Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa

In this paper, the tax reforms discussed are a response to fiscal needs, but not generally to fiscal crises. In Section 2, the author explains the situation in which these reforms were introduced. It is explored in more detail in Section 3 (VAT), Section 4 (advanced tax administration reforms) and Section 5 (semi-autonomous revenue authorities). In Section 6, it is argued that these reforms have contributed significantly to a set of changes in the professional environment and the opportunities facing the senior staff of (Anglophone) African revenue authorities. In brief, senior tax professionals are: (a) increasingly well connected trans nationally, through personal and organizational linkages; and (b) increasingly able to migrate between domestic public sector posts (with tax agencies), international public sector roles (with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or aid agencies, as employees or consultants), and private sector posts, including jobs with the fast-expanding ‘Big Four’ international accounting firms and international banks. In Sections 7 to 11, the author examines the combined impact on state capacity of the revenue reforms and the associated changes in the senior African revenue profession. While the reformed revenue agencies are themselves quite impressive and influential organizations (Section 7).