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 81-90 of 92 results

  • Constraints on property rating in the Offinso South Municipality of Ghana

    University of Technology, Sydney, 2013
    The potential of property rate has been least tapped by decentralized governments in Ghana. This paper investigates the property rating system in Ghana through a case study of Offinso South Municipality (OSM). Questionnaires were used to gather empirical data from property owners in the municipality....
  • Taxing property in a neo-developmental state: the politics of urban land value capture in Rwanda and Ethiopia

    Oxford University Press, 2017
    Of the African states experiencing sustained growth and poverty reduction in recent decades, Rwanda and Ethiopia stand out due to the scope of their development visions and relatively effective state-driven transformation, leading them to be compared to the East Asian ‘developmental states’....
  • Property taxation in developing countries

    Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway, 2017
    Property tax (PT) raises on average revenues of less than 1% of GDP in developing countries. In many African countries it contributes far less than 0.5%. Following such low contribution, there is a growing eagerness among policy makers to increase its share in GDP.This policy brief provides a theoretical rationale behind such enthusiasm by discussing the reasons for considering PT as a ‘good’ tax compared to other forms of taxes such as income and consumption tax. It also elaborates on conditions under which PT may lead to inefficiencies and inequities....
  • Taxing the urban boom: property taxation and land leasing in Kigali and Addis Ababa

    International Centre for Tax and Development, 2015
    Much contemporary economic growth in Africa is driven by urban service sectors including construction and real estate. This manifests in rapidly transforming landscapes and the proliferation of valuable property in the continent’s booming large cities, often accompanied by growing socio-economic inequality. In this context, improving systems for property taxation is an urgent and growing need – something that national and international policymakers increasingly recognise....
  • Perspectives from the field: SDC cooperation for property taxation

    Institute of Development Studies UK, 2017
    This paper reviews three projects implemented in the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network (DDLGN) that aim to provide incentives for local governments to increase tax compliance and revenues.The investigation focuses on three projects that aim to improve local revenue mobilisation: (1) a competition among municipalities in Serbia, (2) a performance-based grant system in Kosovo, and (3) a project on municipal social accountability in Mozambique....
  • Designing a property tax reform strategy for sub‐Saharan Africa: an analytical framework applied to Kenya

    Wiley Online Library, 2000
    Countries throughout Sub‐Saharan Africa are exploring options to improve local property taxation. Using the case of Kenya, this article provides an analytical framework for designing an effective property tax reform strategy.The first section presents a general conceptual model of property tax revenues, identifying four critical ratios that ultimately determine the effectiveness of any property tax system—namely, the coverage ratio, the valuation ratio, the tax ratio, and the collection ratio....
  • Mapping property taxes in Africa

    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2009
    A frica’s enormous challenges and equally great potential have led to intense international debate over how best to assist its citizens. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2009), the continent contains 33 of the 49 least developed countries in the world. Its population faces pressing needs ranging from basic health care and education to improved governance and strengthened legal systems.At the same time, some critics charge that direct aid to Africa has undermined indigenous economic and political growth (Moyo 2009)....
  • Property rating potentials and hurdles: what can be done to boost property rating in Ghana?

    University of Technology, Sydney, 2015
     Population growth in many of Africa’s towns and cities has outpaced local authority capacity to provide efficient management, infrastructure and financing. There is already debate over the capability and capacity of urban local governments to provide basic services to a growing population, due to budget constraints and inability to raise the required local-level revenue....
  • The political economy of property tax in Africa: explaining reform outcomes in Sierra Leone

    Oxford University Press, 2015
    Effective local government taxation is critical to achieving the governance benefits widely attributed to decentralization, but in practice successful tax reform has been rare because of entrenched political resistance....
  • Practical aspects of mobilising property tax: experience in Sierra Leone and Malawi

    University of Technology, Sydney, 2015
    Much literature has been written about the appeal of property tax as a stable source of revenue for subnational governments in developing countries. Building on this significant background of literature is the author’s practical experience working in local government institutions within both Sierra Leone and Malawi.This article relates to the development and testing of a process of mobilizing the internally generated property tax revenues of local governments, and reports on the results of that process, and the challenges and lessons learned....


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