1 Introduction

Information regarding tax revenues in African countries remains a complex subject, characterized by limited data availability and substantial publication delays. The OECD report of 2023 encompasses only 33 countries, with data extending up to the year 2021 (OECD 2023).1 Some countries have data dating back to the 1990s, and the report provides internationally comparable figures for various taxes, particularly focusing on revenues relative to GDP.

Alternatively, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) offers a databank containing tax data and certain macroeconomic variables (https://www.ataftax.org/), covering the years 2010 through 2022. Tax revenues and GDP are reported in PPP-adjusted US Dollars. In this data story, tax revenues are presented relative to GDP to facilitate comparability with OECD figures.

Given the comprehensive overview provided by the OECD (2023) for countries reporting to the organization, this data narrative emphasizes the comparison of the two distinct data sources and seeks to establish connections between the tax data and information from the Africa Monitor.

Data about tax revenues in African countries is still a challenging topic. Data availability is limited, and publication delays are relatively large. The OECD report from the year 2023 only covers 33 countries with data reaching to the year 2021 (OECD 2023). For some countries data reaches back in the 1990s. Revenues for many different taxes are reported in an internationally comparable manner. In the following, revenues relative to GDP are described.

Table 1: List of countries covered in different data banks


Africa Monitor

OECD (Taxes)

ATAF (Taxes)

Algeria

DZA

Angola

AGO

AGO

Benin

BEN

BEN

Botswana

BWA

BWA

BWA

Burkina Faso

BFA

BFA

BFA

Burundi

BDI

BDI

Cameroon

CMR

CMR

CMR

Cape Verde

CPV

CPV

CPV

Central African Republic

CAF

Chad

TCD

TCD

TCD

Comoros

COM

Congo - Brazzaville

COG

COG

COG

Congo - Kinshasa

COD

COD

COD

Côte d’Ivoire

CIV

CIV

CIV

Djibouti

DJI

Egypt

EGY

EGY

Equatorial Guinea

GNQ

GNQ

Eritrea

ERI

Eswatini

SWZ

SWZ

SWZ

Ethiopia

ETH

Gabon

GAB

GAB

GAB

Gambia

GMB

GMB

Ghana

GHA

GHA

GHA

Guinea

GIN

GIN

GIN

Guinea-Bissau

GNB

GNB

Kenya

KEN

KEN

KEN

Lesotho

LSO

LSO

LSO

Liberia

LBR

LBR

Libya

LBY

Madagascar

MDG

MDG

MDG

Malawi

MWI

MWI

MWI

Mali

MLI

MLI

MLI

Mauritania

MRT

MRT

MRT

Mauritius

MUS

MUS

MUS

Morocco

MAR

MAR

MAR

Mozambique

MOZ

MOZ

Namibia

NAM

NAM

NAM

Niger

NER

NER

NER

Nigeria

NGA

NGA

NGA

Rwanda

RWA

RWA

RWA

Senegal

SEN

SEN

SEN

Seychelles

SYC

SYC

SYC

Sierra Leone

SLE

SLE

SLE

Somalia

SOM

South Africa

ZAF

ZAF

ZAF

South Sudan

SSD

SSD

Sudan

SDN

SDN

São Tomé & Príncipe

STP

Tanzania

TZA

TZA

Togo

TGO

TGO

TGO

Tunisia

TUN

TUN

Uganda

UGA

UGA

UGA

Western Sahara

ESH

Zambia

ZMB

ZMB

Zimbabwe

ZWE

ZWE

Number

55

33

42

1.1 Similarities and differences between OECD and ATAF data bank

The ATAF data bank, while offering a broader coverage of countries, is characterized by less detailed information, and tax revenues follow different definitions. Table 2 presents an average and a comparison of tax revenues relative to GDP for the years and countries covered by both data banks. Notably, the ATAF data bank provides two distinct items for VAT (domestic and imported), which are aggregated for direct comparison with figures from the OECD data bank.

Table 2: Comparison between data banks

Total Tax PIT CIT VAT
OECD 15.3 2.8 2.7 4.5
ATAF 14.9 3.0 2.6 5.7
Relative to GDP in %.

Source: ATAF, OECD, own calculation.


Results for total tax revenues, personal income tax (PIT) and corporate income tax (CIT) are quite similar. The discrepancy for value added tax (VAT) is already sizeable. Furthermore, differences in the magnitude and the dynamics in tax revenues can be quite sizeable for single countries, see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Total tax revenues according to both data banks in selected African countries