Africa: Building the next generation of tax justice champions

Published on 
09/17/2018

The Global Alliance for Tax Justice regional network member, Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) recently held their annual training programme: the International Tax Justice Academy (ITJA). The first ITJA was in 2014, and this was its fifth consecutive edition. It was organized in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 27th to the 31st August 2018. The academy aimed to address and raise awareness on key fiscal development issues on the theme: “Building the next generation of tax justice champions’’. The academy drew participants from CSOs, practitioners, trade unions, students, researchers and academics.

The academy was designed as a pan African initiative to bridge an existing knowledge gap on tax justice in Africa and to empower partners across Africa and beyond.

The academy was conceptualized on the premise that tax revenue is an important source of finance for country’s development and poverty reduction programmes. The role of tax goes beyond financing government expenditure for development and poverty reduction; it is supposed to reaffirm the social contract between citizen and the state. Without dependence on tax revenue, nation-states are caught in a cycle of perpetual dependency on external funding and this undermines the ability of citizens to hold their governments accountable.

As the Panama Papers revealed, many world leaders and unscrupulous businessmen have been indicted in the scandal, showing the rot in the system leading in the loss of Africa’s vital resources and call for greater action by national governments and rich countries to curb illicit financial flows and corruption. However, there is still a huge knowledge gap particularly in Africa and other parts of the developing world. In addition, there is a growing interest in the tax justice agenda, hence the need to bridge the knowledge gap in several areas of tax justice in Africa. TJNA designed ITJA to fill this gap through a week-long training programme comprising lectures, case studies and peer learning. Globally, the international tax justice campaign has been gaining momentum thanks to continuous advocacy and a growing interest by the media, policy-makers and the public in matters concerning tax.

The objectives of the academy was to provide a key platform to reflect and strategize on illicit financial flows (IFFs), tax governance and domestic resource mobilization on the African continent. The academy therefore set out to:

  1. Provide basic knowledge on key tax justice themes.
  2. Initiate peer learning amongst participants, build alliances and promote engagement of key stakeholders on taxation in Africa and beyond.
  3. Highlight and bring forth depth discussions on the Stop The Bleeding Campaign (STB) to raise opportunities of engagement.
  4. Promote knowledge sharing and networking among stakeholders working on tax justice issues on the continent and beyond.
  5. Increase and support advocacy through data analysis and information sharing.
  6. Strengthen enhance collaboration within the network championing tax justice issues in Africa.

The International Tax Justice Academy training programme included lectures, case studies and interactive group work, presentations and use of audio visual tools. Guided by a series of teach-ins and round table discussions, the Academy collectively examined fiscal economic analysis of Africa’s role in the global economic system, as well as in pursuing sustainable development goals. The academy further focused on building practical understanding and linkages to policy work amongst the international civil society community, policy-makers and beyond, as well as setting the stage for follow-up work after the academy.

GATJ Campaigns and Policy Coordinator for Africa facilitated two sessions on popular campaigns and effects of tax on women´s rights.

Caroline Othim also talked about leakages and tax justice for women's rights, explaining what gender impacts of taxation means to participants.

Farah Nguegan, Tax Justice Network Africa's Communications Campaigns and Outreach Manager, thanked participants, facilitators and panelists, praising their contribution and expertise.

The International Tax Justice Academy highlighted to following specific outputs from this year's edition:

  1. Participants were brought together from different areas of scope, generating knowledge on critical areas around tax at national, regional, continental and global levels. This will strengthen the network championing tax justice issues in Africa and enhance collaboration within the network.
  2. Peer learning was inititated amongst participants from different countries across the regions of Africa which will as well, build alliances at national and regional level and promote engagement of key stakeholders on taxation in Africa and beyond.
  3. The academy also stablished informal interactions to encourage alliance-building and experience sharing. This will further promote easy partnership in tax justice programmes and encourage media participation in covering taxation related issues and strengthen the capacity of members and related constituencies on tax.
  4. Graduate participants with hands on skills in international taxation, tax justice agenda and the basics of fiscal policy, natural resources and the economics of taxation and feminist tax economics will be supported
  5. This broadened the constituency of stakeholders advocating for tax justice.

For more information about the ITJA, don't hesitate to contact Tax Justice Network Africa: info@taxjusticeafrica.net

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