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New Tax Program For Africa Launched

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

02 December 2009

A program of assistance on taxation matters has been launched by the OECD for 31 African tax administrations that met in Uganda to launch the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the aim being to enhance economic development and good governance on the African continent.

African-led, managed and supported primarily through the expertise, resources and financial contributions of its members, the ATAF wishes to achieve increasing financial independence for African countries.

The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Mr Oupa Magashula, was elected chairperson at the November conference, and Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Zimbabwe contributed Council members. The North African countries of Mauritania, Morocco and Sudan have recommended that Morocco joins the Council as their representative.

According to a statement issued by the Ugandan authorities ahead of the launch, African countries need to strengthen their capacity to mobilize domestic resources, to provide the fiscal space in which governments can address their development priorities.

The government of Uganda also outlined another major challenge identified by the leadership of Africa’s tax and revenue agencies; the presence of 'tax havens' and capital flight.

It stated that: "Billions of dollars leave the African continent each year. Between 1991 and 2004, these outflows are estimated at around 7.6% of the annual GDP of the region and in effect make African countries net creditors of donor countries."

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