With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ICTD will soon be officially launching the new African Property Tax Initiative. It is meant as a collaborative platform of tax practitioners, policymakers and researchers to stimulate and encourage wider use of more effective property tax systems in order to equitably raise more revenue at the subnational level across the African continent.
APTI is based on the understanding that:
- Property taxes are among the best revenue sources in terms of their consequences for equity, economic growth, and the provision of stable funding for sub-national governments.
- Africa's wealthy elites tend to invest in real estate, and prices are on the rise across the continent, especially in big cities.
- Yet, property taxes are much underused in Africa – as in much of the world.
- There is a great deal of practical knowledge about how to improve the effectiveness of property taxes in Africa – but a need to synthesize and mobilize that knowledge
- Solutions need to reflect a partnership with African stakeholders, and a recognition of unique challenges and opportunities in the region
The ultimate objective of the APTI is stimulate and encourage wider use of more effective property tax systems in Africa. The APTI will do this by becoming a strong, well-resourced network of property tax practitioners, policymakers and researchers. The network will:
- Synthesise experiences with property taxes to date
- Organise practical and policy relevant research
- Create informed debate through direct country engagement, workshops and conference
- Disseminate the policy conclusions through all appropriate publications, briefings and media
- Facilitate collaboration and mutual learning among property tax stakeholders across Africa
The APTI aims to identify a set of underexplored and high impact issues on which to focus. A preliminary list of possibilities emerged from a conference in Addis Ababa in February 2016, though this list will evolve in partnership with local stakeholders. It includes:
1. Strengthening the use of ICTs for property tax
2. Exploring locally appropriate approaches to valuation
3. Implications of property tax collection by central governments
4. The role of private contractors in property tax collection
5. Linking property tax to services and accountability
6. Considering connections between the property tax and land titling
The APTI will be a virtual network, formally part of the International Centre for Tax and Development. It will be overseen by a Management Committee comprised of:
- Professor Wilson Prichard (University of Toronto and Institute of Development Studies) (Chair)
- Dr Nara Monkam (Research Director, African Tax Administration Forum)
- Dr Samuel Jibao (Centre for Economic Research and Capacity Building, Sierra Leone)
- Paul Fish (Revenue Development Foundation)
- Dr Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield)
- David Nguyen-Thanh (GIZ)
The Project Leader is Nyah Zebong, who has a Phd from Dundee University in Petroleum and Mining Taxation, and was previously a tax inspector with the revenue authority in Cameroon. He will be responsible for establishing close partnerships with revenue agencies and researchers across Africa, who will become the drivers of the work of the APTI.
Opportunities for Engagement