Despite efforts to bring the tax justice agenda to the centre of the public agenda, there is still a huge knowledge gap particularly in Africa and other parts of the developing world. However there’s a growing interest in the field hence the need to bridge the knowledge gap in several areas of tax justice in Africa. It is with this in mind that the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) developed the International Tax Justice Academy (ITJA), an annual week-long workshop which draws participation from all walks of life to discuss key areas of tax justice such as inequality, investments, illicit financial flows and financial architecture. The training programme was developed as a Pan-African initiative to bridge an existing knowledge gap on tax justice in Africa and empower partners across the five regional blocs in Africa as well as Europe and Latin America.
The first of these was held in 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya under the auspices of Financing Development in
Africa. This was on the backdrop of a new impetus on the debate about domestic resource mobilization in Africa, especially on taxation, to fund the structural transformation of the African economy following the 2008 financial meltdown.
Globally, the international tax justice campaign has been gaining momentum thanks to continuous advocacy and a growing interest by the media, policy-makers and the general public in matters concerning tax. In the recent past, several schemes to defraud states of billions of dollars have been uncovered with the most recent being the Panama Papers.
The inaugural session was attended by over 97 participants from 27 countries from Africa, Latin America and Europe.
The 2015 academy sought to build on the solid foundation laid in the previous year towards building a knowledge-driven pool of Africa tax justice activists – from Civil Society Organizations to academia – to promote domestic resource mobilization in Africa to underpin the continent’s structural transformation. This was on the back of the launch of the Africa Union/ United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Africa by the Thabo Mbeki-led High Level Panel on IFFs. The theme of the training was Financing Africa’s Economic development: Where is the Money?
ITJA aims to foster and build greater capacity for participants to engage with various tax experts to discuss the discourse, towards building a knowledge-driven pool of African tax justice activists and to promote domestic resource mobilisation in Africa to underpin the continent’s structural transformation.
The theme for the 2016 session is Stop the Bleeding: Closing tax loopholes to finance Africa’s structural transformation. Participants to be drawn from across Africa will include activists, academics, trade unions, media, and student groups amongst others.