leverage for Impact in South Sudan,” authors Brad Brooks-Rubin and Jonathan Benton argue that, to date, the European Union’s principal answers to the South Sudan crisis have been financial aid and humanitarian support, rather than a comprehensive approach with meaningful leverage to drive change. The authors urge a modernized approach, including financial leverage and associated incentives—the likes of which have never been used by the European Union with respect to conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, to demonstrate to violent kleptocrats in South Sudan who are bent on violence and corruption that leverage exists to stop them.
Brad Brooks-Rubin, report co-author and Managing Director at the Enough Project and The Sentry, said: “The international community is slowly developing an evolving strategy of applying pressures to the spoilers of the South Sudanese peace process and those whose networks are profiting from diversion of oil wealth and other resources. The tide is shifting, and clear action by the European Union can press this effort forward and provide negotiators with real leverage to start to bring about real change in South Sudan.”
Jonathan Benton, report co-author and Operations Director (Europe) at The Sentry, said: “The European Union and its member states have led many elements of the evolving international architecture devoted to combating corruption and conflict around the world. There is now a clear opportunity for the EU to build on this leadership and apply new financial pressures to the crisis in South Sudan, where grand corruption is driving so much of the humanitarian crisis that Europe is spending hundreds of millions of euros every year to ease.”
The report lays out short, medium, and long term tools that the European Union can deploy as part of a thoughtful and coordinated strategy to help end the crisis and suffering in South Sudan:
Short term tools:
- Designating for sanctions key spoilers of the peace process and their business networks. Sanctions placed on only a few individuals and that lack enforcement are ineffective. Sanctions measures must impact not only individuals, but also their networks.
- Issuing warnings or alerts to financial institutions concerning AML risks related to South Sudanese politically exposed persons (PEPs). These actions would have the greatest impact if EU member states with the most developed financial services sectors, such as the United Kingdom or Germany, take the lead.
- Engaging neighboring governments. EU delegations should pressure key countries in the region, notably the financial intelligence units, central banks, and ministries of foreign affairs in Uganda and Kenya, to take action on AML risks related to South Sudanese PEPs.
- Meeting with banks active in the region. In addition to governments, EU missions can highlight the risk of illicit activity and money laundering in relation to operations in South Sudan or with South Sudanese PEPs through direct meetings with banks.
Medium and long term tools:
- Imposing sectoral-based restrictive measures on economic sectors that are under the control of certain political and military elites, such as the extractive industries, banking, and transport sectors.
- Further developing its autonomous evaluation process of high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes that pose significant threats to the EU’s financial system (rather than restricting to those countries that are of “economic importance” to the European Union).
- Becoming a cooperating member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).
- Convening discussions on governance conditional to disbursing non-emergency aid, and reassessing multilateral loans to government institutions led by corrupt politicians, like the Cotonou Agreement.
Read the full report: https://eno.ug/2J4pKXU
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Megha Swamy, Deputy Director of Communications, at [email protected].
ABOUT THE ENOUGH PROJECT – an anti-atrocity policy group
The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.