Developing tax advice with colleagues in Pretoria
-Policy design, also in African countries, should be tailored to the country, not based on textbook presentations on «what should be done». I look forward to contribute to a research agenda that can provide policymakers with concrete and context specific advice in collaboration with colleagues at the African Tax Institute, says Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, senior researcher at CMI. He was recently appointed professor at the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria.
Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, senior researcher at CM and research director of the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), has had close contact with the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria for several years, mainly discussing research projects, exchanging publications and giving lectures. The close contact has now been taken a step further by Fjeldstad being appointed Extraordinary Professor at the African Tax Institute.
The African Tax Institute is devoted to training, research, and technical assistance in tax policy and tax administration on the African continent. The institute also boasts an impressive network of research institutions and tax administrations all over Africa. Fjeldstad is eager to work more closely with his new colleagues at the African Tax Institute. He argues that contextual knowledge is often missing in research and policy advice produced mainly by research institutes and consultants in the West.
-Unfortunately, policy advice from so called tax experts are often based on broad generalisations and limited contextual knowledge. A common approach to policy design is “what should be done” based on Western textbooks and experiences, and not on “what can be done” given the political, institutional, financial and economic constraints facing reformers in African countries, says Fjeldstad.
He hopes that his country specific knowledge of subnational and national taxation in many African countries will be an important contribution to developing a research agenda that can provide policymakers with concrete and context specific advice in collaboration with colleagues at the African Tax Institute. For Fjeldstad, the professorate also means an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with leading international scholars on taxation and to interact with students. He hopes that he can contribute to develop a competent pool of young African tax researchers and tax practitioners.
-It is important for me to be part of an environment where researchers, practitioners and policy makers interact, respect each other and understand each other’s roles, he says.