New Internationalist

Taxing African wealth

November 2007

Most Africans are poor. Everyone knows that. But they needn’t be. On current estimates, for every dollar of aid that flows into Africa, five dollars of financial assets flow out into private bank accounts in the rich world – money that’s never taxed. Africa has the fastest growth of millionaires in the world, but the burden of building much-needed infrastructure keeps on getting pushed back to those who can least afford to pay. For African economies – and the many other countries in the Majority World that are straining under the burden of debt – tax revenue means self-reliance, economic freedom, and money to improve education and health. So why are developing countries relying on aid, rather than taxing those who profit most from their countries? Discussing what is emerging as a major social justice issue for this decade, recent Radio New Internationalist guests challenge the accountants and politicians of the world to ‘Go figure!’ They explain how countries’ coffers are being plundered to leave populations in poverty, and in the process prove how vibrant – and important – tax issues can be.

Hear all about it in ‘Taxing Matters’ on Radio New Internationalist’s web page – And while you’re there, hear other progressive thinkers from the Majority World investigate crimes in cyberspace, campaign against stoning and look for solutions to climate change.

This column was published in the November 2007 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 406

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