The 4th ICTD Annual Meeting, kindly sponsored by the Tanzania Revenue Authority, was very well atended and engaged a mixture of professionals, notably researchers and African tax administrators and tax specialists, in constructive dialogue about contemporary tax challenges in Africa.
There were two themes to the 2014 ICTD Annual Meeting:
1. Tax Capacity Building
Given the increasing number of capacity building activities related to taxation in Africa, and an increasing number of donors coming into the field, we asked: How effective are current approaches and methods? What could best be done differently? The aim was to identify a range of actors involved in capacity building, especially those on the ‘receiving’ end of donor programmes, and encourage them to speak frankly about successes, failures and challenges. Through interactive discussion and debate, rather than formal presentations or written papers, we covered a range of specific capacity building arenas:
- How best to build sustainable capacity to deal more effectively with transnational investors operating in specialised areas such as mining, finance and telecoms?
- What are the capacity building implications of current global tax reforms?
- What are the distinctive problems and solutions in building capacity to improve sub-national taxation?
- What scope is there for independent African initiatives to complement the on-going BEPS (base erosion and profit-shifting) process being led by the OECD?
- What kinds of IT systems and policies best support sustainable capacity development?
- What are the needs and experiences in building research capacity within revenue agencies and taxation research capacity in African universities and research institutions?
2. Tax Compliance Research
Since the amount of research on the factors contributing to tax compliance in Africa is likely to increase considerably in the near future, we chose to showcase some of the best pieces of recent and current research – mainly through formal presentations and written papers – and used them to stimulate a broader debate about new research.
The meeting was opened by the Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority, Mr. Rished Bade, and the Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Tax and Development, Professor Mick Moore.
Among the seventy delegates, from sixteen different countries, were representatives from from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZRA), the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), and the Uganda Revenue Authority, as well as representatives from development organisations such as the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad); as well as tax experts from the OECD, the HMRC, the African Tax Institute, the WCO, GIZ.