Christian Aid and Tax Justice Network Africa have released “Africa Rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation”, a report which explores the link between tax policy and inequality. Focusing on 8 African countries (Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa), the report reveals that despite a robust growth rate and some positive progress in essential services such as health and education in recent years, income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa is set to worsen without a strong set of tax policy reforms at national and global level. To address this issue, the paper makes four recommendations: (i) at a national level, sub-Saharan African Governments should focus on raising tax revenues; (ii) a pan-African coordination of tax policies among sub-Saharan Governments and enhanced regional cooperation and information sharing; (iii) global reforms where the international community tackles financial secrecy and tax havens; and (iv) optimise the opportunity of the new post-2015 framework replacing the MDGs by ensuring that fairer taxation is at the core of the new forthcoming system of targets and indicators.
The 12th Plenary Session of the Leading Group on innovative financing for development took place on January 17th in Abuja under the Nigerian presidency. Among the various issues discussed, the day-long plenary event clarified the categorisation of existing initiatives of innovative financing and discussed the state of the international mobilisation in favour of solidarity taxes. It also started a debate on initiatives of innovative financing for climate change. Finally, it was announced that a workshop of international experts aiming to follow up on the various issues discussed in Abuja is planned for the Spring 2014 in Paris. The agenda, event summary, keynote speeches and related documentation are all available on the Leading Group website.
Experts from the private sector, academia, NGOs, UN agencies and government gathered in November 2013 for a consultation meeting in preparation for the 2014 installment of the Africa Progress Report. A central question underpinned the meeting: what kind of development finance does Africa need to build a sustained and inclusive growth? The consultation panel discussed a variety of topics: transforming agriculture and fisheries; developing infrastructure; mobilising investment; improving taxation; and better use of aid. A summary publication details the framework of the discussion and provides some background papers.
A report published by Eurodad urges for a comprehensive review of the reporting DAC system which allows concessionality to be assessed as ODA. It highlights a growing trend among EU donor states who try to meet their aid commitments while making a profit with high interest loans to developing countries. The paper discusses the main developments in the concessionality debate over the past decade and proposes recommendations on how to optimise the developmental benefits of this reform.
The Global Campaign for Education has used some data from the GSW initiative as a resource for its recent report A Taxing Business: Financing Education For All Through Domestic Resources . It identifies four major steps towards achieving increased domestic resources, primarily through improved taxation and revenue-generation from natural resources, and highlights the vast impact this could make on ensuring quality, public education for all.
The GSW website and database were launched in Brussels at an event held during the European Development Days. On the panel, DFI Director Matthew Martin began by detailing some of the key findings from the 2013 GSW report, as well as showcasing the GSW website and database, and after which he outlined some of the key steps moving forward for the initiative. Natalia Alonso, Head of Oxfam’s EU Advocacy office, briefed the audience on the campaigning work done by Oxfam surrounding government finance, before Patrice Sanon, Founder and Executive Director ODSAD (Burkina Faso) emphasised the importance of the website, and the crucial need to have up to date data to be able to successfully hold Governments to account. The panel discussion was then followed by a lively debate with many in the audience commending the initiative, as well as being eager to discuss its next steps. The full audio of the event is available here, along with additional pictures.
The World Bank’s World Development Report 2014: risk and opportunity – managing risk for development - argues that poor risk management reduces the chances of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and demonstrates that an ability to manage risk can significantly contribute to development by saving lives, averting economic losses, creating opportunities, and helping people build better, more secure futures. The Overseas Development Institute held the UK launch of the report and you can watch the video and download the World Bank’s presentation here.
The OECD has published the 2013 edition of the Central Government Debt Statistical Yearbook. An analytical tool primarily for debt managers, this latest installment provides improved quantitative statistics on African central government debt issuance, as well as bilateral, multilateral and concessional. It is envisaged that future editions will include general government debt. Countries included in this fourth edition are Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.
A joint World Bank-DRI mission visited Yerevan, in Armenia from Oct 29th to November 8th, 2013, to assess debt management activities in the country based on the DeMPA methodology developed by the World Bank. The mission met with staff from various institutions involved in debt management such as the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and presented its preliminary assessment to the authorities. The mission will finalise the report and submit it the Armenian authorities.
DRI coordinated for the World Bank Debt Management Facility (DMF) a regional MTDS training workshop in Dakar, Senegal, facilitated by World Bank and DRI consultants. The 25 participants from 11 Francophone countries and institutions asked to prepare their databases before the event according to specific data requirements. They were then able to finalise their own country databases, ready for the introduction to the toolkit developed to assist governments to develop an MTDS. The training also familiarised them with the analytical tool through a series of exercises enabling them to quantify and measure the performance of alternative debt management strategies under different shock scenarios.
DFI joined a joint World Bank/IMF mission to Praia, Cape Verde. The mission took place at the request of the Ministry of Finance, and focused on providing technical assistance in debt management strategy formulation. The mission shared the Bank-Fund framework for Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) development, and jointly with a government team, applied it to Cape Verde. In the process, the team provided training on basic cost-risk analysis, data preparation, and preparation of a debt management strategy document.