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 11-20 of 92 results

  • Reforming property tax in developing countries: A new approach

    Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, 2008
    This paper proposes a different paradigm for property tax reform in developing countries. The unified property tax outline here would bring together and restructure the traditional urban property tax, property transfer and various forms of land increment taxes, and could generate enough revenue to justify the significant administrative costs involved. ...
  • Urban infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa – harnessing land values, housing and transport

    African Centre for Cities, 2015
    In the coming decades, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to experience ongoing and increasing population growth, economic growth and urbanisation, with consequent pressures on demand for land, housing, infrastructure and services. In this context the demand for infrastructure will grow rapidly with the region already experiencing a large gap between finance needed to provide the necessary infrastructure and what is available....
  • Land valuation in support of responsible land consolidation on Ghana’s rural customary lands

    Taylor and Francis Group, 2018
    In this paper, we develop a framework for an approach that assigns values to customary rural farmland parcels based on the local people’s view of land value to support land consolidation. In a case study of Nanton, Ghana, key land value factors were identified and weighted by the local community. The weights were integrated into the framework that produced a Land Value Index for each farmland parcel. Though the strength of the approach is found in scenario and sensitivity analyses....
  • Property taxes: Exploring the untapped potential for the city of Hargeisa

    International Growth Centre, 2019
    Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, is a rapidly growing city. It is the largest city in a heavily decentralised political system. As a result of the system, the city is responsible for delivering a large number of services and investing in infrastructure. In the past years, the city government has made significant improvements in raising own-source revenues. However, at just over 8 million USD in the FY 2016, overall collection is still low and far from being sufficient to meet the growing needs of the city....
  • Using machine learning and remote sensing to value property in Rwanda

    International Growth Centre, 2020
    Property valuation models can achieve mass valuation transparently and cheaply. This paper develops a number of property valuation models for Kigali, Rwanda, and tests them on a unique dataset combining remote sensing data and infrastructure and amenities data for properties in Kigali, with sales transaction data for 2015. We use a machine learning approach, Minimum Redundancy Maximum Relevance, to select from 511 features those that minimise ten-fold cross validated Mean Absolute Error....
  • Reforming property tax valuation in Sierra Leone

    International Growth Centre, 2020
    Across sub-Saharan Africa, ineffective property valuation presents a serious hurdle to strengthening local property taxes. Between January and August 2019, the International Growth Centre (IGC) co-piloted a simplified approach to property valuation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, that combines both surface area and easily-observable characteristics to arrive at an estimate of market value. Several important lessons emerged from the pilot, both for the city-wide scale-up and for other jurisdictions interested in pursuing similar reforms....
  • Property taxes in Kampala: Some background information

    International Growth Centre, 2019
    Property rates, as collected by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), are taxes on the rental or business income of property in the city of Kampala, Uganda that can be applied to commercial, institutional, and rented residential properties across the five urban divisions of the city. • Property rates make up a substantial proportion of the KCCAs own source revenues – in FY 2018/19, these taxes made up over 35% of own source revenues. However, there is significant room for improvement in collection....
  • Technology and property tax: Raising city revenue in Kampala

    International Growth Centre, 2020
    Property taxes are a hugely important potential source of revenue for cities. Faced with limited municipal revenues and rapidly growing populations, taxes on the value of land and property can offer a significant source of funding for cities to provide local services and to tap into financing for larger investments. Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is no exception here – property taxes made up over 30% of the Kampala Capital City Authority’s (KCCA’s) own source revenues (OSRs) in 2018/19....
  • A global compendium and meta-analysis of property tax systems

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2013
    This report is a global compendium of significant features of systems for recurrently taxing land and buildings. It is based on works in English, many of which were published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Its aim is to provide researchers and practitioners with useful information about these sources and with facts and patterns of system features, revenue statistics, and other data. It reports on systems in 187 countries (twenty-nine countries do not have such taxes; the situation in four countries is unclear)....
  • Designing land value capture tools in the context of complex tenurial and deficient land use regulatory regimes in Accra, Ghana

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2019
    Rapid urbanization has increased the demand for urban infrastructure services. Municipalities have attempted to finance infrastructure services with value capture instruments. The paper highlights how value capture instruments are designed and implemented in Ghana. The study used the case study strategy of inquiry and multiple case study design to locate the research within the contexts of fiscal decentralization policies, urban planning and land tenure frameworks....


See all content in Eldis on Taxation