Nick Shaxson ■ On raising tax in Africa

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The Economist is running an article on a subject dear to our hearts, entitled “African governments are trying to collect more tax. It contains some useful data and quotes, such as this:

It also quotes Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF,) saying that administrative reforms like strengthening IT systems or adopting taxpayer identification numbers helped, but only went so far.

Those are all right. But you know what the problem in Africa is? It has signed away its tax base.

All those tax holidays, tax-free zones, skewed bilateral tax treaties, which are now widely recognised as having a terrible record attracting investment, but an excellent record boosting (mostly western) multinationals’ share prices at the expense of African governments. This has all been a massive drain on African revenues. Thankfully, things are finally changing.

Now read on . . .

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