At a time when many African countries are facing strong fiscal pressures, the rapidly growing digital financial services sector – in particular mobile money – is a natural source to which some have turned in search of tax revenue. But taxing a ubiquitous and transformative technology is proving difficult. Mobile money taxes have been controversial, with popular uprisings forcing governments to scale them back in countries such as Ghana and Uganda. There are strong concerns about the negative impact that mobile money will have on financial inclusion and on the progressivity of tax systems. This seminar, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), presents findings from ICTD’s three-year DIGITAX research programme, drawing lessons from countries’ ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ experiences.
Martin Hearson, ICTD Research Director and Fellow in the IDS Governance cluster. He is a political scientist who researches the politics of international business taxation, and in particular the relationship between lower- and higher-income countries.
Awa Diouf, Postdoctoral Researcher in ICTD and the IDS Governance cluster. She is an economist specializing in public finance in developing and transition countries. She’s particularly interested in tax issues in developing nations. Awa joined the IDS DIGITAX team to work on the assessment of the impact of taxes on digital financial services and the approach to designing effective taxation.
This event is being chaired by Caroline Khene, Research Fellow and Digital and Technology Cluster Lead at the Institute of Development Studies.