The 7th African Tax Research Network (ATRN) Annual Congress took place in Accra, Ghana from 5th to 7th September 2022. This year the vibrant discussions were based on the Tax and Revenue Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The congress was organised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
As the 7th ATRN Congress opened with songs and dance, 32 African countries were represented by over 230 participants from Ministries of Finance, Tax Administrations, the African Union Commission, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Members of Parliament, Civil Society, Academia, intergovernmental organisations, development partners and individual tax policy experts. The ATRN presents an opportunity for academics, researchers, tax administrators, students, tax practitioners, consultants and decision-makers on fiscal and tax policy in Africa, to gather and discuss different aspects relating to national, regional and international tax matters.
In his opening remarks, The Commissioner General of Ghana Revenue Authority, Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah encouraged the delegates to actively participate in the debates in order to influence policy and the way we collect our revenue. He welcomed participants to Accra and wished them successful deliberations. The ATAF Executive Secretary, Mr. Logan Wort stated that
“The research papers which will be presented at this ATRN Congress are on the theme related to the AfCFTA and these papers will form the major part of the third edition of the African Multidisciplinary Tax Journal (AMTJ)…and thank all the partners including GIZ for their continuous support on Tax administration and policy in the continent”
The opening Ceremony was also presided over by the Hon Abena Osei-Asare, Deputy Minister of Finance of Ghana, representing the government of Ghana. Also present were representatives from the Ministry of Trade, Dr. Fareed Kwesi Arthur; and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Ms Gyang Demitta Chinwude.
Over the three days, the 7th ATRN congress, which was held in hybrid format (virtual and in-person) included research paper discussions and presentations on various topics related to Tax and Revenue Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in different breakaway sessions. Technical Advisor Dr. Aleksandar Dragojlovic from the Good Financial Governance in Africa Programme chaired a Breakaway Research session at the Congress on AfCFTA interaction with regional economic communities & the potential for rules arbitrage and read the Outcome Statement, highlighting that the purpose of the congress was to deliberate on the tax and revenue implications of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Following the 7th ATRN congress, ATAF in collaboration with United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) hosted a Tax Research Master Class, where Technical Advisor Dr Aleksandar Dragojlovic, presented on the Evaluation of Tax Administration Efficiency. The masterclass is an extension of the Tax Academy’s capacity-building initiatives which aim at equipping tax researchers in Africa with skills to conduct pragmatic and impactful research that will in turn positively impact domestic resource mobilisation in Africa. The outcome statement of the 7th ATRN congress stressed that continental:
“Cooperation and integration are the real desire, it is time to discuss a shared approach on the use of tax incentives, at the very least to protect or support the lesser developed nations in the community”.
The 7th ATRN congress has provided a way forward for tax revenue organisations to consider and implement policies for better cooperation and integration in Africa.