Revitalizing global partnership IBFD launches tax think tank for Africa
The International Bureau for Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) is a leading provider of crossborder
tax expertise. Established in 1938, IBFD holds true to its original mission to promote
the understanding of international taxation. Its status as an independent not-for-profit
foundation means that IBFD is ideally positioned to pursue this mission through initiatives like its recently-launched autonomous think tank, the IBFD Centre for Studies in African Taxation (CSAT).
Inaugurated this year, CSAT is devoted to the study and development of African taxation. It provides researchbased opinions and best practice guidance for domestic and international tax issues as they relate to Africa. CSAT inhabits the cutting edge of creativity and innovation in order to anticipate international tax developments from an African Perspective.
Narrowing the knowledge gap The tax knowledge gap between Africa and other continents is evidently wide, particularly in relation to international taxation. It is essential to improve tax expertise in African countries as it enables them to collect the revenue necessary to fund development programmes, run essential services and to achieve sustainable economic growth.
Further, in a rapidly changing tax arena,it is generally agreed that such vices as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) are best tackled through a globally coordinated response, as opposed to continued inter-jurisdictional competition for tax revenue. Major differences between countries in their knowledge and skills are a hindrance to these coordination efforts. In fulfilment of its mission, and with the support of partners, IBFD will narrow this knowledge and skills gap through the activities of CSAT.
Strengthening skills and capacity IBFD views CSAT as a solid contribution towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2015 and, in particular, “Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” One of the targets of this Goal is to “strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection.” Within this context, CSAT’s tax research activities will have a bias towards international taxation, since the knowledge gap in African countries is most acute in this very specialized area of taxation.
CSAT aims to encourage research by Africans for Africa and to find solutions that work in practice. To this end,CSAT’s first major initiative was to organize an open symposium in Africa.
Under the banner Trends in International Taxation: an African Perspective, this first-ever symposium took place in June
2015, a stone’s throw from the aweinspiring Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. More than 130 delegates – double the initially-anticipated number – attended, coming from private practice and industry, government agencies and civil society organizations.
The two-day event presented a complete picture of international taxation and featured prominent speakers, including IBFD tax experts on Africa and eminent tax practitioners and professors from Africa, the United States and Europe.
Sponsored by IBFD with support from KPMG Zambia and the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants, the symposium was fully endorsed by the Zambian Ministry of Finance. Established as an annual event, future symposia will provide opportunities to present and debate research papers on recent developments in international taxation. They will also provide welcome recurring opportunities for delegates network and share knowledge, and for businesses (both local and global) to seek investment opportunities in Africa.
CSAT’s activities are supervised by a Management Committee, whose membership includes representation from
IBFD’s Executive Board. The think tank’s composition is currently in the process of being augmented by a senior tax advisor from Africa, an African university tax academician, an African tax administrator or policymaker and a tax advocate from a civil society organization.
CSAT seeks collaborative partnerships with the African Union and its recognized Regional Economic Communities, multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and United Nations, the European Union and African universities. It also welcomes collaborative sponsorship from local and global businesses.
If you believe you can contribute to its
objectives, CSAT can be reached at:
1019 DW Amsterdam
P.O. Box 20237
1000 HE Amsterdam
Visit us at www.ibfd.org
The objectives of CSAT are to study and provide well-researched opinions on taxation in Africa, to encourage research by Africans for Africa and to find practical solutions that work within an African context. To achieve this, CSAT will:
Organize an annualsymposium in Africa
Conduct research on international and comparative taxation as they relate to Africa
Disseminate research material and findings throughout Africa
Engage in (social media) debates on Af rican taxation
Respond to African governmental “public calls for comments” on tax policy documents.
Make open calls for research papers on specialist tax topics affecting Africa.
Develop domestic skills and institutional capacity