Tax base protection workshop ends with call for more support to strengthen Africa’s capacity

A four-day workshop on protecting the tax base of developing countries ended in Addis Ababa on Friday with participants being urged to use the new skills and knowledge they gained through the Italian government-sponsored program in implementing more effective and efficient tax systems that will ensure more resources are harvested for Africa’s development.

Speaking at the end of the technical workshop attended by revenue and tax experts from 23 African countries, Aida Opoku-Mensah, ECA’s Special Adviser on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, thanked Italy saying it was one of the very few developmental partners willing to support programmes that can give capacity to African governments to broaden and protect their tax bases.

She said it was crucial for Africa to have the necessary support so countries can continue to strengthen their potential and by extension improve their domestic resource mobilization which in turn aids the continent to fund their development, in particular the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“SDGs and taxation, when you look at them you think they are poles apart but if we can support African countries to better manage their tax administration and to be able to increase their domestic resource mobilization, with the right governance strategy, it can lead to the implementation of the SDGs and lead to the reduction of dependency on aid and also put African countries in the driving seat in terms of their development priorities,” said Ms. Opoku-Mensah.

She told participants, who received certificates at the end of the workshop, of a Memorandum of Understanding that will be signed by the UN Secretary General and the African Union Chairperson in January next year on the implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

“It is an important step because we are going to embed into this framework the work that has already started with you in these workshops to protect the continent’s tax base, going forward,” said Ms. Opoku-Mensah.

Participants also discussed illicit financial flows (IFFs) through which Africa is losing an estimated $50 annually.

Curbing illicit financial flows, they agreed, would strongly bolster the continent’s efforts to fund her own development.

Support

Giuseppe Sean Coppola, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy in Ethiopia, said his government will continue to support efforts to strengthen capacity in Africa for governments to broaden and protect their tax bases.

He said the availability of more resources to African governments can also improve their quest for regional integration, adding he hoped the training had been useful for participants so they can help protect their respective countries tax bases.

“Italy looks forward to continuing to engage with countries in the region and providing support to further strengthen their potential for domestic resource mobilization,” said Mr. Coppola.

“This is one step towards achieving Agenda 2030 and it’s also instrumental to achieving the AU’s Agenda 2063 and we are very pleased to be contributing to that.”

Elene Belleti of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which ran the workshop, said the training was part of efforts to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).

“We need to tackle illicit financial flows because we cannot allow the leaking of resources from these countries to continue,” said Ms. Belleti.

“We want to tackle tax evasion but on the other hand we cannot only focus on the illicit component. We also have to focus on how to tackle tax avoidance and how to create more transparent tax systems; how to protect the tax base from erosion; how to prevent profit shifting and this I hope is part of the knowledge you gained during the past few days.”

Participants during the four days discussed cross-cutting subjects looking at specific issues related to tax base erosion, how to draft legislation to prevent that, international practices, environmental and extraction industry taxation.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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President Zuma to Launch the Kwazulu-Natal InvestSA One Stop Shop in Durban

The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma will officially launch the InvestSA One Stop Shop – KwaZulu-Natal (Invest SA OSS) on 18 November 2017 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. The aim of the provincial Invest SA OSS is to provide strategic guidance, reduce regulatory inefficiencies, and reduce red tape for all investors looking to invest in KwaZulu-Natal.

The process leading to the launch has been an excellent example of collaboration between different levels of government, with the centre to be jointly operated by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) with the Provincial government and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

Minister of Trade and industry, Dr. Rob Davies says that the value-proposition for the Provincial One Stop Shops is the co-ordination and incorporation of the special economic zones, provincial investment agencies, local authorities and the relevant government departments involved in regulatory, registration, permits and licensing matters.

“South Africa has excellent investment opportunities in all sectors of the economy and a host of investment incentives and industrial financing interventions that are aimed at encouraging commercial activity and, trade rules that favour a further expansion in South Africa’s burgeoning levels of international trade,” says Davies.

The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr. Willies Mchunu says this facility will assist in facilitating foreign direct investment. “Our long term vision is to become a prosperous province with a healthy, secure and skilled population and acting as a gateway to Africa and the World. As guided by the Provincial Growth and Development Plan, we are focusing on different sectors of the economy such as ICT, maritime, drilling of oil and gas and chemical manufacturing. We continue to invite potential investors representing these sectors, from other parts of the globe, and directing them to all corners of the province including the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and the Dube Trade Port,” Mchunu points out.

President Jacob Zuma formally announced the establishment of InvestSA in the State of the Nation Address and also informed business leaders of the initiative in February 2016. Business people had informed government on many occasions of the difficulties and delays they incur when having to move from one department or institution to another to obtain licences and other services and government has responded through this initiative.

The InvestSA OSS is a government programme to prioritise and promote investment in South Africa. The National InvestSA One Stop Shop is housed at the the dti Campus in Pretoria.

Jointly issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development and Tourism.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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U.S. Embassy Helps Egyptians Hone Skills During Global Entrepreneurship Week

One week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity as they connect with potential collaborators, mentors, and investors during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organizations, including the U.S. government, support this initiative by hosting events and activities that help innovative minds unlock their full potential.

This year, between November 13-19, U.S. Embassy Cairo and U.S. Consulate General Alexandria will host an array of activities aimed at engaging young Egyptians and energizing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt. During GEW, and throughout the month of November, the American Center Cairo (ACC) will present talks, workshops, and lectures at the main Embassy premises, as well as at the American Corner in Maadi (ACM) and in three cities in Upper Egypt including Qena, Luxor, and Aswan. Prominent business figures, entrepreneurs, trainers, and Embassy exchange program alumni are set to lead the sessions. Topics to be covered include: lean entrepreneurship, skills for career success, marketing for entrepreneurs, Maker technologies, and entrepreneurship simulation. Entrepreneurship is regularly featured in the ACC’s monthly programming which culminates in each year’s GEW celebrations.

According to Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger: “In the past five years, hundreds of startups and youth initiatives have been launched all over Egypt—some receiving worldwide recognition. The U.S. government is committed to supporting this spirit of innovation by helping entrepreneurs hone the skills they need to be successful.” In addition, the Embassy fosters entrepreneurship through Egyptian and U.S. based exchange programs and works closely with partners – both in Egypt and in the U.S. – to advance organizations and initiatives that encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and small-business development to strengthen the Egyptian economy. The Embassy also sponsors numerous job fairs throughout the country, the RiseUp and Techne summits, and mentorship programs.

Now in its tenth year, Global Entrepreneurship Week represents the U.S. government’s dedication to promoting entrepreneurship internationally as a means to stimulate opportunities for growth and development and increase global prosperity.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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President Zuma Convenes the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission (PICC)

President Jacob Zuma will today, 14 November 2017, convene a meeting of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

The PICC comprises Ministers, Premiers and Executive Mayors of metropolitan councils. They come together quarterly to assess progress with regards to the implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan and reflect on ways of removing bottlenecks where these exists in order to fast-track the delivery of infrastructure for social and economic development.

Media are invited for a photo opportunity at the beginning of the meeting and a media opportunity after the meeting.

The details are as follows:
Date: 14 November 2017
Time: 16h00 (Media photographers to arrive at 15h30 for the photo opportunity)
Venue: Tuynhuys, Cape Town

Media covering the meeting should please send their details to Vukile Mathabela on 071 480 5205 or Vukile@presidency.gov.za.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Presidency.

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