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Taxation, aid and democracy: an agenda for research in African countries
Fjeldstad, Odd-Helge|Therkildesen, Ole|Rakner, Lise|Semboja, Joseph / 2000


This research programme analyses the evolution of tax systems in Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda in order to seek a deeper understanding of the present tax system, how it came to be, and what historical, political, economic, and institutional forces have shaped it. The colonial past and the influence of the international donor community add new dimensions to the developments in African countries compared to those of Western countries. Thus, the evolution of tax systems in Africa has most likely followed different paths compared to the experience of Western countries. The programme will seek to identify key features explaining commonalties and differences in the tax systems of the selected countries. The research is therefore longitudinal and comparative and it includes the political, institutional and public finance dimensions of taxation. The main proposition is that the way the new and evolving democracies in Africa tackle the issue of domestic revenue generation significantly influences their potential for economic growth and democratic consolidation. The findings of this project are therefore relevant for present and future tax reforms in the three countries. Such knowledge is also relevant to aid policy, especially in the areas of institutional support for strengthening public administration, including tax administration, and service delivery.

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