I am happy to report that ATAF has made tremendous strides in 2016 and has further consolidated its ability to offer concrete and tangible benefits to member administrations. The solid groundwork laid down in past years has begun to bear fruit. We have made significant progress particularly in improving our capacity to provide technical assistance to members on a range of issues of critical importance that impact on revenue collection, the core mandate of our members.
Allow me to praise the efforts and achievements of the teams working in the Secretariat who have conducted over 20 technical assistance missions to member administrations in the past year. They have also developed a number of products aimed at empowering officials in tackling the complex challenges posed by practices that erode the revenue bases of member countries. Products such as the Risk Assessment Tool for Transfer Pricing, the model Double Taxation Agreement and the Suggested Approach to Drafting Transfer Pricing Legislation will make it easier and more efficient to counter these threats to Africa’s economic sovereignty. The various interventions have already accounted for increased revenues in member countries of more than USD 100 million.
ATAF’s research directorate has also had a fruitful year and has worked on ensuring that African countries benefit from policy discussions that take place at various international fora by publishing working papers on illicit financial flows, allocation of taxing rights and tax compliance studies. The work it has conducted on tax compliance in Rwanda has helped that member country bring in additional revenue of over USD 9 million, a notable achievement. Other successes include the hosting of the second congress of the African Tax Research Network and election of its first advisory board and the expansion of member participation in both the African Tax Outlook and Revenue Statistics in Africa publications.
ATAF’s capacity building initiatives have continued apace with the roll out online training courses, workshops and seminars attended by hundreds of tax officials from across the continent. A key milestone in the year was the hosting of the 4th ATAF General Assembly and the election of the new ATAF Council. As a result of discussions emanating from the general assembly, ATAF has identified important areas of work to be adopted in 2017. This focuses on the challenges tax administrations face on the domestic front with regard to the informal sector and cash economy. We have also taken the time to consult our membership on the areas of international tax work in the post-BEPS environment. ATAF is committed to articulating and championing African priorities on the world stage and working with other stakeholder to ensure that our interests are not overlooked.
I am grateful to the ATAF Council in affirming their confidence in me by giving me the privilege of leading the organisation’s Secretariat for a further four years. My thanks too to the staff of the Secretariat for responding so positively to the call by members to work directly with them. We are acutely aware that ATAF’s raison d’être is to optimise the value of services and assistances it offers its members and to lead the way in ensuring Africa’s voice on tax matters is taken seriously on the global stage. We remain motivated by our core objectives of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of African revenue administrations and thereby enabling member states to improve the living standards of the people of Africa.