Following the third international Financing for Development Conference, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The first action area, outlined as “critical to achieving the sustainable development goals,” is mobilising domestic public resources. Countries committed to “enhancing revenue administration through modernized, progressive tax systems, improved tax policy and more efficient tax collection.”

As a member of the Addis Tax Initiative, Ethiopia has also committed to stepping up domestic resource mobilisation. Currently, Ethiopia’s tax to GDP ratio stands at 12.7%, below the 15% considered necessary to fund adequate public services. Key to raising increased tax revenue in an equitable manner, and without impeding economic growth, is rigorous research that can inform both tax policy and practice.

To this end, the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is launching the Ethiopian Tax Research Network (ETRN) with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The ETRN is dedicated to enhancing the generation and exchange of tax knowledge in Ethiopia. It is concerned with all topics related to taxation, ranging from tax policy to tax administration, and from academic papers to practical case studies.

The main objectives of the ETRN are to:

• Provide a platform for knowledge exchange and evidence-based debate on tax issues through workshops, conferences, and publications.
• Support the production of high-quality, policy-relevant research, especially that led and undertaken by Ethiopian researchers, by providing funding and capacity development.
• Facilitate coordination and complementarity between existing projects and actors active in the area of taxation in Ethiopia.

As the ICTD Research Director, Dr Giulia Mascagni says, “Much tax expertise already exists within Ethiopia, and the ETRN should help bring people together and develop it further to the benefit of the country.” ETRN stakeholders consist of tax practitioners and researchers, as well as donors and civil society organisations working on tax issues in Ethiopia, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Ethiopian Development Research Institute, UK Department for International Development, and World Bank, among others.

The ETRN will be formally launched at the Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa on September 20th. The event will begin with introductory remarks by His Excellency Dr Abraham Tekeste (Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation), followed by a keynote by Professor Mick Moore (CEO of the ICTD). The afternoon will feature research and policy panels, with a variety of presentations of work done on tax issues in Ethiopia (see programme here).

Members of the press are invited to attend, and any media enquiries can be directed to Rhiannon McCluskey at [email protected]