Africa’s crackdown on tax avoidance nets £204m to boost development

A team of tax experts from Kenya will be deployed to Botswana early next year in the latest round of an initiative that seeks to boost domestic revenue collection to fund national development plans.

The move was announced last week at the second global partnership for effective development cooperation meeting in Nairobi, which brought together representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector and UN officials.

The Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) project focuses on tackling tax avoidance by improving local audit capacities, with a particular emphasis on ensuring multinationals conform with local tax laws. James Karanja, head of the TIWB secretariat, said that since the launch of the project in June last year, eight pilot projects in African, Asian and Latin American countries had netted more than $260m (£204m) in additional tax revenue. More than $100m of that was generated through tax audits in Zimbabwe.

The programme, which is supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN development programme (UNDP), helps countries to recover revenue from multinationals that had been paying less than their fair share. It also seeks to build local audit capacity and is seen as key to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals. The African programme is being carried out in partnership with the African Tax Administration Forum.

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