ICTD Summary Brief 10

Improving processes for valuing properties lies at the heart of efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of property taxation. Effective property taxation is impossible without efficient property valuation. I practice, however, valuation rolls across most of Africa are incomplete and severely out-of-date, thus dramatically reducing potential property tax yield. This is, at least in part, a function of history: many of the valuation models being used on the continent do not reflect best practices and local learning, but are inherited vestiges of colonial systems that no longer respond adequately to local needs. The need to modernise is urgent, but progress has been slow. Effective reform needs to consider two broad questions: (i) the extent to which market value or physical attributes of the property should be the basis for valuation; and (ii) which organ of government should be responsible for valuation, and how should it be organised? Answers to these questions may vary across countries. There is, however, growing agreement that the central need in most countries is to simplify existing valuation processes, to better align them with the realities of undeveloped local property markets and constrained administrative capacity.


Nyah Zebong

Dr. Nyah Zebong has over 11 years of experience working with the Ministry of Finance in Cameroon on tax policy and administration issues including compliance, audits, appeals and collection. He wrote his doctoral thesis on taxation of the extractive industries, focusing on tax anti-avoidance and transfer pricing, and has been a visiting lecturer of tax law. He is now the Project Leader for ICTD’s African Property Tax Initiative (APTI).

Paul Fish

Paul Fish has been assisting local government initiatives to mobilise revenues through property tax reform since 2006. As part of a team Paul has developed and implemented a reform program as well as directing dedicated software to administer those reforms. He has worked in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Senegal, Ghana, and Uganda. Paul draws on his earlier property valuation experience as principal of consultants Altus Group based in Toronto, Canada.

Wilson Prichard

Wilson Prichard is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development. His research focuses on the relationship between taxation and citizen demands for improved governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
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