Africa’s Tax Reform Debate Should Include Its Real Economy

A woman buys tomatoes and onions from street-sellers in Lagos, Nigeria, April 13, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).
A woman buys tomatoes and onions from street-sellers in Lagos, Nigeria, April 13, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).
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Given the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global public finances, it is hardly surprising that cash-strapped governments across Africa—from Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe—are experimenting with a range of tax increases to broaden state revenues. That, in turn, has put the spotlight on tax collection across Africa more broadly.  A recent Financial Times article discussing Nigeria’s paltry formal revenue collection rates is emblematic of the usual coverage of the issues involved, which are recurring topics of discussion on social media and in other public arenas,  including among prospective candidates in Nigeria’s upcoming presidential election. But while the question of […]

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