In West Africa, there is significant concern about the rise of terrorism. This is manifested by the number of terrorist attacks in some West African countries that have resulted in large human casualties and the destruction of property. The source of funding for terrorist activities has equally been of concern in the sub-region. The phenomenon is underpinned by several factors, including the presence of large, informal, cash-based economies, political instability, ethnic and communal violence, pervasive corruption, widespread poverty, gross unemployment, and underemployment. Significantly, terrorist groups and their financiers drive funds from both licit and illicit activities, and move them through formal and informal channels to support their activities. All of these factors
have adverse effects on peace, security, and development in the sub-region.

The devastating effects of terrorism and terrorist financing have provoked strong interest among the authorities and national governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on countering the threat, based on a clear understanding of the modus operandi of terrorist groups and their financiers. Accordingly, this typologies study aims to discover the methods used by terrorists, terrorist groups, and their supporters to collect, transfer, and utilise funds for their activities. It aims to provide a deeper understanding of the methods used by financiers to assist terrorists in carrying out acts of terrorism. The study also aims to provide information on terrorist financing methods to assist competent authorities and reporting entities in their responsibilities to combat terrorist financing. In this regard, the study provides case studies, from which key indicators and red flags have been generated to help policymakers and regulatory and enforcement authorities as well as reporting entities to understand better the nature and dynamics of terrorist financing in the sub-region.

As a prelude to this typology study, and recognizing the challenges of getting information on the subject matter in the sub-region, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) commissioned five experts, one each in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, to carry out a background study on terrorism and terrorist financing in their countries. These countries were selected based on the prevailing incidences of terrorism or its effects on them compared to other GIABA member States.

October 2013