RUSI to Empower Civil Society and Journalists Exposing Corruption in Latin America and East Africa

A new RUSI project will focus on empowering civil society actors and the media community to tackle illicit financial flows in Latin America and East Africa.

Entitled ‘Restricting Kleptocracy: Strengthening Monitoring and Accountability in the First Mile’, the project will centre on Latin America and East Africa with an emphasis on Panama City and Nairobi as regional hubs for financial crime. By building partnerships with investigative journalists and civil society, the project aims to equip them with the knowledge, connections and understanding to hold to account the state institutions who should be preventing the outflows of the proceeds of corruption.

Corrupt individuals and kleptocratic politicians continue to loot their nations’  wealth with impunity in many countries around the world. They undermine both their own national development and those of neighbouring countries. Both countries chosen for the project have active and well-connected financial services industries, providing professional services that can be abused by those seeking to move and hide illicit finance from across their respective regions.

Strengthening the capabilities of investigative journalists and civil society can contribute to addressing this challenge before the illicit funds disappear into the global financial system. In these regions, to a greater or lesser extent, both civil society and the media operate with the necessary freedom to hold to account those that benefit from illicit finance. They can thus shape society's expectations of what state authorities and regulated businesses should be doing to fight illicit finance.

This project will involve a series of capacity building workshops focused on the domestic and international standards and requirements related to combatting illicit finance. They will be able to connect with like-minded stakeholders regionally and internationally, thus advancing their ability to challenge illicit financial activity and contribute more effectively to the wider anti-kleptocracy movement.

The project builds on RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies’ (CFCS) unique approach in working with local actors to affect policy change. It will draw on RUSI’s breadth of knowledge of international laws, policies and global AML norms, with evidence-based research and practical implementation.

For more information please contact: Maria Sofia Reiser, Research Analyst, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (


This project is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


Maria Sofia Reiser

External Author | Former RUSI Research Analyst

Centre for Finance and Security

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