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 41-50 of 92 results

  • Property tax in African secondary cities: insights from the cases of Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal)

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2019
    This working paper adopts an urban lens on property tax. It focuses specifically on how property tax operates in two African secondary cities, Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal). The paper identifies three factors shaping the low levels of property tax collection in the two case cities....
  • Property taxation in Kampala, Uganda: an analytic case study on a successful reform

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2018
    Kampala’s revenue reforms offer lessons that large and powerful cities should not wait for national actions, rather, they can do a lot “in-house” to improve tax administration, coverage, and collection. Against the rather poor performance of the property tax in Uganda, Kampala’s reforms have resulted in unprecedented increase of own-source revenues generally and the property tax specifically....
  • Practical guidance note: training manual for implementing property tax reform with a points-based valuation

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2018
    This paper shares the author’s on-going experience in supporting the implementation of property tax reform programmes in smaller urban centres and rural districts in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering more than 12 local governments over a period of more than 10 years. The paper presents a generic training manual, designed to offer practical guidance for property tax reformers on the process of mobilising revenue.The guidance details the process step-by-step together with supporting materials, schedules and examples of survey instruments....
  • Property owners’ knowledge and attitudes towards property taxation in Tanzania

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2018
    Property taxation (PT) is high on the political agenda in Tanzania and considered a cornerstone of the Government’s efforts to strengthen broad based direct taxation. Because it is visible to taxpayers, and in principle linked to improved local services, PT holds a unique potential to act as a foundation for bargaining between taxpayers and governments over revenue and public spending. Yet, property tax generates limited revenues....
  • How local authorities can exploit the potential for effective property taxes: a case study of Harare

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2018
    This paper explores administrative challenges that developing countries face in property tax administration. It is internationally acknowledged that local authorities play a vital role in enhancing a country’s economic growth and provision of public goods. Their activities rely on revenue collection. It is therefore in the public interest and the interest of all governments to support their activities. The author identified that the main source of revenue for the City of Harare is property tax.Property tax has the potential to perform better given the boom in urban population....
  • 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. ...


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