Tax Justice Network for Africa issues a Call for Papers for a Research Workshop in Nairobi

January 14th, 2010

Invitation to participate in a research seminar on:

Mobilising Tax Revenue for Development:
Opportunities and Challenges for Africa

Date: Wednesday, March 24th to Friday, March 26th 2009 in Nairobi


Revenue collection has been improved in many African countries over the last few years. The tax to GDP ratio of many African countries has increased from as low as 15% in the 1980s to today?s average of 20%. This, however, is still comparatively low in comparison to the OECD?s countries average of 35%. Tax effort – measured as ratio between the potential and the actual tax revenue – is relatively low as compared to other regions of the world. At the same time, recent research shows that Africa has lost up to 607 billion US dollars in the last 35 years as a result of capital flight.

The potential of African countries to increase their tax revenue is hampered by a number of domestic and also international factors related to the global economic environment. Although the long term impact of the global financial crisis on African countries is yet to be decerned, the need for domestic resource mobilisation by African states has become more urgent as rich countries focus their attention and resources to problems at home as a result of the financial crisis.

The Tax Justice Network-Africa is organising a two day high level research seminar to discuss the issues touched upon above. The aim of the conference is to provide a platform for researchers and policy practioners to generate ideas and proposals, through open-minded debate and discussion, which will inform and shape the policy initiatives and campaigns being undertaken by African CSO. . The workshop will enable presenters to interact and share their exprerience and explore possible solutions that would strenghten the domestic resource mobilisation capacity of African countries.

To ensure that we cover a wide spectrum of issues, the meeting will be divided into three main sub-themes described below:

1. Illicit financial flows from Africa: Closing the floodgate.

This sub-theme is expected to provide some insights on taxation and development from an international perspective. Under this sub-theme it is expected that presenters will examine factors that contribute to the illicit capital outflow from Africa.

Subjects to be handled include capital flight, tax evasion, corruption and the role played by tax havens herein, as well as the need for a review of the prevailing accounting practices of MNC in view of a call on the International Accounting Standards to introduce country-by country reporting. It is also hoped that regional tax issues including tax competition, challenges of tax harmonisation will be handled during this session.

2. Harnessing domestic tax policies for development

This panel seeks to discuss presentations that examine the role of domestic tax policy in development. The issues to be handled within this theme include the role of taxation in state state building, the role of progressive and equitable taxation in development; the problems posed by dependence on indirect taxation including VAT for development finance, transparency and capacity constraints of revenue authories, tax harmonisation and other related issues.

3. Taxing the extractive: Mirage to reality

For many resource-rich African countries, the abundance of natural resources including gold, diamonds, etc. has not led to commensurate benefits for citizens. This applies for both stable countries as well as post-conflict countries. This panel looks into challenges as to why resource-rich countries in Africa have not managed to break the “resource curse” and make it a blessing for their countries? development.

The panel will take a critical look at prevailing contracts and business practices in the extractive sector to come up with policy recommendations that could help reverse the so-called „resource curse? problem.

The Tax Justice Network-Africa is calling for papers to be submitted for discussion based on the above outline.

We would like to invite interested presenters to prepare a 300 word abstract by the deadline of 19th February in English or French and send to: Alvin Mosioma: email: africa(at)

Anyone interested in participating should provide details of the nature of their interest, affiliations and any relevant research works or publications, by latest 19th February 2009. During the seminar simultaneous translation will be provided from English to French and from French to English.

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by a committee of experts on taxation and development that has been set up by the organisers. TJN-A will cover for travel and accommodation cost for those presenters from whose papers will be accepted.

Written by Tax Justice Network

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