Local Government Revenue Initiative (LoGRI)

Amidst rapid urbanization, cities in the Global South face major revenue needs in order to meet urgent spending priorities and build the foundation for stronger local social contracts.  Yet in practice local government revenue raising efforts – and property taxes in particular – are frequently ineffective, inequitable and unaccountable.

The Local Government Revenue Initiative (LoGRI) aims to develop policy relevant research, knowledge, expertise, and tools to support governments to raise more local government revenue, more equitably and fairly, and in ways that promote trust, transparency, and accountability.  It is committed to providing hands on support and advice to government partners in Africa and South Asia pursuing reform efforts, with a particular emphasis on working in both Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

The LoGRI program is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, and extends and expands the previous work of the African Property Tax Initiative (APTI). It is supported by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the French Ministry of Finance, Economy and Recovery, the Norwegian Development Agency (Norad) and German Development Cooperation (GIZ).

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News and Events:

September 2022
News
Dar es Salaam
Recruiting Communications and Events Officer for the Local Government Revenue Initiative

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 12th October 2022 The Faculty of Arts & Science is the heart of Canada’s leading university and one of the most comprehensive and diverse academic divisions in the world. The strength of Arts & Science derives from our combined teaching and research excellence in the humanities, sciences and social sciences…

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July 2022
News
Recruiting Program Director for the Local Government Revenue Initiative

Closing date for applications 31/07/2022,11:59 pm EST Based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, the Local Government Revenue Initiative (LoGRI) was launched in September 2021 to develop policy-relevant research and tools to help local governments in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia collect more local revenue, more equitably and fairly, and in…

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Blogs:

December 2021
by Peter Jongkind

Ghanaian local governments – metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs) – face several challenges preventing them from raising more revenue from property taxes. These challenges include limited access to information about properties such as location, ownership and accurate valuations. As part of its programmes, VNG International (the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands…

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Publications:

December 2021
Five Tenets for Consideration When Undertaking Property Tax Reform in Africa
by Astrid R.N. Haas, Justine Knebelmann & Colette Nyirakamana

The current COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis have seen Africa fall into recession for the first time in over 25 years. This has strained already limited local government resources significantly. At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted the central role local governments play as frontline service providers and thus reignited the urgency of…

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Thick claims and thin rights: Taxation and the construction of analogue property rights in Lagos
by Tom Goodfellow & Olly Owen

The importance of tenure security for development and wellbeing is often reduced to questions about how titles can guarantee rights, overlooking the contested and layered nature of property rights themselves. We use the case of Lagos to analyse property rights as ‘analogue’ rather than ‘digital’ in nature – things that only exist by degree, where…

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January 2020
Modelling Improvements to Property Tax Collection: The Case of Addis Ababa
by Gabriella Y. Carolini, Fitsum Gelaye & Kadeem Khan

Efforts to reform property tax systems in African cities tend to focus more on how to value properties for purposes of tax assessment than on how to better collect taxes due. The same is true of the literature on property tax reform. There is however reason to believe that a greater initial focus on improving…

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November 2019
Simplifying Property Tax Administration in Africa: Piloting a Points-Based Valuation in Freetown, Sierra Leone
by Kevin Grieco, Abou Bakarr Kamara, Niccoló F. Meriggi, Julian Michel, Wilson Prichard & Graeme Stewart-Wilson

The current method of property valuation in Freetown, Sierra Leone is highly inaccurate and generally regressive, as it does not take subjective property characteristics that are major determinants of value into account. The newly elected Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr made revenue mobilisation a central pillar of her ‘Transform Freetown’ agenda. As a means of achieving this,…

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September 2019
Enhancing Property Rates Administration, Collection and Enforcement in Uganda: The Case of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and four other Municipalities
by David Bakibinga & Dan Ngabirano

Uganda embraced decentralisation as a system of governance in the early 1990’s. The success of decentralisation was pegged on the capacity of the local governments to mobilise their own revenues in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Before its suspension in 2005 and eventual abolition in 2008, graduated tax constituted a dominant source of local revenue….

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Enhancing Property Rates Administration, Collection and Enforcement in Uganda: The Case of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and four other Municipalities
by David Bakibinga & Dan Ngabirano

Uganda was among the first African countries to embrace a decentralised system of government in the 1990s. The objective of this policy was to bring services closer to the people while at the same time enhancing local participation and democracy. The success of decentralisation was, however, greatly dependent on the amount of funds and other…

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The Role of Information Technology to Enhance Property Tax Revenue in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia
by William McCluskey, Riël Franzsen, Mundia Kabinga & Chabala Kasese

Public finance theory suggests that property tax is an ideal local tax. But it’s also a ‘data-hungry’ tax, making it difficult and costly to administer properly— especially at the local government level where capacity, skills and resources are often lacking. Given its high data demands, property tax administration lends itself to the application of modern…

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Local Government Property Tax Administration and Collaboration with Central Government: Case Studies from Kenya
by Rose Wanjiru, Anne Wanyagathi Maina & Eldah Onsomu with Graeme Stewart-Wilson

Property taxes are an important revenue source for subnational governments. Across sub-Saharan Africa collection of property taxes is made up of several distinct processes, some situated at the national level, and some at the local level. Thus, inter-organisational cooperation and institution-based trust are essential for the successful implementation of property taxation. Because of the common…

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April 2019
Local Government Property Tax Administration and Collaboration with Central Government: Case Studies of Kiambu, Laikipia and Machakos Counties, Kenya
by Rose Wanjiru, Anne Wanyagathi Maina & Eldah Onsomu with Graeme Stewart-Wilson

Property taxes are a major source of revenue at sub-national levels in most countries, but their administration is complex, and in most cases the process involves both national and sub-national governments. In Kenya, county governments have legislative authority to levy property taxes and the responsibility to finance some of the cost of the services they…

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March 2019
Policy Implementation Under Stress: Central-Local Government Relations in Property Tax Administration in Tanzania
by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Merima Ali & Lucas Katera

Purpose 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…

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

Property tax is tax charged on real estates or immovable assets. The tax base may be on land only, land and improvements on the land, or improvements on the land only. For the purpose of this paper property tax shall be referred to as tax on all types of immovable properties, residential, commercial and industrial,…

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January 2019
Property Tax in African Secondary Cities: Insights from the Cases of Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal)
by Liza Rose Cirolia & James Christopher Mizes

This working paper adopts an urban lens on property tax. It focuses specifically on how property tax operates in two African secondary cities, Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal). The paper identifies three factors shaping the low levels of property tax collection in the two case cities. These are the misalignment between the spatial scale of…

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Team members

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Dr Titilola Akindeinde
Executive Director
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Dr Wilson Prichard
Chair
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Dr Colette Nyirakamana
Research Lead
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Moyo Arewa
Programme Director
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Nicolas Orgeira
Technical Lead, Pilot programme, Zambia
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Graeme-Stewart Wilson
Technical Lead, Diagnostic Assessment, Zambia
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Marie-Reine Mukazayire
Research Assistant
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Marly Augustine
Program Coordinator, Zambia
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Paul Fish
Technical Advisor

Research Projects:

Current Project
Can rural property taxation generate revenue? Measuring costs and potential revenue in Sierra Leone
Project Researchers: Kevin Grieco

This project seeks to measure village-level costs and potential revenue associated with property taxation in rural Sierra Leone (Kono District). The only variable cost associated with rural tax collection in this context is tax collector transportation costs. While travel costs can easily be obtained for any village, the most cost-effective way to measure potential revenue…

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Past Project
Compliance, Accountability and the Social Contract: Studying the Impacts of Property Tax Reform in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Project Researchers: Wilson Prichard, Niccolo Meriggi, IGC, Julian Michel, UCLA & Kevin Grieco, UCLA

This research programme seeks to address four overlapping questions through a combination of (a) randomized controlled interventions in the reform programme, (b) exploiting discontinuities in the implementation of reform to identify causal impacts, (c) systematic tracing of the impact of the reform programme on popular attitudes and behaviours, and (d) the mapping of compliance data…

Project Outputs

Blog
Policy Brief
Blog
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Current Project
Learning from Successful Reform in Sierra Leone
Project Researchers: Graeme Stewart-Wilson & Wilson Prichard

Graeme Stewart-Wilson will be working with researchers and tax authorities in Sierra Leone to document and derive lessons from ongoing and relatively successful reform efforts. He will be writing up at least two case studies – one related to reform efforts at the National Revenue Agency, led by long time ICTD partner Samuel Jibao, and…

Project Outputs

Policy Brief
Blog
Blog
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Past Project
Bringing Property Owners into the Tax Net in Senegal
Project Researchers: Justine Knebelmann, Paris School of Economics, Victor Pouliquen & Bassirou Sarr

The IMF and World Bank revenue statistics show that, between 2000 and 2012, property taxes represent on average of 0.1 to 0.2% of GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa (0.1% in Senegal). In OECD countries, the average range is between 2-3% of GDP. This poor performance suggests considerable scope for improvement. In Senegal, as in most developing…

Project Outputs

Blog
Blog
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Current Project
Developing Points Based Valuation for Property Taxation in Senegal and Sierra Leone
Project Researchers: Nicolas Orgeira & Wilson Prichard

The African Property Tax Initiative (APTI) has increasingly been approached by governments in sub-Saharan Africa interested in exploring simplified approaches to property valuation for property taxation. This interest grows out of ICTD research which has demonstrated the efficacy of this approach and several secondary cities in Africa, and which has more generally argued for the merits…

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Past Project
Boosting the Enforcement and Collection of Property Rates: Learning from the Experiences of Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA)
Project Researchers: Prof D.J Bakibinga, Makerere University & Dan Ngabarino, Makerere University

This study will evaluate the experience of KCCA in the enforcement and collection of property rates with an objective of understanding some of the reasons why the Authority has been more successful than the rest of the urban authorities and local governments (four of these will be studied alongside KCCA). In particular the study will…

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Past Project
The Relationship Between Local and Central Governments in Property Tax Administration
Project Researchers: Rose Wanjiru, Centre for Economic Governance

The main objective of this research is to examine the collaborations between national and County Governments in property tax administration with the aim of elaborating the policy frameworks and practices; and to articulate the general challenges in Kenya and specifically in Kiambu and Laikipia Counties; and to provide policy recommendations based on the findings.

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Past Project
Property Tax in African Secondary Cities: Insights from the cases of Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal)
Project Researchers: Liza Rose Cirolia , African Centre for Cities & James Christopher Mizes, UC Berkeley

This working paper adopts an urban lens on property tax. It focuses specifically on how property tax operates in two African secondary cities, Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal). The paper identifies three factors shaping the low levels of property tax collection in the two case cities. These are the misalignment between the spatial scale of…

Project Outputs

Working Paper
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Current Project
The Enigma of Central and Local Governments Relationship and the Impact on Property Tax Administration in Ghana
Project Researchers: Fariya Mohiuddin & Frank L. K. Ohemeng

This project is exploring a number of different questions. What challenges do the relationship between the central and local governments pose in property tax administration in Ghana? How has the relationship between the central and local government continued to affect the administration of property tax in Ghana? Why is decentralisation so problematic in Ghana? What…

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Past Project
The Role that ICT can Play in Improving Property Tax Collection in Africa: Three Case Studies
Project Researchers: Prof Riël Franzsen, African Tax Institute, Prof William McCluskey, African Tax Institute, Dr Mundia Kabinga, University of Cape Town & Chabala Kasese, Zambia Revenue Authority

Africa is rapidly urbanizing. The number of large African cities with populations between 5 and 10 million is also expected to increase, from three to twelve by 2030 (United Nations 2014). However, the fastest-growing urban agglomerations are medium-sized cities and cities with less than 1 million inhabitants. Durand-Lasserve (2016) provides startling projections regarding urbanization stating that between 2015 and 2050 (i.e., in only 36 years) urbanization in Africa will grow from 38 percent to 55 percent, implying an additional 790 million urban inhabitants.

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Based at

Munk School University of Toronto logo

Funded by

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation logo
GIZlogo
MEFR DG Tresor logo
NORAD logo