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Press release

New Gates and DFID-funded research to help African governments increase tax revenue and decrease their dependence on aid

Published on 28 October 2016

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Department for International Development have recently granted over £3million in funding to the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) for research and capacity building that will help African governments raise tax revenue more effectively and equitably.

Tax systems in Africa face a number of challenges, including narrowly-based systems that over-tax some while barely touching others, limited capacity to tax the complex accounts of multinational corporations, the prevalence of informal taxation that is often coercive, and low levels of transparency and public trust in the formal tax system.

Strengthening domestic resource mobilisation is a target of the Sustainable Development Goals, as domestic revenues are a more stable and sustainable source of income, and also have the potential to strengthen the relationship between citizens and the state and foster accountable governance.

In order to achieve this, there is a pressing need for high quality research to inform the policies and administrative practices of African revenue agencies, as well as capacity building and public engagement to ensure that collection systems are fair, transparent, and efficient.

Based at the Institute of Development Studies, the ICTD has established itself as a leading, independent expert in the area of taxation and development.

The Centre’s CEO Mick Moore said, “The ICTD is uniquely placed to deliver this research programme, with excellent connections to people working on tax issues in Africa at national, regional and international levels, and an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds in economics, law, political science, and tax administration.”

Earlier this week, UK Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, launched the first-ever DFID Research Review at a conference where she spoke with Bill Gates and Richard Branson. The review highlighted the high impact of the ICTD’s research on taxpayer communications and compliance in Rwanda and on taxing high net worth individuals in Uganda.

The new DFID and Gates Foundation funding will enable the ICTD to:

  1. Produce and disseminate high quality, policy-oriented research on themes including tax compliance, tax and inequality, subnational taxation, and taxation in fragile and conflict-affected states
  2. Launch new research programs on tax and gender and subnational taxation, establishing the African Property Tax Initiative
  3. Help build the capacity of African researchers to produce quality work on taxation, and form two country tax research networks in Ethiopia and Nigeria

For further information or to request an interview, contact Rhiannon McCluskey on [email protected] or +(44) 7476360064.

Notes for the Editor

  1. Created in 2010, the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) network embodies strong professional and personal linkages between important groups of stakeholders who work on tax issues in sub-Saharan Africa, including many national revenue authorities and ministries of finance; regional organizations like the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the African Union, and WAEMU; the IMF, the OECD, the UN Tax Committee and the World Bank; and Anglophone and Francophone researchers in Africa, Europe and North America. Find out more: ictd.ac
  2. The Institute for Development Studies (IDS) is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.Find out more: www.ids.ac.uk
  3. The ICTD’s DFID funding extension (1.7 million GBP) began 1 October and is for 18 months and will fund 15 research projects on the themes of subnational taxation, tax compliance, tax and inequality, tax in fragile and conflict-affected states, and the political economy of taxation. The ICTD funding from the Gates Foundation (2 million USD) will begin 1 November and is for 2 years. The grant will sponsor five sub-programmes: 1) a new research programme on gender and taxation; 2) a new Africa Property Tax Initiative; 3) continuing research and engagement on international taxation issues, from the perspective of developing countries; 4) the establishment of two country tax research networks in Ethiopia and Nigeria; and 5) a cross-cutting programme on research uptake and capacity building, including holding meetings and events with stakeholders, running short courses, and offering scholarships (to attend courses and research events such as the African Tax Research Network congress) and mentoring to African researchers.
  4. DFID’s Research Review is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-focus-innovation-and-research-on-tackling-global-challenges
  5. The Sustainable Development Goals include target 17.1 on domestic revenue mobilisation http://indicators.report/targets/17-1/

Key contacts

Image of Rhiannon McCluskey
Rhiannon McCluskey

Research Uptake and Communications Manager

r.mccluskey@ids.ac.uk

+44 (0)1273 915654

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Africa

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