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U.S. - South Africa: Joint initiative to combat wildlife trafficking

United States Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen attends a bilateral meeting with South Africa's Finance Minister at the National Treasury in Pretoria, South Africa   -  
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South Africa

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen used a tour of the Dinokeng Game Reserve in South Africa on Wednesday to announce a joint initiative to combat wildlife trafficking and related criminal activities in the United States and South Africa .

"First, we will increase information sharing between our financial intelligence units to better support key law enforcement agencies from South Africa and the United States. Second, the task force will prioritize the sharing of financial red flags and indicators related to wildlife trafficking cases."

"We will convene relevant government authorities, regulators, law enforcement, and the private sector to improve controls to combat money laundering and the illicit proceeds related to drug trafficking and wildlife trafficking," she added.

Yellen's announcement of a joint wildlife trafficking task force at a reserve that is home to lions, leopards, elephants and critically endangered black rhinos could help a key South African industry. South Africa has an abundance of game parks and a thriving wildlife tourism industry but struggles with the effects of poaching and illegal animal trafficking.

The White House strategy for Africa also outlines concern over China's involvement in sub-Saharan Africa, where it has for years entrenched itself in the region's natural resources market. China is now South Africa's biggest trade partner.

Yellen started her 10-day trip in Senegal before travelling to Zambia and then arriving in South Africa.

On Thursday, she is expected to meet South Africa's finance minister and then meet business leaders and the country's central bank governor.

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