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African Tax Media Network Formed To Bolster Tax Education, Awareness

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Partial view of participants of ATAF 2nd Media Engagement and Training held in Kigali, Rwanda from March 6-8, 2019

KIGALI, Rwanda – A network, African Tax Media Network (ATMeN), comprising 150 tax reporters and tax communicators in Africa has been established to champion the African tax conversation with the aim of enhancing domestic resource mobilization and development on the continent. 

ATMeN was established as an outcome of the African Tax Administrative Forum (ATAF) 2nd Media Engagement and Training held in Kigali, Rwanda from March 6-8. About 70 participants from 22 counties including Liberia, attended the event. ATAF was established by African revenue authorities in 2009, in order to improve the performance of tax administrations in Africa. 

During the media engagement, participants unanimously endorsed Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Communications, Media and Public Affairs Manager, D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, as a member of an 11-person committee who will finalize the formation of the network for endorsement by heads of revenue authorities in Africa during the 10th Anniversary celebration of ATAF in November 2019.  

ATMeN seeks to establish a strong collaboration between tax reporters and revenue administrations to enhance tax education and awareness in supporting domestic resource mobilization among others. 

The formation of the network buttresses efforts led by ATAF to initiate concrete steps in developing a smooth relationship between the media and various tax administrations on the African continent.  

Through this network, participants committed to sharing experiences, developing story ideas, promoting access to information at multiple levels and identifying opportunities for capacity development.

Participants reiterated the importance of the network, because it would help them contextualize the story of tax by providing concrete policies, communicating service delivery and highlighting actions. More importantly, they noted that it would go beyond reporting scandals by highlighting solutions and best practices. 

According to them, this would be the right platform for media to create, access, curate and share knowledge that, subsequently, enables citizens to understand the impact of their taxes on their development. Participants appreciated the strong commitment by all stakeholders to creating an enabling and inclusive environment in the spirit of Africa’s development ambitions.

Liberian delegation (from left), D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, LRA Communications Manager; Lennart Dodoo, FrontPage Africa’s Editor; Catherine Nyenkan, Liberia News Agency; David Yates, Daily Observer and Jerry L. Siakor, Public & Social Media Affairs Officer, LRA

Participants stated that this network – underpinned by the support of the tax administrations and the media – will create opportunities for innovation and contribute to a robust conversation around domestic revenue mobilization for the benefit of Africa.

In closing, through telling the tax story from the African perspective, participants reaffirmed their commitment and contribution to shaping and setting the Africa tax agenda at national, regional and global level, for the benefit of the continent and its people.

The three-day (March 6-8) event among other things, heighted the critical role of the media in unpacking the benefits of tax on citizens, advocacy, taxing the digital economy, the role of citizens in development, including simplification of tax information to the public. 

It brought together about 70 selected media practitioners and tax communicators from across Africa and was held under the theme, “Journeying with ATAF on the Next 10 Years: The Journey Towards Increased Domestic Resource Revolution in Africa”.

Speaking at the close of the event, the Director of Tax Program at ATAF Mary Baine urged media practitioners to remain committed in highlighting tax matters as a means of ensuring that the public is adequately informed and educated on the underlining issues of taxation. 

For his part, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner of Domestic Taxes, Aimable Kayigi Habiyambere, noted that the role of the media is fundamental in taxation and as such the media should not be left behind in the process of tax information and education. 

The media engagement is an annual gathering funded by ATAF to promote and enhance media coverage of tax matters in Africa—by strengthening the capacities of African journalists and tax communicators in promoting collaboration and facilitating exchange of knowledge on tax-related matters.

Five delegates from Liberia including three Liberian journalists from FrontPage Africa, Daily Observer Newspaper and the Liberia News Agency and two tax communications personnel from the LRA represented Liberia.  The first ATAF media engagement and training was held in March 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa.   

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