Tough anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes have become the key tools in fighting terrorism in the post 9 / 11 world. The stakes in what the Bush government in the United States has called a 'war on terrorism', have been raised on account of the inevitable friction between the trappings of development, on one hand, and the imperative to maintain security, on the other. Mindful of the differences in banking and financial systems between the developed and developing world, this paper provides an overview of international instruments against terrorist financing, the evolving methods of detecting terrorist financing and the practical problems that are likely to be encountered - and, in some cases, have already been encountered. Informal economic sectors account for a large number of financial and business transactions in Southern African countries. The underlying research question was whether anti-terrorist financing mechanisms applied in the developed world were appropriate and sufficient in Southern Africa. The paper further explores whether Southern African countries can afford to implement antiterrorist financing measures.