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Tunis, August 28, 2008 - African Development Bank Group (AfDB)’ President, Donald Kaberuka, emphasized the importance of domestic revenues for Africa’s development during a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the international conference on "Taxation, State Building and Capacity Development in Africa" in Pretoria, South Africa.
The two-day conference is organized by the Tax-Commissioners of Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda and supported by AfDB, OECD, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and bilateral partners. It is hosted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
The conference has brought together heads of African tax administrations, development partners and key international experts. It is focusing on the importance of taxation for financing development, building state capacities, and improving governance. Participants are expected to discuss an initiative to establish an African Tax Centre.
Addressing participants, the AfDB President underlined the importance of taxes and domestic revenues as foundations for capable states. He added that "…improving taxation and domestic revenues are means to build a path towards fiscal independence on the African continent. Self reliance and fiscal independence is only achieved through proper, sustainable and fair domestic revenues."
In this regard, Mr. Kaberuka pointed out that Africa needed an agenda for financial governance, to better shape its own fiscal policy. Good financial governance is at the center of the Bank’s new governance strategy, which focuses on helping member countries strengthen transparency and accountability in the management of public resources, he said. The Bank is progressively scaling up its support to member states seeking to strengthen domestic revenues and resources.
The AfDB is a key partner in the organization of the conference. Its governance department, represented at the event, has been playing an active role in the foregoing debates and its preparation. The Bank has also supported the participation of African Tax Commissioners.
The conference presents an important platform for all stakeholders to engage in dialogue on the issue of taxation and domestic revenue mobilization in Africa. It is expected to convey an appropriate message regarding the significance of capacity development for tax policy and administration to the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana (September 2-4, 2008).