With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ICTD will soon be officially launching the new African Property Tax Initiative (APTI). 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
- Taxing the urban boom: property taxation in Africa by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Merima Ali, Tom Goodfellow (2017) Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Insight no. 1) 8 p.
- Property Taxation in Developing Countries by Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Lucas Katera (2017), Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Brief vol. 16 no. 1) 4 p.
- Property Taxation and Economic Development: Lessons from Rwanda and Ethiopia by Tom Goodfellow - New Global Political Economy Brief from Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) (2016).
- How Property Tax Would Benefit Africa by Nara Monkam and Mick Moore - Africa Research Institute (2015).
- Rebuilding Local Government Finance After Conflict: The Political Economy of Property Tax Reform in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone by Samuel Jibao and Wilson Prichard - ICTD Working Paper 12 (2015).
- Taxing the Urban Boom: Property Taxation and Land Leasing in Kigali and Addis Ababa by Tom Goodfellow - ICTD Working Paper 38 (2015).
- Practical Aspects of Mobilising Property Tax: Experience in Sierra Leone and Malawi by Paul Fish - Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (2015).
- The Political Economy of Property Tax in Africa: Explaining Reform Outcomes in Sierra Leone by Samuel Jibao and Wilson Prichard - African Affairs (2015).
- Property Rating Potentials and Hurdles: What can be done to boost property rating in Ghana? by Elias Danyi Kuusaana - Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (2015).
- Governing and Financing Cities in the Developing World by Roy Bahl and Johannes F. Linn - Lincoln institute of Land Policy (2014).
- Local Property Taxation and Benefits in Developing Countries: Overcoming Political Resistance? by Ehtisham Ahmad, Giorgio Brosio and Caroline Pöschl - London School of Economics Asia Research Centre (2014).
- Making the Property Tax Work by Roy Kelly - International Center for Public Policy (2013).
- Implementing Property Tax Reform in Tanzania by Roy Kelly and Zainab Musunu - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
- Area-Based Property Tax Systems: Current Practice and Equity Concerns by Katrina Connolly and Michael E. Bell - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
- Mapping Property Taxes in Africa by Riël C. D. Franszen and Joan M. Youngman - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2009).
- Property Tax Reform in Developing and Transition Countries by Roy Bahl - United States Agency for International Development (2009).
- Implementing a Local Property Tax Where There Is No Real Estate Market: The Case of Commonly Owned Land in Rural South Africa by Michael E. Bell and John H. Bowman - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2006).
- Designing a Property Tax Reform Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analytical Framework Applied to Kenya by Roy Kelly - Public Budgeting and Finance (2000).
- How One African City Is Flipping the Script on Urban Development - Liam Taylor (2016).
- Five Questions About Property Taxation in Africa: Insights from the ICTD Roundtable - Rhiannon McCluskey (2016).
- Property Tax in Africa: The 'Cindarella' of Revenue Instruments and Why it Matters for Development - Tom Goodfellow (2014).
- Wanted Worldwide: Sensible Property Taxes, and a Property Tax Champion - Mick Moore (2013).