The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said on Friday that it had removed the United Arab Emirates from its “grey list” of countries subject to increased monitoring, while Kenya and Namibia were added.

Countries on the list have “strategic deficiencies” in their efforts to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, but are cooperating with the global anti-money laundering watchdog to correct the problems and are subject to increased monitoring.

FATF head Raja Kumar said that Kenya and Namibia suffered deficiencies in their anti-money laundering systems and that action plans had been developed to remedy them.

A total of 21 nations are on the grey list.

In addition to the UAE, Barbados, Gibraltar and Uganda were removed from the grey list.

“They’ve all taken substantial steps to improve the anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism safety systems and address all items on their actions plans,” said Kumar.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed the FATF decision and said the changes would “strengthen the country’s leading status and competitiveness, and advance its position globally as an economic, trading and investment hub”, according to the country’s official news agency, WAM.

In recent decades the UAE has sought to use its location in the Gulf to become a financial, trade and travel hub linking Asia and Europe. It was put on the FATF’s grey list in 2022 over concerns about murky financial transactions and a flood of Russian money into the country.

More than 200 countries and jurisdictions have pledged to implement the recommendations of the FATF.

The FATF also has a “blacklist” of nations which are considered high-risk jurisdictions.

Countries are urged to apply countermeasures against Iran and North Korea to protect against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and weapons proliferation.

Meanwhile, countries are requested to apply enhanced due diligence concerning Myanmar.

The FATF also repeated its condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

It suspended Russia’s participation in the body last year and said its members are taking proactive measures to protect the global financial system given Moscow’s growing financial links to countries subject to FATF countermeasures.

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