Since having been declared a global pandemic in March 2020, Covid-19 has altered the daily life of the vast majority of the world population, with major impacts on its health and livelihood. While Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was not amongst the first regions to be hit, cases have been reported in all of its countries since April. The vast majority of them have introduced both measures of social distancing and some support schemes for household and firms. While distancing measures are deemed essential to contain the spread of the virus, they also contribute to an economic crisis that is set to be one of the worst in recent history. The OECD estimates that each month of lockdown reduces GDP growth by 2% (OECD 2020). Growth rates of low-income countries for 2020 have already been revised downward to 0.4% from a pre-COVID level of 5.1% (IMF 2020). Africa is set to face the first recession in the last quarter of a century.

Building on the ongoing collaboration with the World Bank and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, ICTD will bring our capacity to access tax administration data from different African countries to this research consortium, in order to provide an initial micro-founded assessment of the pandemic on tax revenue in the African context. By looking at five different countries, we can draw comparative considerations that might be generalisable to other countries too. Specifically, we will investigate how the current pandemic impacts firms’ profitability and survivability, and then move to assess how these shocks translate into government revenue shortfalls, considering the impact on both CIT. We will also provide an analysis of which trade patterns have been impacted more importantly by the current disruption, and attempt to connect domestic developments in trade partners’ economies to future resumption of normal flow of goods.


Giulia Mascagni

Giulia Mascagni is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Executive Director of the ICTD. Her main area of work is taxation, but she also has research interest in public finance, evaluation of public policy, and aid effectiveness. She is an economist by training, holding a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex. Her main geographical interest lies in African countries, with a particular focus on Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Giovanni Occhiali

Dr Giovanni Occhiali is a Development Economist based at the Institute of Development Studies, where he works on a number of projects related to Tax Administration and Compliance, Tax and Governance and co-leads ICTD’s capacity building programme together with Dr Max Gallien. His research focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, and outside of the field of taxation his main interests are energy economics and industrial policies. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham and prior to joining ICTD, he was a Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and an Overseas Development Institute Fellow at the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone.

Adrienne Lees

Adrienne Lees is a Doctoral Fellow at ICTD, working primarily on projects relating to tax administration and compliance, and on the DIGITAX programme. She has completed an ODI Fellowship in the Tax Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Uganda. Adrienne holds an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford and is completing her PhD in Economics at the University of Sussex.

Fabrizio Santoro

Fabrizio is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and the Research Lead for the second component of the ICTD's DIGITAX Research Programme. His main research interests relate to governance, public finance, and taxation, with a strong focus on impact evaluation methodologies and statistical analysis. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex.