It has long been debated whether Africa’s lack of growth is best explained by the continent’s exploitation by the global system, or by internal failures of domestic political leadership, and taxation is no different. Some point to a global economic system that undermines Africa’s tax collection through tax havens and evasion by multinational firms and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile, others highlight domestic barriers to effective taxation that are rooted in corruption and the unwillingness or inability of political leaders to take necessary action. Written by leading international experts, Taxing Africa moves beyond this polarizing debate, arguing that substantial cultural and political change must come from within African countries themselves. From tackling the collusion of elites with international corporations to enhancing local democratic governance, the book examines the potential for reform, and how it may become a springboard for broader development gains.

 

Reviews of the book

‘Taxation remains at the heart of the expression of sovereignty. Too many post-colonial states have ignored this function and consequently lost the ability to shape policy. Taxing Africa refocuses the debate, one as much about the quality of democracy as it is about the rates of taxation.’ Trevor Manuel, former Minister of Finance for South Africa

‘A manifesto on how Africa can diminish its reliance on aid and fund its own development. Policy makers and development practitioners will find in this book a combination of powerful advocacy and a new way forward.’ Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank

‘Remarkable in scope, Taxing Africa will surprise, inform, and challenge policy makers, tax experts, and anyone interested in ensuring African countries have financial resources to fund economic development.’ Eric M. Zolt, UCLA School of Law, and co-founder of the African Tax Institute

‘Emphasizes the importance of history, culture and politics in shaping taxation, and offers new insight into how to approach reform. If you are working on African fiscal affairs, this book belongs on your shelf.’ Roy Bahl, Georgia State University

‘An accessible and comprehensive introduction to the historical, political and economic context of taxation in African countries. It will help launch any student or professional venturing into the field of tax systems in these developing and emerging economies.’ Graham Glenday, Duke Center for International Development, Duke University

‘This short and well-written book provides both an excellent overview of taxation issues in Africa and a stimulating introduction to the political economy of policy reform in general. Both old hands and newcomers can learn much here.’ Richard Bird, University of Toronto (Emeritus)

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Senior Researcher, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance

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