The Yaoundé Declaration on Tax and Development
September 21st, 2010
September 21st, 2010
Yaoundé, Cameroon, sits at the heart of Central Africa. The region is rich with mineral and forestry wealth which has been exploited ruthlessly by colonial powers and powerful corporations for centuries. You need only read the short historical paragraph on Yaoundé’s Wikipedia entry to get a sense of this past and present intrusion by external powers.
Much of Central Africa’s wealth disappears offshore, and constant exploitation has exposed the region to deep rooted political and commercial corruption. This is the context in which tax justice researchers and campaigners met in Yaoundé this month to share research on illicit financial flows and tax evasion, and to issue a civil society Declaration – the Yaoundé Declaration on Tax and Development – committing to combating these practices and cooperating with tax justice activists in other regions (see the Nairobi Declaration issued earlier this year).
This is a fantastic step, signalling the steady growth of our African network within the Francophone speaking region.
Here is the Declaration in its English translation:
THE YAOUNDÉ DECLARATION ON TAX AND DEVELOPMENT
We, the Civil Society Organisations from Central Africa (CAMEROON, GABON, CENTRAL AFRICA REPUBLIC, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, REPUBLIC OF CONGO et CHAD ) who came together to attend a workshop organised by Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) in collaboration with the Centre Régional Africain pour le Développement Endogène et Communautaire (CRADEC), mandated by Dynamique Citoyenne :
– Considering the appalling level of poverty in which the people of the different countries in the Central Africa sub-region live;
– Considering the challenge of resource mobilisation and management of financial resources to finance the national strategies for poverty eradication in the countries of Central Africa;
– Considering the engagement and efforts of the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015;
– Considering the impact of the international financial crisis on the Paris Declaration and the Accra Plan of Action;
– Reaffirming the readiness to adopt binding norms to guarantee transparency in the value chain;
– Emphasising the enormous potential of the natural resources in the countries in the Central Africa region;
– Emphasising the role of civil society in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the countries in the Central Africa sub-region;
– Emphasising the crucial role of tax revenues in financing national budgets;
– Encouraged by the recognition by the international community of the unacceptable practices to evade and avoid tax, especially in investment and commercial transactions between donor countries and the countries in the Central Africa sub-region ;
– Commend the efforts of the G20 in the struggle against financial fraud, tax evasion, capital flight , stolen assets at the expense of weak economies and impoverished populations of the South in general and the Central African region in particular;
– Commend with due emphasis the efforts of civil society organisations of different regions for their advocacy for tax justice for development of the continent in general and the sub-region in particular;
– Declare our commitment to engage as civil society organisations in supporting the advocacy for tax justice in the respective countries, in the Central African sub region and at the international level;
– Commit ourselves to spare no efforts to intensify the current efforts to raise awareness of stakeholders, to analyse taxation policies at the national and regional level;
– Commit ourselves to create a Central African Regional Network for Tax Justice based on the follow up initiative of public policy, whose Secretariat is established at CRADEC in Cameroon involving the focal points in each of the countries represented in this workshop;
– Endorse the Nairobi Declaration on Taxation and Development
1. The Governments of the Central African Sub- region and their partners:
(i) Adopt fiscal policies that will enable an optimal collection of tax revenues and
will combat illicit financial flows in order to achieve development;
(ii) Publicise national reports on tax system which could serve as a basis of
support for national, regional and international campaigns and enhance the
knowledge and understanding of stake holders on tax issues;
(iii) Support a participative, transparent, and responsible tax reform process;
(iv) Educate citizens on the importance of tax in development;
(v) Strengthen the capacity of CSOs to monitor tax policies;
(vi) Ratify the African Union convention to fight corruption; ;
(vii) Protect members of CSOs engaged in the campaign for tax justice.
2. The Organisations which facilitated this workshop TJN-A, CRADEC and their partners:
(i) Monitor the regional and national action plan;
(ii) Support the national and regional action plan in fundraising, and in providing information material regarding tax justice for development
(iii) Provide technical support to conduct research and studies in domestic taxation, international taxation and extractive industries and to publish the results.
Done in Yaoundé, on 9th September 2010