An Institutional Reform Review of the African Tax Administrative Forum
The work on the African Tax Administrative Forum (ATAF) Institutional Reform Review concluded in, among others, a number of recommendations to streamline the organisational structure, a revised capacity plan to support the delivery of the new strategic plan, and a new remunerational framework. These recommendations aim to create a sustainable organisation that supports the work that ATAF does to strengthen tax administration and domestic resource mobilisation in Africa.
The African Tax Administrative Forum is a regional tax forum launched in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. ATAF provides technical assistance and training on tax reform and has had notable success in its first decade, working to strengthen tax administration and domestic resource mobilisation in Africa. It has built a track record of working with partners to deliver technical assistance/training to members, encouraging tax reform, as well as synchronising the African voice in global tax dialogue on Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) and digitisation in tax policy and administration.
Currently, the Forum is moving towards strengthening its base, as such the New Decade Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2025 proposes an ambitious step up into 7 capability areas – tax policy, customs and trade, regionalisation, tax administration, standard-setting, data and analytics, and building financial sustainability. This shift aims to create a strategic positioning and branding that allows for a sustainable and robust organizational approach.
Through FCDO support ATAF initiated 3 inter-related projects:
- New Decade strategic positioning project
- Organisational (Institutional) review project
- Governing instruments review project
Our work focused on the ATAF Organisational Institutional Review project, where we recommended a streamlined organisational structure that supports ATAF’s strategic vision, and proposed a move from activity to results-based monitoring and evaluation. Our team also made recommendations for human capital sustainability including the lengthening of contracts, secondments (particularly in the move to regionalisation) and strengthening organisational culture.
Regarding the financial sustainability we noted that while country membership contributions and cost recovery would be important, it is likely that in a post-pandemic reality that ATAF’s financial sustainability will depend on new and existing donors, as well as its host country (South Africa).