On 12 July 2019, the African Tax Institute (ATI) launched Modernizing VATs in Africa. This book was written by Sijbren Cnossen, Professor Extraodinarius at the University of Pretoria, Academic Partner of CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, and Professor Emeritus of Erasmus and Maastricht Universities in the Netherlands.
The book serves as an indispensable guide to understanding how value-added tax (VAT) works and may be improved in an African context. The launch of the book is timely; to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African countries require additional tax revenues. The book shows how African countries can raise the revenues from their VAT systems while ameliorating the economic consequences.
Sijbren Cnossen, who has been an integral part of the ATI since its inception in 2007 and an extraordinary professor since 2009, introduced the book. This was followed by a brief panel discussion chaired by the ATI’s Prof Annet Oguttu. The panel discussants were Prof Eric Zolt from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), a co-founder of the ATI’s predecessor—the Southern African Tax Institute—back in 2002, Dr Marius van Oordt (ATI), and Mr Cecil Morden (ATI extraordinary lecturer ATI and formerly a Chief Director at National Treasury). The ATI’s Class of 2019 master’s students, faculty members from the EMS faculty, scholars from other universities, as well as members of the public were in attendance. A lively debate followed the panel discussion, reemphasising the importance of this book.
Professor Cnossen dedicated the book to “the students in the Master’s Programme in Taxation of the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria”.