Please note that the third cohorte of the Anglophone EMT programme offered by ATAF and GIZ has been put on hold until further notice. After two very successful intakes time is needed to evaluate and strengthen the programme offer and its quality in order to meet the real needs of African Revenue authorities.  Moreover a need for a harmonised concept to better align the EMT Anglophone and the EMT Francophone, which is going into the second round this year, has become evident.  
The current EMT programme cooperation with BSEL and Witwatersrand University terminates at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year. 
We will inform you on any developments and the new starting date of the programme in due time.  


Former EMT Student wins Best Paper Award at the 2nd KRA Annual Tax Summit

ATAF and GIZ are very proud of Anne Wanyangathi Maina, graduate of the 2014-2015 Executive Master’s in Taxation Programme, for winning a Best Paper Award with her paper "Are presumptive taxes the answer to informal sector taxation in Kenya?" in the category "Tax Base Enhancement” at the 2nd Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Annual Tax Summit. Congratulations Anne Wanyangathi Maina!

Photo Credit: ATAF

Welcome to Brussels, the mecca of decision-making  
March 2016, Brussels

The café on Place Luxembourg is filled with men and women in business outfits having lively discussions at tables filled with piles of documents. You hear English, French, Spanish and German, lobbyists leave and enter the café in a continuous flow. Welcome to Brussels, the mecca of decision-making. 

Can you become a change agent without understanding decision-making? Can you drive reforms without understanding your environment, and those who are shaping it? Certainly not, is our answer, and this is why GIZ took the students of the Executive Master’s in Taxation (EMT) to Brussels in March 2016 to visit and understand the role the European Union (EU) institutions play in shaping the international tax agenda. How are decisions taken, influenced, implemented?  

Decisions taken in the Belgium Capital which hosts institutions like the European Parliament impact on EU citizens and other states. This holds particularly true for many African countries that have engaged in close cooperation on trade and development with the EU and derive an important share of their revenues from the taxes paid by multinational corporations listed on European markets. Applying transparency requirements to these corporations in Europe can therefore facilitate the work of revenue authorities in Africa. There is indeed strong awareness at the level of the European Commission that strengthening the capacity of developing countries to mobilise taxes and other domestic revenues is the most sustainable way to fund development. This led the EU to co-fund the GFG in Africa programme implemented by GIZ on behalf of the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

During their visit to Brussels the EMT students discovered the different perspectives on tax matters presented to them by representatives from the NGO EURODAD, the European Parliament and the European Commission. And as you do it in Brussels, the students collected an abundance of presentations and info-material, received business cards from lobbyists, and engaged in discussions in the cafés and bars around Place Luxembourg.


27 newly certified African change agents in the field of tax policy and tax administration
March 2016, Pretoria

All 27 students from the first intake of the Executive Master’s in Taxation (EMT) programme travelled to Pretoria to present and discuss their transfer projects and attend the official graduation ceremony on 16-17 March 2016. 

An integral part of this higher education programme is the transfer project, which is developed during the study phase and addresses a practical problem from the students’ respective tax administrations. The successful implementation of the project within their administrations enhances the long term impact of the EMT programme.

Whilst in Pretoria the 27 students were given the opportunity to present and discuss the implementation of their transfer projects within their tax administrations. This was done in the presence of EMT stakeholders ATAF, GIZ, BSEL and Wits University. Another goal of the workshop was ensuring that the concept and objective of the projects is clear to the Heads of Human Resources (HR) from the various tax administrations and securing their buy-in and ownership in terms of usability and integration of the transfer projects. 

Project topics range from “E-commerce Taxation in Nigeria”, “Automatic Tax Information Exchange Framework at Uganda Revenue Authority” and “Increasing Compliance in the Zimbabwe Small to Medium Enterprises through Formal Registration & Regulation of Tax Advisors” to name a few.

After the workshop, the 27 former students were celebrated during an official graduation ceremony that took place at the Protea Fire and Ice Hotel in Pretoria. The event was attended by graduates’ families and friends, as well as ATAF council members, tax administration HR representatives and counterparts from Wits University, BSEL along with diplomatic officials. The ceremony began with opening speeches by all stakeholders. The students’ group speaker gave an emotional address thanking all stakeholders for their support. The graduates then received their long awaited Master’s certificates amidst enthusiastic applause acknowledging this remarkable achievement and milestone.

Two further certificates of excellence were awarded to the best overall student (Ms Fadzai Mukorah) and the best Master’s thesis (Ms Londiwe Khoza).


The graduates in their graduation attire along with representatives from ATAF, BSEL, Wits University and GIZ (Photo: GIZ)                  

African-European Master’s programme visits Bavaria
February 2016, Bavaria

The 24 participants of the second cohort travelled to Bavaria, Germany from 1 January to 5 February 2016.

Gender-based discrimination at the workplace and division of roles within the work and private life are topics that the 12 female participants are mostly confronted with in their daily lives. Therefore, the GIZ International Training Centre (IBB) in Feldafing was the first stop and host of a two day gender workshop. The group was sensitised to gender-specific issues and questions of diversity. They developed case studies based on examples from their workplace and the everyday environment, like the promotion of equal opportunities for both women and men. In addition, the group discussed the concepts gender mainstreaming, leadership and gender specific challenges. Joint bowling sessions and piano recitals rounded off the evenings.

A highlight of the study tour came in the form of a two day expert workshop held at the Bavarian tax administration in Munich. Peer learning was at the forefront: common challenges between the revenue administrations in Africa and in Germany were quickly identified. The continuous digitalisation of economic activities through online trading requires the development of new strategies for tax enforcement. The participants were impressed by the experience of cross-border audits between Bavaria and countries of the European Union. Similar possibilities for cross-border collaboration within African countries but also between Africa and Europe are important for the fight against international tax fraud.

In addressing internal challenges in revenue management, similarities became clear: while the changing demographics force German public administrations to become more efficient through the implementation of tax control methods, the sparingly equipped African tax administrations are dependent on these methods to manage the ever growing number of taxpayers. In the end all parties were in agreement that the training of competent staff, paired with the right incentive structure within public administration that promotes integrity and prevents from brain drain, is key to a well-functioning revenue administration.


Peer learning took place at the Bavarian Tax Authority in Munich. (Photo: Bavarian Tax Authority)

The Master´s Programme “Executive Master’s in Taxation“ enters the second round

Berlin, October 02, 2015. 25 students from 15 African countries who form part of the second cohort of the Master´s programme „Executive Master’s in Taxation“ (EMT) were welcomed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) together with representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the Berlin School of Economics and Law (BSEL)during the official opening in Berlin.

The programme is implemented on behalf of the BMZ and the European Union by the GIZ programme Good Financial Governance in Africa in collaboration withthe African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the Berlin School of Economics and Law (BSEL) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Governance in South Africa. The programme aims at enabling African tax professionals to establish and develop important reforms in their respective tax administrations and ministries of finance. The students achieve competencies in the areas of public finance, tax legislation and tax administration. Furthermore, the students will be prepared for their role as change agents via leadership- and change management courses as well as an intensive network among themselves and with international experts.

Mr Christian Schilling, representative of the BMZ, emphasized the high political importance of the EMT programme, since transparent and responsible public finance systems are „the backbone for a well-functioning government“. This is particularly relevant in times where international economic activities and cross-border financial flows became more and more important. Therefore, he sees the students as being able to contribute to solutions of global challenges such as illicit financial flows.

Prof Dr Andreas Zaby, Vice President of BSEL, said that the transfer of knowledge of academic excellence given by the EMT can already build upon the diverse practical experiences of the tax officials. Dr Nara Monkam, Director of Research at ATAF, pointed out that the EMT was specifically designed to address the needs of African tax practitioners. Dr Matthias Witt, Head of the Good Financial Governance in Africa programme, emphasized the importance of the interdisciplinary approach of the university course and indicated that the combination of theoretical and practical education was „a very good balance of academic excellence and practical experience“.

 On behalf of the students Mr Munatswi Nengeze from Zimbabwe and Ms Lineo Machobane from Lesotho expressed their gratitude on being part of the EMT programme. They were enthusiastic about the opportunities this programme is offering: diverse technical content and exchange among themselves as well as with academics and practitioners from Europe and Africa. They are committed in acquiring skills and capabilities “to achieve a change in the African taxation system”. 


German-African postgraduate tax policy and admin degree

29 June 2015: Tax collection is a core function for every well-functioning state. Leadership in Tax Administration must be well-trained and equipped to handle today’s challenges, including tax evasion strategies. The German-African master’s degree course “Tax Policy and Tax Administration“ fills this need.

On June 15, 2015 participants of the German-African Master’s degree course ''Tax Policy and Tax Administration'' arrived in South Africa after a nine month study visit in Berlin.

To address the issue of leadership in the area of tax, this postgraduate degree was developed jointly by GIZ’s Good Financial Governance in Africa programme, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the Berlin School of Economics and Law. The Executive Master's in Taxation combines relevant knowledge on the topics of international tax policy and tax administration from the different fields of economics, law, and administrative sciences, and is expected to greatly boost capacity in tax administrations in Africa.

During their three week stay in South Africa the students are completing two modules from the study programme on the themes of “Tax and Governance” and “African Tax Matters” at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Further activities include a study tour to the South African Revenue Authority (SARS), an exchange of experiences with representatives from the South African National Treasury and an invitation from the German Embassy to an evening reception.

The residential phase of the programme ends July 3 and students will complete the last stage in their various African home countries. This entails the finalization of their Master's thesis as well as the transfer project by the end of the year.




German - African Exchange of experiences at the Tax Office, Munich

16, 17 February 2015: The participants of the EMT Programme attended an expert meeting at the Tax Office in Munich.

Dr. Christoph Habammer, Vice President of the Bavarian Tax Administration, emphasized the event as for both sides successful and informative: „The intensive discussions with the 27 African colleagues from 13 countries have shown that we are facing the same difficulties, whether it be with the efforts regarding BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) or within the field of RMS (Regulatory Management Systems), and that an exchange of experiences and information is becoming more and more important.“

On the first day, specialized lectures as well as presentations of high-ranking tax experts of Bavaria were conducted. In particular, they gave a detailed insight into the methods and processes of the German Tax Administration and their experiences with the implementation of international processes on a national level: for instance in the field of International Joint Audits, the tasks of the Bavarian Tax Authority regarding International Audit and the difficulties dealing with „Base Erosion and Profit Shifting“ (BEPS). After lunch, the group was given a tour through the service centre, followed by further presentations about „Regulatory Management Systems“ (RMS) regarding assessment as well as auditing.

The second day started with an introduction of auditing in Bavaria and Value Added Tax (VAT). Besides, current topics as the taxation on e-commerce and the standards of „Automatic Exchange of Information“ (AEOI) were intensively discussed with the group.

Many of those topics are part of the curriculum and of the participants Master Thesis and Transfer Projects. The discussions with the practitioners of the German Tax Administration offered them on the one hand a practical exchange of experiences and gave them on the other hand the opportunity to collect information for their academic work.

17 October 2014: Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launches the Executive Master’s in Taxation at the Welcome Ceremony in Berlin. He welcomes the participants of the programme and emphazises:

“A transparent, fair and efficient public financial management system is an important pre-condition for sustainable development and poverty reduction. It provides governments with more stable funding so that they can perform their fundamental tasks. It forms the backbone of any functioning state…

…Both tax policies and tax administrative systems are called upon to play a significant role in balancing the budget accounts of most countries. Therefore, administrative capacity must be improved, the tax base must be broadened and tax revenue must be increased as a proportion of GDP. Sharing experience is thus of critical importance; and both South-South and North-South exchanges of solutions are an important dynamic for change, enabling developing countries in particular to strike the right balance between implementing an attractive tax regime for investment and growth, and securing the necessary revenues for public spending.”