Dr Samuel Jibao, director of the Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building in Sierra Leone and long-time partner of ICTD, in a new video, highlighted the strong potential of linking tax research and policy in generating impact in practice.

In a recent interview given during his Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Development Studies, the former commissioner-general of Sierra Leone’s National Revenue Authority (NRA) said collaboration between researchers internal to national institutions and those outside of it ­– a core aspect of how ICTD does its work – offers great potential in creating a “win-win” situation.

“Policy design in most countries, especially in … low-income countries … requires a lot of evidence. Internal researchers cannot provide all this evidence. That means that the opportunity is there for external researchers to collaborate with the internal researchers,” he said.

Dr Jibao himself is no stranger to such collaborations, having worked on several research initiatives with ICTD scholars on areas including property tax, informal taxation, and local governance.

One example of this is a May 2016 paper in which he, together with ICTD Executive Director Wilson Prichard, looked at the factors underpinning the relative success of a property tax reform programme in Sierra Leone. Published in the Journal of Development Studies, it highlights the importance of politics in shaping reform outcomes, and outlines strategies that helped in overcoming technical and political barriers to reform.

He likewise co-authored a paper in August 2018, published in the Journal of Borderlands Studies, with ICTD Research Fellow Vanessa van den Boogaard and Dr Prichard, on the informal payments and practices that govern the day-to-day interactions between traders and customs agents at border posts in low-income countries.

“I can tell you the outputs of those research [initiatives] have not only been published in very good journals,” Dr Jibao said, recalling instances where local and national agencies in Sierra Leone made use of the findings in these studies to inform their reform processes.

ICTD has done considerable work in Sierra Leone in a variety of research areas, including tax administration and compliance, property taxes, informality and tax, and taxing high net-worth individuals. In December 2022, it hosted the first-ever conference on tax and development in the country in partnership with the Budget Advocacy Network, the NRA, and the Ministry of Finance. The event brought together over 100 policymakers, researchers, and members of civil society to present research and discuss policy recommendations.

The video featuring Dr Jibao is the second instalment of a series produced by ICTD introducing its researchers and their work. Watch the first episode with Dr Prichard discussing why taxes are important.




Samuel Jibao

Samuel Jibao is the Director of the Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He is also an Assistant Lecturer at the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria, and the former Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone.