ATAF calls for transformative solutions to boost Africa’s tax revenues
By Winston Mwale in CAPETOWN, South Africa
THE head of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has urged regional members to embrace transformative solutions to boost tax revenue across the continent during closing remarks at the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday..
Mr Logan Wort, ATAF’s executive secretary, said in his speech that utilising data analytics tools could help African countries uncover noncompliance patterns and minimize revenue losses from issues like illicit financial flows.
“I trust that the discussions on the transformative power of data analytics opened our eyes to the immense potential that lies within our reach,” he said.
“By harnessing the tools of data analytics, Africa would be able to uncover noncompliance patterns and minimize revenue leakages and illicit financial flows.”
The three-day conference focused on the theme of sustainable growth through domestic revenue mobilization.
Mr Wort noted that Africa loses more than $90 billion annually to illicit financial flows. Meanwhile, he said the average tax-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio in Africa is 17 percent to 18 percent, significantly lower than the global average of around 24 percent.
He outlined plans for the ATAF to invest heavily in training and capacity building to improve data analytics capabilities within African revenue authorities in the coming years.
Mr Wort also emphasized the need for tax policies to evolve alongside the digital economy, which has brought new challenges around value-added tax compliance for cross-border transactions.
He said the ATAF aims to help member countries keep pace through technical guidance. In addition, Mr Wort thanked ATAF member countries for their “steadfast dedication”, which he called the “cornerstone of ATAF’s success.”
He congratulated newly appointed heads of tax authorities in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda.
Looking ahead, Mr Wort encouraged countries to adopt ATAF’s new anti-illicit financial flows policy tracker tool. He also noted Rwanda’s offer during the conference to develop practical solutions for the automatic exchange of tax information across the continent.
The ATAF head said the knowledge shared and connections made at the annual meeting would influence African tax policy and administration for years to come.
“The impact of the 2023 annual meeting extends far beyond these few days, as the knowledge and decisions shared here will ripple out and influence African countries and economies for years to come,” he concluded