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 of simplified approaches that better suit African conditions.

However, applying a simplified point space valuation methodology in larger capital cities poses unique challenges related to both politics and technical implementation. Politically, in most African states existing legislation calls for market-based valuation of properties, creating a necessity that we demonstrate that a points based valuation can closely approximate market-based valuation, and is thus consistent with existing legislation. Technically, there remain important questions about how best to calibrate a point spaced valuation: what property characteristics should be considered, how much weight should be given to different factors, and how can these values be reliably arrived at and updated over time?

This project aims to implement several interlocking strategies for gathering data about local property markets in order to feed into the calibration of a point space valuation in two jurisdictions that are piloting such an approach: Dakar, Senegal and Freetown, Sierra Leone. In broad terms, this will involve two things: (1) working with local property experts to determine market values for several hundred properties in each city, which can be used to calibrate the points based valuation, and (2) and lamenting a small household survey in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in order to assess self-declared market values for several hundred properties.

Concretely, this will involve sending Nicolas Orgeira to both countries during the period from December -March 2018/19 where he will leave those data gathering exercises, including recruitment of local property experts and organization of local survey teams. In this effort he will work closely with existing projects in both countries. Once data has been collected he will, in turn, work with those existing pilot projects to analyse the data and support its integration with proposed valuation methodologies in both countries. Finally, he will be responsible for writing up some of these results to contribute to an eventual publication on approaches to points based valuation, though the timeline for publication will depend on progress with both pilot projects and discussions with local stakeholders.