On August 26-27, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) hosted its 4th High-Level Tax Policy Dialogue in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB). The theme of the virtual event was “Taxing Rights for Africa in The New World and the Effects of Covid-19: The Role of Tax Policymakers and Tax Administrators.” Over 500 government officials, experts, members of regional and international organisations, and donor and civil society representatives participated. The ICTD’s CEO Dr Wilson Prichard and Research Fellow Dr Vanessa van den Boogaard were invited to present and participate in the discussions.

Dr Prichard spoke on the second panel, alongside Mr Alvin Mosioma (Tax Justice Network Africa), Dr Yakama Jones (Ministry of Finance Sierra Leone), Dr Abdoulaye Coulibaly (African Development Bank), and Dr Amélia Nakhare (Mozambique Revenue Authority). The session focused on domestic revenue mobilisation in Africa and the key lessons African economies can draw from the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Prichard cautioned against granting broad tax relief, as well as targeting small businesses in the informal sector. Instead, he recommended increasing efforts to tax the rich and closing gaps in corporate taxation, as well as focusing on targeted improvements in the digitisation of tax administration, with an emphasis on data cleaning and sharing. Acknowledging the political challenges of reform, he emphasised the need for governments to build trust with taxpayers by increasing transparency and demonstrating concrete benefits to citizens. See more in his blog with Professor Mick Moore: How should we tax after the pandemic?

The last session of the meeting focused on taxation, gender, and the impact of Covid-19, and was organised by the OECD and DFID (now FCDO). Dr Vanessa van den Boogaard presented on the all-female panel alongside Berni Smith (FCDO), Milly Nalukwago Isingoma (Uganda Revenue Authority), Varsha Singh (OECD), Professor Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi), and Joy Ndubai (Institute for Austrian and International Law). Dr van den Boogaard’s talk focused on how tax relief measures are largely not reaching women, particularly those in the informal sector who are the most vulnerable, and the increased burdens of informal taxation they face at the local level due to the crisis. She also spoke about the representation of women in African tax administrations. Learn more about gender and tax in the recent Knowledge for Development report here. See her presentation below:

Overall, the meeting delivered insightful discussions on the impact of the pandemic on taxation in Africa and solutions and avenues for recovery and reform, which policymakers and administrators can take forward. See the meeting’s Outcome Statement here. The ICTD thank ATAF, the AUC, and AfDB for the opportunity to participate and look forward to further engagement in the future.

Watch the recording of Day 1:

Session 2 begins at 1:48:00

Watch the recording of Day 2:

Session 6 begins at 2:15:00