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 57 results

  • The role of information communication technology to enhance property tax revenue in Africa: a tale of four cities in three countries

    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 own-source revenues. Increasingly, developing countries, including those in Africa, are managing large volumes of data on taxable properties and taxpayers within the ICT environment.With reference to four African cities, this paper comments on the benefits and challenges relating to the use of ICT in the administration of property tax and other own-source revenues....
  • Property tax reform in developing and transition countries

    United States Agency for International Development, 2009
    In this paper, we review the practice of property taxation in developing and transition countries, and use this history to suggest a roadmap for reform. We begin with a discussion of the conventional wisdom about the advantages of using the property tax, and of the reasons why this conventional wisdom does not necessarily travel well to the developing country setting.This discussion is important to understanding the constraints to successful reform. Next we explore the variation in the revenue performance and look for patterns that might explain why some countries do better than others....
  • Strengthening IT systems for property tax reform

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2017
    The introduction of improved IT systems has long been hailed as a powerful – potentially transformative – tool for strengthening local property taxes. Yet in practice this promise has rarely been achieved on a sustainable basis in Africa, despite significant investment.The challenge lies in understanding why new IT systems have failed to deliver promised benefits, and in devising more effective systems and strategies moving forward.This brief is available to download in both English and French using the links above....
  • Central-local government roles and relationships in property taxation

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2018
    Should central or local governments be responsible for collection and administration of property taxes? There is great variation in practice across the continent, but one particularly significant divide is that between francophone and anglophone countries. The former commonly adopt centralised systems, while the latter usually decentralise key aspects of property taxation such as collection and administration....
  • Property tax in Africa

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2017
    This book—the first comprehensive study of the property tax in Africa—provides an overview of the property tax systems of 29 African countries, mapping out the most salient features of each. It also includes four regional reviews covering Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, and North African countries, and an in-depth discussion of key policy and administrative issues, including the tax base, exemptions and other relief, the tax rate, valuation and assessment, billing, collection, and enforcement. ...
  • Property taxation and economic development: lessons from Rwanda and Ethiopia

    Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, 2016
    Property taxation is increasingly emerging on the international development agenda, amid growing recognition that it is an underutilised source of revenue for state building and redistribution.The brief explores the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls of property taxation, and how it relates to land ownership, through analysis of Rwanda and Ethiopia: two rapidly urbanising countries whose recent economic growth and poverty reduction has been more consistent than most others in Africa....
  • 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....


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