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Ms. Laura Wallace

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

Mr. Nadim Kyriakos-Saad, Manuel Vasquez, Chady El Khoury, and Arz El Murr
The money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) risks associated with conventional finance are generally well identified and understood by the relevant national authorities. There is, however, no common understanding of ML/TF risks associated with Islamic finance. Some are likely to be the same as in conventional finance, but there may also be different risks. This is notably due to: (i) the complexity of some Islamic finance products; and (ii) the nature of the relationship between the institutions and their clients. The limited capacity and experience in the supervision of Islamic finance, especially in jurisdictions that face higher ML/TF risk factors represents an additional vulnerability. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards are implemented without any form of tailoring to the specificities of Islamic finance. The FATF, the Islamic finance standard-setters, and the national regulators should seek a greater understanding of the specific ML/TF risks that may arise in Islamic finance and develop an appropriate response.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

With Dubai hosting the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings this year, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has received particular attention. Its economic performance and strategies to reignite growth were the theme of a pre-meeting IMF Economic Forum (see page 285). There were also press briefings on the region’s economies and on the West Bank and Gaza and Afghanistan. In addition, several seminars looked in greater detail at several high-profile issues, notably jobs for the region’s burgeoning workforce, greater integration of women in the labor force, the role of oil stabilization funds, and Islamic banking.