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.

Image credit: Kampala city center | Lauren Parnell Marino | Flickr | CC BY NC 2.0

In this collection


Showing 1-10 of 66 results

  • The role of ICT in property tax administration: Lessons from Tanzania

    Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway, 2019
    A key problem facing revenue administrations in many developing countries is that they operate manual paper-based recording systems. This is particularly the case for property taxation. Revenue leakages are common and occur because of untimely collection, corruption and under-collection. Difficulties emerge in estimating how many taxpayers are missing from their registered rolls, how many of those who are registered are inactive, and how much is actually being evaded through non-payments, corruption and ineffective billing systems....
  • Property tax reform for local government revenue mobilisation in sub-Saharan Africa

    Adam Smith Institute, 2019
    To ensure sustainability and accountability of financing the Sustainable Development Goals and challenging infrastructure needs, developing country governments and development partners are looking at a range of measures to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation. One of the measures that is often cited, especially as a source of local government own revenue is property taxation....
  • Land and property tax for municipal finance

    International Growth Centre, 2018
    As cities grow, the wealth they create becomes capitalised in the rising land values of the city. Parts of peri-urban land in Kigali have increased in value over 1000-fold in the last 10 years. The question for policy then, is who captures this gain? The default option is that it gets captured by a few lucky individuals. In the 19th century, the Duke of Westminster became the richest man in Britain purely because he owned the land upon which the city of London developed. Smart public policy leads to a different outcome....
  • Land and property taxes: Exploiting untapped municipal revenues

    International Growth Centre, 2018
    This brief outlines the importance of annual land and property tax as a source of municipal finance and explores trade-offs that policymakers face in implementing reform. It also identifies examples of best practice for reform from cities across the developing world....
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on revenue collection by Kenyan counties

    Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, 2014
    For sustainable growth and poverty reduction to take place in African countries specifically in Kenya and more so in Kenyan counties, it is essential that a coherent, dynamic and domestically driven capital accumulation, intermediation and Computerization process take root ....
  • The role of Information Communication Technology to enhance property tax revenue in Africa: A tale of four cities in three ountries

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2018
    Information communication technology (ICT) is an important tool to support local governments in their efforts to more efficiently administer property taxes and other ownsource revenues. Increasingly, developing countries, including those in Africa, are managing large volumes of data on taxable properties and taxpayers within the ICT environment....
  • Modelling improvements to property tax collection: the case of Addis Ababa

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2020
    Efforts to reform property tax systems in African cities tend to focus more on how to value properties for purposes of tax assessment than on how to better collect taxes due. The same is true of the literature on property tax reform.There is however reason to believe that a greater initial focus on improving collection would be more productive. In this paper, we explore how this might be done in Addis Ababa. This would involve adopting a principle already employed in several African cities: area-based property valuation....
  • Simplifying property tax administration in Africa: Piloting a points-based valuation in Freetown, Sierra Leone

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2019
    The current method of property valuation in Freetown, Sierra Leone is highly inaccurate and generally regressive, as it does not take subjective property characteristics that are major determinants of value into account. The newly elected Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr made revenue mobilisation a central pillar of her ‘Transform Freetown’ agenda....
  • Enhancing property rates administration, collection and enforcement in Uganda: The case of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and four other municipalities

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2019
    Uganda embraced decentralisation as a system of governance in the early 1990’s. The success of decentralisation was pegged on the capacity of the local governments to mobilise their own revenues in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Before its suspension in 2005 and eventual abolition in 2008, graduated tax constituted a dominant source of local revenue....
  • Enhancing property rates administration, collection and enforcement in Uganda: The case of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and four other municipalities

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2019
    Uganda was among the first African countries to embrace a decentralised system of government in the 1990s. The objective of this policy was to bring services closer to the people while at the same time enhancing local participation and democracy. The success of decentralisation was, however, greatly dependent on the amount of funds and other resources available to local governments. Before it was scrapped, graduated tax – a form of poll tax – contributed a significant part of local government own source revenue....


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