Corporate tax incentives reduce investment costs for businesses, which may affect investment and location decisions. They apply through different designs and interact with countries’ standard tax systems, often making it difficult for tax policy makers and researchers to compare their generosity and assess their impacts across countries. This paper develops a methodology to calculate forward-looking corporate effective tax rates (ETRs) summarising tax relief from investment tax incentives into comparable indicators. It presents ETR indicators for seven Sub-Saharan African countries. Empirical results show that tax incentives substantially lower corporate taxation across these countries. On average, tax incentives reduce ETRs by 30% in the food and automotive industries compared to the standard tax treatment. ETRs often differ among taxpayers in a same sector and country - by up to 55%. The most generous tax treatment is typically offered within Special Economic Zones, where tax incentives can reduce ETRs to near zero.

This Technical Paper presents the results of research on the impact of taxation and other regulations on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in two countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The fiscal and other regulations of the countries studied — Niger and Swaziland — and their administrative systems are quite different. Based on approximately similar samples of enterprises from the two countries, this study estimated and compared the level of compliance with these different legal requirements, and also ascertained their consequences for the functioning and growth of these enterprises.

The research revealed that the MSEs of the two countries do not comply with all the applicable regulations. The level of compliance itself depended more on the type of regulation and characteristics of the MSEs studied than on the country. It appears that the proportion of MSEs that are registered was nearly identical in the two countries, while differences depend primarily on location (rural versus urban) ...

L’année 2013 offre au gouvernement l’occasion de réorienter sa politique budgétaire en exploitant les recettes importantes qui devraient être générées par la SACU et de résoudre certains des défis budgétaires à plus long terme auxquels le pays est confronté. Dans cette optique, le gouvernement peut puiser dans les recommandations de réformes inscrites dans la version mise à jour de son calendrier d’ajustement budgétaire (Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap - FAR), lequel met l’accent, à moyen terme, sur les aspects suivants : i) l’adoption et la mise en oeuvre de la loi relative à la gestion des finances publiques (GFP) ; ii) la suppression de la procyclicité de la politique budgétaire ; iii) le développement d’un cadre de dépense à moyen terme (CDMT) ; et iv) le renforcement de la mobilisation des ressources intérieures. Les mesures budgétaires, associées aux réformes visant à améliorer le climat des investissements et au développement de régimes de protection sociale exhaustifs, sont nécessaires pour amener l’économie sur la voie d’une croissance inclusive.


The year 2013 presents an opportunity for the government to redirect its fiscal policy by utilising the projected high SACU receipts and to address some of the longer-term fiscal challenges. In this endeavour, the government can draw on reform recommendations in its updated Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR), which, over the medium term, puts emphasis on: i) adoption and implementation of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Bill; ii) removing pro-cyclicality of fiscal policy; iii) developing a medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF); and iv) strengthening domestic resource mobilisation. The fiscal measures, together with reforms of the investment climate and the development of comprehensive social protection schemes, are needed to bring the economy onto an inclusive growth path.


L’année 2012 sera l’occasion pour le gouvernement du Swaziland d’exploiter judicieusement la forte hausse prévue des recettes retirées de l’Union douanière d’Afrique australe (Southern Africa Customs Union – SACU). Couplées à des réformes décisives, des mesures budgétaires adéquates pourraient placer le pays sur une trajectoire de croissance soutenue et inclusive – d’autant qu’il a des atouts à faire valoir, comme son emplacement stratégique, sa base de production relativement diversifiée et sa main-d’oeuvre qualifiée.


The year 2012 presents an important opportunity for the government of Swaziland to utilise judiciously the projected large increase in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts. The right fiscal measures, if accompanied by decisive reforms, could put the economy on a path of strong and inclusive growth. It is also a chance for Swaziland to draw on its strengths, including its strategic location, relatively diversified production base, and skilled labour force. For Swaziland, 2011 was a challenging year. Real GDP grew by 1.1% while the 12-month inflation reading hit 7.8% in December. The country faced a severe fiscal crisis, due to a sharp fall in SACU receipts, an historically high level of expenditures (especially wages), and the government’s limited access to borrowing. The crisis led to cuts in capital and social spending, undermining future growth. With government arrears of about 4% of GDP at the end of 2011, including debts to private contractors, the crisis has hurt an already struggling labour market and made things worse for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


After averaging 2.9% during 2004-08, economic growth in Swaziland significantly dropped in 2009, mainly due to the impact of the global economic downturn on export-oriented sectors, in particular textiles and wood pulp. Other contributory factors were prolonged drought and low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2010, the economy moderately recovered with a rebound in global demand mainly for sugar and textiles. However, falling receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) coupled with lower internal revenues constrained the government's ability to implement counter-cyclical measures. In order to support economic activity in 2010, low interest rates were maintained in line with those of South Africa. However, the main focus of the Central Bank of Swaziland continued to be price stability. Inflation was 4.5% in 2010, down from 7.5% in 2009. This was mainly driven by lower prices for food and transport. Inflation is forecast at 7.7% in 2011, reflecting the lagged impact of increases in tariffs for water and electricity in 2010. The anticipated fuel and food crises are also expected to impact domestic price levels.

Swaziland is Southern Africa’s second-smallest economy after Lesotho and it faces a host of economic challenges in the short and medium term. the combination of low investment, the end of EU preferential treatment for the country’s main sugar and textile exports, low productivity, deteriorating trade receipts, low domestic resource mobilisation and the ongoing effects of the global economic crisis mean that sustained growth will remain elusive. Indeed, years of persistently sluggish growth have resulted in an expansion of poverty and unemployment. Moreover, the alarming 32.4% prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS will continue to exert undue pressure on government resources and has restricted Swaziland’s annual population growth to about 0.4% since 1997.

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