Taxing Africa

Coercion, Reform and Development

Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard, and Odd-Helge Fjeldstad


An accessible and comprehensive introduction to the crucial debates around taxation and development in Africa.

Taxation has been seen as the domain of charisma-free accountants, lawyers and number crunchers – an unlikely place to encounter big societal questions about democracy, equity or good governance. Yet it is exactly these issues that pervade conversations about taxation among policymakers, tax collectors, civil society activists, journalists and foreign aid donors in Africa today. Tax has become viewed as central to African development.

Written by leading international experts, Taxing Africa offers a cutting-edge analysis on all aspects of the continent’s tax regime, displaying the crucial role such arrangements have on attempts to create social justice and push economic advancement. From tax evasion by multinational corporations and African elites to how ordinary people navigate complex webs of ‘informal’ local taxation, the book examines the potential for reform, and how space might be created for enabling locally-led strategies.

Author Bio

Mick Moore is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies; and CEO of the International Centre for Tax and Development.

Wilson Prichard is an Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Research Director at the International Centre for Tax and Development.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad is Research Professor at Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway, Extraordinary Professor at the African Tax Institute, University of Pretoria, and Senior Fellow at the International Centre for Tax and Development.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Why Does Tax Matter?
  • 2. A New Tax Era in Africa?
  • 3. Is Africa the Victim of Global Forces?
  • 4. What Can Africa Do in the Face of International Tax Challenges?
  • 5. Extractives and Extraction: Taxing Oil, Gas and Minerals
  • 6. Taxing at National Level: Rising to the Challenge?
  • 7. Small Taxes and Large Burdens: Informal and Subnational Revenues
  • 8. Does Taxation Lead to Improved Governance?
  • 9. The Way Forward


‘This incisive book, by well-known tax and development experts, reveals the successes and failures, challenges and opportunities of taxation in Africa. Recommended reading for every finance and treasury official in Africa and beyond.’
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former Managing Director of the World Bank, and Former Finance Minister for Nigeria

‘Taxation remains at the heart of the expression of sovereignty. Too many post-colonial states have ignored this function and consequently lost the ability to shape policy. Taxing Africa refocuses the debate, one as much about the quality of democracy as it is about the rates of taxation.’
Trevor Manuel, former Minister of Finance for South Africa

‘A manifesto on how Africa can diminish its reliance on aid and fund its own development. Policy makers and development practitioners will find in this book a combination of powerful advocacy and a new way forward.’
Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank

‘The authors apply their extensive practical experience and analytical acumen to provide a level-headed and accessible account of the key tax challenges (and opportunities) that the continent faces — as well as suggesting ways ahead.’
Michael Keen, Deputy Director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department

'Examines a highly important and timely issue which features high on the agenda of policy makers. The book will generate substantial interest and attention among policy makers, analysts and civil society organizations.'
Léonce Ndikumana, former Director of Research and Operations, African Development Bank

‘Remarkable in scope, Taxing Africa will surprise, inform, and challenge policy makers, tax experts, and anyone interested in ensuring African countries have financial resources to fund economic development.’
Eric M. Zolt, UCLA School of Law, and co-founder of the African Tax Institute

‘Emphasizes the importance of history, culture and politics in shaping taxation, and offers new insight into how to approach reform. If you are working on African fiscal affairs, this book belongs on your shelf.’
Roy Bahl, Georgia State University

‘An accessible and comprehensive introduction to the historical, political and economic context of taxation in African countries. It will help launch any student or professional venturing into the field of tax systems in these developing and emerging economies.’
Graham Glenday, Duke Center for International Development, Duke University

‘This short and well-written book provides both an excellent overview of taxation issues in Africa and a stimulating introduction to the political economy of policy reform in general. Both old hands and newcomers can learn much here.’
Richard Bird, University of Toronto (Emeritus)

'A very readable book about technical and complicated issues.'
Books About Africa


Publication Date: 15 July 2018
288 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783604531
Hardback: 9781783604548
eBook ePub: 9781783604562
eBook PDF: 9781783604555
eBook Kindle: 9781783604579

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