African Property Tax Initiative (APTI)

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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.

Value Proposition

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

We are seeking to identify researchers interested in property taxation in Africa, with whom we can work, as well as governments with whom we may partner in offering advice and support, or conducting research. If you are interested, please contact Nyah Zebong at and/or Wilson Prichard at

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See the briefs on APTI's four core themes

September 2017
Linking Property Tax Revenue and Public Services
by Wilson Prichard

In practical terms most property tax reforms are, first and foremost, efforts to increase tax revenue. But the ultimate goal of tax reform is, of course, broader: expanding tax revenue in order to finance the provision of valuable publicly-provided goods and services. Tax reform is only socially desirable if tax revenue is, in fact, translated…

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September 2017
Central-Local Government Roles and Relationships in Property Taxation
by Tom Goodfellow

Should central or local governments be responsible for collection and administration of property taxes? There is great variation in practice across the continent, but one particularly significant divide is that between francophone and anglophone countries. The former commonly adopt centralised systems, while the latter usually decentralise key aspects of property taxation such as collection and…

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September 2017
Strengthening IT Systems for Property Tax Reform
by Wilson Prichard & Paul Fish

The introduction of improved IT systems has long been hailed as a powerful – potentially transformative – tool for strengthening local property taxes. Yet in practice this promise has rarely been achieved on a sustainable basis in Africa, despite significant investment. The challenge lies in understanding why new IT systems have failed to deliver promised…

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November 2017
Valuation for Property Tax Purposes
by Nyah Zebong, Paul Fish & Wilson Prichard

Improving processes for valuing properties lies at the heart of efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of property taxation. Effective property taxation is impossible without efficient property valuation. I practice, however, valuation rolls across most of Africa are incomplete and severely out-of-date, thus dramatically reducing potential property tax yield. This is, at least in part,…

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News and Events:

January 2019
APTI featured at Developing Urban Futures conference

The ICTD’s African Property Tax Initiative (APTI) was recently featured at the Urban Age conference in Addis Ababa. The conference, on the theme “Developing Urban Futures” was jointly organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft. It convened urban experts, policymakers and practitioners from sub-Saharan Africa and other…

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November 2018
The Role of Information Communication Technology to Enhance Property Tax Revenue in Africa: A Tale of Four Cities in Three Countries
by William McCluskey, Riël Franzsen , Mundia Kabinga & Chabala Kasese

Information communication technology (ICT) is an important tool to support local governments in their efforts to more efficiently administer property taxes and other own-source revenues. Increasingly, developing countries, including those in Africa, are managing large volumes of data on taxable properties and taxpayers within the ICT environment. With reference to four African cities, this paper…

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How Local Authorities Can Exploit the Potential for Effective Property Taxes: A Case Study of Harare
by Munatswi Nengeze

This paper explores administrative challenges that developing countries face in property tax administration. It is internationally acknowledged that local authorities play a vital role in enhancing a country’s economic growth and provision of public goods. Their activities rely on revenue collection. It is therefore in the public interest and the interest of all governments to…

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Property owners’ knowledge and attitudes towards property taxation in Tanzania
by Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad & Lucas Katera

Property taxation (PT) is high on the political agenda in Tanzania and considered a cornerstone of the Government’s efforts to strengthen broad based direct taxation. Because it is visible to taxpayers, and in principle linked to improved local services, PT holds a unique potential to act as a foundation for bargaining between taxpayers and governments…

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True Values
by Nyah Zebong & Wilson Prichard

Where property markets are still developing, there is little sales data on which to base valuations. As a result, it is more difficult to assign accurate property valuations, there is greater scope for abuse, and these valuations are more likely to be contested.In peri-urban or rural areas where property markets are almost non-existent, a value…

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Practical Guidance Note: Training Manual for Implementing Property Tax Reform with a Points-Based Valuation
by Paul Fish

This paper shares the author’s on-going experience in supporting the implementation of property tax reform programmes in smaller urban centres and rural districts in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering more than 12 local governments over a period of more than 10 years. The paper presents a generic training manual, designed to offer practical guidance for property tax…

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Property Taxation in Kampala, Uganda: An Analytic Case Study on a Successful Reform
by Mihaly Kopanyi & Riël Franzsen

Kampala’s revenue reforms offer lessons that large and powerful cities should not wait for national actions, rather, they can do a lot “in-house” to improve tax administration, coverage, and collection. Against the rather poor performance of the property tax in Uganda, Kampala’s reforms have resulted in unprecedented increase of own-source revenues generally and the property…

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February 2018
Policy implementation under stress: Central-local government relations in property tax collection in Tanzania
by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Merima Ali & Lucas Katera

Inter-organisational cooperation in revenue collection has received limited attention in the tax administration literature. Recent experiences from Tanzania offer a unique opportunity to examine opportunities and challenges facing such cooperation between central and local government agencies in a developing country context. The administration of property taxes (PT) in Tanzania has been oscillating between decentralised and…

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January 2018
Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos
by Tom Goodfellow & Olly Owen

Major taxation reforms over the past decade have been interpreted as facilitating the transformation of Lagos from of a city seen as in permanent ‘crisis’ to a beacon of ‘megacity development’. Most attention has focused on Personal Income Taxation (PIT). Less attention has been devoted to another innovation – the property tax or Land Use…

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October 2017
Urban Fortunes and Skeleton Cityscapes: Real Estate and Late Urbanization in Kigali and Addis Ababa
by Tom Goodfellow

In many parts of Africa, societies that remain primarily rural are experiencing accelerated urban growth and highly visible booms in property development. In the absence of significant industrialization, investment is pouring directly into what Lefebvre and Harvey characterized as the ‘secondary circuit’ of capital. Debates about the drivers of investment in real estate are longstanding…

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September 2017
Linking Property Tax Revenue and Public Services
by Wilson Prichard

In practical terms most property tax reforms are, first and foremost, efforts to increase tax revenue. But the ultimate goal of tax reform is, of course, broader: expanding tax revenue in order to finance the provision of valuable publicly-provided goods and services. Tax reform is only socially desirable if tax revenue is, in fact, translated…

Read more


October 2018
by Nyah Zebong

Property Tax Reform in Senegal In recent years there has been much focus in Africa on adopting forms of taxation that enhance economic growth, but also ensure equitable, stable and sustainable sources of funding to governments. This is true for revenue mobilisation efforts that benefit both national and sub-national governments across the continent. The need…

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July 2018
by Bukola Bolarinwa, Olly Owen & Tom Goodfellow

Since the turn of the millennium, the Lagos State government has made no secret of its ambitious plans to become an African ‘world class’ city, realizing its vision through borrowing as well as increased tax revenues. With 70% of the State being made up of water, land is a scarce and precious resource, so much…

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June 2018
by Nyah Zebong

The APTI in Madagascar Much attention has been paid recently to improving local government finances in Madagascar, and enhancing the participation of local governments in mobilising revenue. In October 2017 the Malagasy government invited the African Property Tax Initiative (APTI) to visit Antananarivo to explore ways in which APTI could support the authorities to reform…

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