Press release

27 Aug 2020 Johannesburg, ZA

Virtual Tax Summit | Reshaping the Africa Tax Agenda on 27 & 28 August 2020

Africa Tax Summit – Reshaping the Africa Tax Agenda

Johannesburg, 21 August 2020: Before COVID-19, African governments were focused on changing the tax narrative in reaction to dwindling tax receipts and preparation for the emerging changes to existing international tax order.  In addition, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was to commence on 1 July 2020, ushering in a new age of economic cooperation through a common market of more than 1.2 billion consumers.  AfCFTA implementation is now suspended until 2021.​ 

​ As African governments continue to grapple with the health and negative economic impacts of COVID-19, and businesses try to contain, manage, and rebuild their finances, operations, and supply chains, there lies opportunities for tax administrations and the tax profession to collaborate and address needed reforms to tax policies, the role of digitization and technology in enhancing the interaction between tax administrators and taxpayers, and prepare Africa to take advantage of the inevitable shift in trade routes. ​

EY Africa is hosting a virtual Tax Summit on 27-28 August 2020 will focus on the intersections of tax, trade and COVID-19 in Africa and how tax policy can adapt through and beyond the health pandemic.​ Our summit theme this year ‘Reshaping the Africa Tax Agenda," and is a conversation on the questions that tax functions should be asking about economic and trade outlook on the continent. We hope that our 2020 summit will inspire those in charge of African tax functions to use the tax revenue and policy considerations emerging from COVID-19 and AfCFTA to position them better to support their organisation’s trade within and beyond the continent.  

The two-day interactive event will feature speakers from business, government, multilateral organisations and EY subject-matter professionals from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, United States, Europe and beyond. On-demand technical breakout sessions on key tax policy updates from countries across the continent will also be available.

Our ATS2020 agenda focuses on:

COVID response – in comparison to developed nations, limited tax relief measures have been introduced in Africa to alleviate the financial and economic burden on business. Standards across the continent consisted mostly of extending filing deadlines and deferment of tax payments. Attention is gradually beginning to turn towards base-broadening tax policies that complement the economic recovery. Our EY COVID-19 Stimulus Tracker tracks policy changes that have been announced across Africa (and elsewhere in the world) in response to the ongoing crisis.

BEPS program: Even though BEPS 2.0 remains a footnote on the political agenda in most of Africa, tax administration approaches to international tax matters (and transfer pricing especially) has continued to improve across the continent. From memberships in the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS and emphasis on tax administration capacity-building programs to more sophisticated use of technology and data to improve audit methodology, we have seen marked improvements in country approach to international tax matters. 

AfCFTA: Uncertainty around global trade will continue to be a dominant theme for business. Yet, a young, promising, made-in-Africa trade bloc could drive a different outlook for intra-Africa trade. In time, AfCFTA will influence tax policy formulation of its member states, but not before it prompts an increase in cross-border tax controversy and disputes. Proactive conversations about the impact of trade, tariffs, and sanction policies will gradually become part of Africa's tax function curriculum.

Our tax, transfer pricing, and global trade specialists are looking forward to sharing insights and experiences with you at ATS2020. We’ve tapped leading voices from business, government, multilateral institutions, and specialists from our global EY network to bring you a rounded view of what COVID-19 and AfCFTA mean for your tax function.

Notes to Editors 

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Samantha Crous

Digital, Media, PR and Communications Lead

Brand, Marketing and Communications

+27 (0) 82 493 6335