Although property taxation is widely known to be among the best forms of taxation for ensuring equity, economic growth, and providing stable funding for local governments, it has remained highly underused in many parts of the world, including Africa. This has created a vital need for improved property tax policies and implementation frameworks on the continent. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is pleased to introduce the African Property Tax Initiative (APTI).
APTI’s main objective is to stimulate and encourage wider use of more effective property tax systems in Africa. We are working to build the critical mass needed to successfully support African governments that are considering or currently undertaking property tax reforms. To this end, APTI is currently engaged in:
- Establishing a well-resourced network of property tax practitioners, policymakers, and researchers who can support and learn from each other, and
- Producing and disseminating robust research on key themes to inform policy and practice.
Areas of Focus
Over the next two years, APTI's activities will focus on four priority themes, namely:
1. Strengthening the use of information technology for property tax,
2. Exploring locally appropriate approaches to valuation,
3. Examining the roles of local and central governments in property tax collection, and
4. Investigating the link between property taxation and public services in enhancing the relationship between governments and citizens.
To successfully support property tax reform across Africa, APTI’s activities are designed to enhance opportunities for collaboration and provide real benefits to participating stakeholders. Therefore, APTI will generate and organise:
- Quality research outputs such as working papers, policy briefs, and practical guides that offer insight into issues inhibiting the fulfilment of property taxation’s potential, and lessons for improving outcomes;
- Capacity building events tailored to increase understanding of political and operational property tax issues for professionals in both central and local governments; and
- Network meetings that will be a unique platform for dialogue, bringing together stakeholders to share their experiences, debate salient issues, and lead Africa’s agenda on property taxation.
The APTI will be a virtual network, formally part of the International Centre for Tax and Development. It will be overseen by a Management Committee comprised of:
- Professor Wilson Prichard (University of Toronto and Institute of Development Studies) (Chair)
- Dr Nara Monkam (Research Director, African Tax Administration Forum)
- Dr Samuel Jibao (Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building, Sierra Leone)
- Paul Fish (Revenue Development Foundation)
- Dr Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield)
- David Nguyen-Thanh (GIZ)
The Project Leader is Nyah Zebong, who has a Phd from Dundee University in Petroleum and Mining Taxation, and was previously a tax inspector with the revenue authority in Cameroon. He will be responsible for establishing close partnerships with revenue agencies and researchers across Africa, who will become the drivers of the work of the APTI.
Opportunities for Engagement
Perspectives from the Field: SDC Cooperation for Property Taxation by Giulia Mascagni and Christopher Nell (2017) IDS Working Paper 486
Taxing the urban boom: property taxation in Africa by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Merima Ali, Tom Goodfellow (2017) Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Insight no. 1) 8 p.
Property Taxation in Developing Countries by Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Lucas Katera (2017), Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Brief vol. 16 no. 1) 4 p.
Property Taxation and Economic Development: Lessons from Rwanda and Ethiopia by Tom Goodfellow - New Global Political Economy Brief from Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) (2016).
How Property Tax Would Benefit Africa by Nara Monkam and Mick Moore - Africa Research Institute (2015).
Rebuilding Local Government Finance After Conflict: The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone by Samuel Jibao and Wilson Prichard - ICTD Working Paper 12 (2015).
Taxing the Urban Boom: Property Taxation and Land Leasing in Kigali and Addis Ababa by Tom Goodfellow - ICTD Working Paper 38 (2015).
Practical Aspects of Mobilising Property Tax: Experience in Sierra Leone and Malawi by Paul Fish - Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (2015).
The Political Economy of Property Tax in Africa: Explaining Reform Outcomes in Sierra Leone by Samuel Jibao and Wilson Prichard - African Affairs (2015).
Property Rating Potentials and Hurdles: What can be done to boost property rating in Ghana? by Elias Danyi Kuusaana - Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (2015).
Governing and Financing Cities in the Developing World by Roy Bahl and Johannes F. Linn - Lincoln institute of Land Policy (2014).
Local Property Taxation and Benefits in Developing Countries: Overcoming Political Resistance? by Ehtisham Ahmad, Giorgio Brosio and Caroline Pöschl - London School of Economics Asia Research Centre (2014).
Making the Property Tax Work by Roy Kelly - International Center for Public Policy (2013).
Implementing Property Tax Reform in Tanzania by Roy Kelly and Zainab Musunu - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
Area-Based Property Tax Systems: Current Practice and Equity Concerns by Katrina Connolly and Michael E. Bell - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
Mapping Property Taxes in Africa by Riël C. D. Franszen and Joan M. Youngman - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
Property Tax Reform in Developing and Transition Countries by Roy Bahl - United States Agency for International Development (2009).
Implementing a Local Property Tax Where There Is No Real Estate Market: The Case of Commonly Owned Land in Rural South Africa by Michael E. Bell and John H. Bowman - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2006).
Designing a Property Tax Reform Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analytical Framework Applied to Kenya by Roy Kelly - Public Budgeting and Finance (2000).
- How One African City Is Flipping the Script on Urban Development - Liam Taylor (2016).
- Five Questions About Property Taxation in Africa: Insights from the ICTD Roundtable - Rhiannon McCluskey (2016).
- Property Tax in Africa: The 'Cindarella' of Revenue Instruments and Why it Matters for Development - Tom Goodfellow (2014).
- Wanted Worldwide: Sensible Property Taxes, and a Property Tax Champion - Mick Moore (2013).