Landmark Supreme Court victory in Zambia: collecting millions in tax revenues and sending a message across borders

By Ignatius Mvula, Assistant Director – Mining Audit Unit, Zambia Revenue Authority, Mary Baine, Director – Tax Programmes, African Tax Administration Forum, and  Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

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In May 2020, the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) won a landmark tax case against Mopani Copper Mining plc in the Supreme Court. The Court ordered the company to pay additional tax of 240 million Kwacha (USD 13 million). The judgement hinged on Zambia making a technical case showing evidence of tax avoidance through base erosion and profit shifting or BEPS strategies. In countries around the world multinational enterprises (MNEs) exploit gaps and mismatches between different countries’ tax systems, costing countries up to 100-240 billion USD in lost revenue annually, the equivalent to 4-10% of the global corporate income tax revenue. Moreover, developing countries’ higher reliance on corporate income tax means they suffer from tax base erosion and profit shifting disproportionately. Zambia and many African tax administrations report that the abuse of transfer pricing rules – the pricing of goods and services between related parties of a multinational enterprise – represents one of the highest BEPS risks to their tax bases.  

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Achieving inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and the SDGs in the post-COVID-19 world

By Professor Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the context of international development, the year 2015 marked the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the much broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the much more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It signalled an emerging paradigm shift in the international development agenda, a collectively agreed set of universal goals for an inclusive and sustainable global development process.

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COVID-19 has pushed extreme poverty numbers in Africa to over half a billion

By Baldwin Tong, PhD candidate, MODUL University Vienna, Department of Sustainability, Governance, and Methods

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The global economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large setback of the international community’s goal to achieve SDG 1 of “no poverty” by 2030. Extreme poverty around the world is increasing, the first time that has happened this century after decades of global poverty reduction. Over 700 million people worldwide are currently estimated to be living in extreme poverty. Global poverty headline numbers have therefore returned to approximately 2015 levels meaning that the world has lost almost 5 years in its effort to end extreme poverty due in large part to COVID-19. The following analysis is based on data from the World Poverty Clock.

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African narratives vs. African development strategy

Carlos Lopes and Alan Hirsch, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

This blog is part of a thread that aims to challenge existing narratives about Africa and its development.

Africa’s positioning in the global scene is seldom immune to controversy. The numerous debates about Africa’s true size and developmental successes can deflect Africans and potential partners from a coherent continental development strategy.

Despite its landmass of 30 million square kilometres, the commonly used Mercator projection maps Africa’s size to be equal to Greenland’s, which is fourteen times smaller. That such a depiction is popularised even by Google Earth shows the endurance of certain perceptions. Moreover, contemporary afro-pessimism is rooted in history and is not limited to the injustices of modern-day cartography or the erroneous views portrayed in contemporary literature. It is about risk perceptions, levels of conflict, political instability, and the variety of economic experiments. Many continue to identify Africa as uniformly beset by conflict, crisis, bad governance, and a risky place for making investments.

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Strengthening the climate resilience of cities through cross-border co-operation

By Richard Clarke, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

The southern nations of West Africa are beginning to experience the second and shorter of their rainy seasons, whilst those countries further north are seeing the end of theirs. For many the happiness of seeing these rains is mixed with anxieties from memories past and current realities. Exceptionally heavy seasonal rainfall in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2017 saw several major rivers break their banks, causing destruction of houses, bridges, roads and crops, wrecking livelihoods and displacing vast swathes of the population.

In recent weeks, floods have severely hit parts of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, leading to the death of at least 107 people and affecting hundreds of thousands. In Senegal, a state of emergency has been declared following heavy rainfalls and the death of four citizens, while in Chad nearly 200,000 people have been affected. Yet again, the urgent need for immediate action to mitigate and alleviate the effects of climate change has been exposed.

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Wakanda forever?

By Moky Makura, Executive Director of Africa No Filter

This blog is part of a thread that aims to challenge existing narratives about Africa and its development.

In 2018 the fictional country Wakanda from the movie Black Panther was the fourth most mentioned African country on Twitter – after Egypt, South Africa and Kenya. The fact that Africa’s fourth most talked about country doesn’t exist tells us two things: pop culture is a powerful tool for narrative work and we need to do more to make Africa’s 51 remaining real countries more compelling. 

This data point was unearthed during a literature review to understand what insights already exist about narrative on Africa in the media. The review was part of Africa No Filter’s mission to unpack prevailing stories, frames and narratives about and within Africa to understand where we can intervene to shift and support how the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself.

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Repenser le développement en Afrique et pour l’Afrique

Par Firmin Edouard Matoko, Sous-directeur général, Département Afrique, UNESCO

Ce blog fait partie d’une série qui invite acteurs et penseurs à renouveler le discours actuel sur l’Afrique et son développement.

La crise du COVID-19 qui a révélé l’extrême fragilité des économies africaines, est venue nous rappeler les limites du développement en Afrique. De nombreux africains réclament une révision urgente des modèles de développement et prônent pour l’élaboration de nouveaux paradigmes propres à l’Afrique. Ce discours n’est pas nouveau. Samir Amin, qui fut l’un des plus grands économistes africains, révélait déjà les limites des modèles fondés sur des théories importées de l’extérieur. Thandika Kandawire, autre penseur africain de renom et bien d’autres ne disent pas autre chose aujourd’hui. L’Afrique a besoin de repenser son développement et de réinventer son histoire sociale et économique, comme l’affirmait encore récemment le groupe d’intellectuels africains réunis par l’UNESCO pour débattre de la crise du COVID-19 en Afrique : « cette crise est une occasion de repenser les hypothèses actuelles sur les paradigmes de développement adoptés par les États africains. Il s’agit de se concentrer sur les priorités de développement centrées sur l’homme, et d’investir en priorité dans l’éducation, les soins de santé, la protection sociale et la recherche scientifique comme base pour créer une nouvelle Afrique, capable de regarder vers l’intérieur et de trouver des solutions endogènes à ses problèmes, tout en assurant sa place sur la scène internationale ».

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Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco: tax reforms for sustainable health financing

By Céline Colin, Tax Economist, and Bert Brys, Senior Tax Economist, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that weaknesses in one country’s health sector can rapidly become a health challenge for other countries. Additionally, as countries around the world, including Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco, face the current economic and health crisis, the sense of urgency to mobilise domestic resources has increased. The crisis has put spending and tax revenues under severe pressure while at the same time requiring increased funding for the health sector. Moreover, the post-COVID-19 period might lead to particular challenges to financing for other ongoing health threats like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as health budgets might be re-prioritised and budget increases might not be allocated to those three particular diseases.

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Côte d’Ivoire et Maroc : réformer la fiscalité pour assurer un financement durable de la santé

Par Céline Colin, Économiste fiscaliste, et Bert Brys, Économiste fiscaliste senior, Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales, OCDE

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La pandémie de COVID-19 a montré que les faiblesses du système de santé d’un pays peuvent rapidement devenir un enjeu de santé publique pour les autres pays. En outre, dans les pays du monde entier aux prises avec la crise sanitaire et économique actuelle, dont la Côte d’Ivoire et le Maroc, l’urgence de mobiliser des ressources intérieures s’est accrue. La crise a mis sous tension les dépenses publiques et les recettes fiscales au moment même où le secteur de la santé avait besoin de financements additionnels. De surcroît, la période post-COVID-19 pourrait entraîner des difficultés particulières pour le financement de la lutte contre d’autres menaces sanitaires, comme le Sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme, car les priorités au sein des budgets de santé pourraient être revues et les augmentations budgétaires ne pas nécessairement bénéficier à la lutte contre ces trois maladies.

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Scaling-up job opportunities in food systems for youth and women in West Africa

By Koffi Zougbédé, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC)

In 2011, Fatoumata Cissoko, a graduate in accounting and a young woman living in Guinea, launched her dried-fruit processing company with USD 260. Her company produces about 16 tonnes of dried pineapple a year sold in many shops and supermarkets in the capital, Conakry, and other cities around the country. Recently, her company increased its production capacity substantially to improve its competitiveness in regional and international markets. Fatoumata also opened an organic restaurant to complete the production chain and she directly employs 15 women. The story of Fatoumata is one example of the many emerging job opportunities in West Africa’s food systems.

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