African Property Tax Initiative Library

Africa is the fastest urbanising continent on the planet. In order to provide citizens with adequate public goods and services and invest in the required infrastructure, African cities need sufficient and sustainable revenues. Property taxation is equitable, and provides stable funding for local governments. In developed countries, property taxes are the mainstay of local funding, with collection amounting to 2.2% of GDP on average.

In developing and transition countries, the average yield is 0.6% of GDP, while in Africa the tally averages a mere 0.38%. With many African cities booming, this represents a significant opportunity: If prosperous African cities could increase the proportion of tax collected from property, they could do much more to improve the quality of life of their communities. 

African countries face a number of technical, administrative, and political challenges in increasing property tax revenues, and research is needed to inform reform processes. To this end, the African Property Tax Initiative (APTI) was established in 2017. It is coordinated by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This library is intended to be of use to APTI members, with resources on the Initiative’s four core themes.

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Showing 11-20 of 51 results

  • How property tax would benefit Africa

    Africa Research Institute, 2015
    The developmental benefits of governments taxing citizens, even for modest sums, are often disregarded. African governments have long depended on revenue from natural resources or foreign aid to fund budgets. While the potential contribution that better domestic resource mobilisation could make to national finances has received greater attention since the 2008 global financial crisis, international donors often fail to recall the central role that bargaining over taxation has played in building effective, accountable and responsive states across the developed world....
  • Valuation for property tax purposes

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2017
    Improving processes for valuing properties lies at the heart of efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of property taxation. Effective property taxation is impossible without efficient property valuation. In practice, however, valuation rolls across most of Africa are incomplete and severely out-ofdate, thus dramatically reducing potential property tax yield....
  • Linking property tax revenue and public services

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2017
    In practical terms most property tax reforms are, first and foremost, efforts to increase tax revenue. But the ultimate goal of tax reform is, of course, broader: expanding tax revenue in order to finance the provision of valuable publicly-provided goods and services. Tax reform is only socially desirable if tax revenue is, in fact, translated into improved public outcomes....
  • The property tax – in theory and practice

    University of Toronto Press, 2011
    The property tax is considered to be a good tax for local governments, mainly because of the connection between the types of services funded at the local level and the benefit to property values. Yet property tax revenues rarely account for more than 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in any country....
  • Local government revenue mobilisation in anglophone Africa

    Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway, 2012
    This paper examines opportunities and constraints facing local revenue mobilization in Anglophone Africa with an emphasis on urban settings. Specific revenue instruments and their effects on economic efficiency, income distribution and accountability are discussed. In particular, political and administrative constraints facing various revenue instruments and factors affecting citizens’ compliance behaviour are addressed.The analysis is exemplified by cases from across Anglophone Africa....
  • Taxing immovable property revenue potential and implementation challenges

    International Monetary Fund, 2013
    The tax on immovable property has been characterized as probably the most unpopular among tax instruments, in part because it is salient and hard to avoid. But economists continue to emphasize the virtues of the property tax owing to its relatively low efficieny costs, benign impact on growth, and high score on fairness. It is, therefore, generally considered to be underutilized in most countries.This paper takes stock of the arguments for using real property taxation, and presents an updated data-set for high-and middle income countries to illustrate its use....
  • Rebuilding local government finances after conflict: lessons from a property tax reform programme in post-conflict Sierra Leone

    Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2016
    This research interrogates the factors underpinning the relative success of a property tax reform programme in Sierra Leone. Recognising the importance of politics in shaping reform outcomes, it highlights reform strategies that have contributed to overcoming both technical and political barriers to reform. It highlights three interconnected arguments.First, there is a need for long-term, hands-on, local partnerships that support local capacity, help to confront political resistance and build a constituency for reform....
  • Property taxation in North-east Africa: case study of Ethiopia

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2009
    The Lincoln Institute and the African Tax Institute (ATI ), located at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, have formed a joint venture to better understand propertyrelated taxation in Africa....
  • Property taxation in francophone West Africa: case study of Senegal

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2009
    The Lincoln Institute and the African Tax Institute (ATI ), located at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, have formed a joint venture to better understand property-related taxation in Africa....
  • Property taxation in francophone Africa 3: case study of Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2009
    The Lincoln Institute and the African Tax Institute (ATI ), located at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, have formed a joint venture to better understand property-related taxation in Africa....

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