The United Nations must guarantee an equitable and inclusive global tax system for African countries to rectify the historical imbalance in the global tax governance system.
African representatives, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), which represented Nigeria at a news conference with other permanent representatives at the United Nations in New York, said a new Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation had become necessary, as it offered a more equitable platform for dialogue and decision making.
The Leader of the African Group and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia at the United Nations, Dr. Chola Milambo, said the proposal of a new Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation was not a mere policy document, but a beacon of hope for developing countries that have long sought a voice in the shaping of international tax norms.
Milambo said the proposed Framework Convention would give fairness and inclusivity to all stakeholders in the global tax system.
Describing the call by African countries for a new framework convention on international tax as a significant moment in collective quest for a more equitable and inclusive global tax system, Milambo said the African Group has already taken a significant step forward with the landmark initiative reflective of the continent’s collective commitment to fairness and inclusivity in the global tax system.
“This Framework Convention addresses the critical shortcomings of the current system, which often sidelines the unique challenges and perspectives of developing nations. Our proposal acknowledges the contributions of existing bodies like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Tax Committee, while also recognizing their limitations in fully representing the interests of all nations, particularly those in the developing world,” he said.
The goal of the proposed framework convention, the African Group leader said, was to ensure that all countries, regardless of their size and economic power, have an equal seat at the table in setting the agenda for international tax cooperation.
By establishing a more equitable tax system, Milambo argued that greater potential for spending would be unlocked in critical sectors like healthcare and education, pivotal for Africa and the Global South.
The increased revenue generated, he pointed out, would enable us to allocate resources where they were most needed, supporting sustainable growth and development.
This approach, he noted, was encompassed under the umbrella of ‘sustainable development’, ensuring the group’s initiative directly contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reflecting the continent’s shared commitment to a future where holistic progress and well-being were accessible to all.
“The human aspect of this Convention cannot be overstated. By reforming the international financial systems and ensuring fair taxation, we can significantly reduce the strain on international aid. More revenue for the Global South translates to less dependence on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), fostering a more self-reliant and resilient world economy,” the African Group chair further noted.
He, however, appealed for the understanding of Africa’s shared humanity with its partners such as the OECD European Union (EU), United States (U.S) and United Kingdom (UK).
This Convention, he said, was not just a fiscal tool, but a lifeline to millions who aspire for better healthcare, education and a life of dignity, adding that the world’s support was crucial in turning the vision into a reality.
Looking ahead to the 2025 Financing for Development (FFD) conference, Milambo said the Convention has set the stage for a more inclusive approach to global economic challenges, adding that it was a step towards a future where sustainable development, encompassing economic growth and environmental stewardship, go hand in hand.
Also, Milambo said the proposed framework convention would create a system that would serve not just economies, but the people at their core, while also representing a commitment to a future where every nation, regardless of its economic stature, could thrive.
Also commenting on the development, the outgoing Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, expressed Nigeria’s support to the proposed Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation.
Owasanoye, who was a member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (also known as the FACTI Panel), said the framework convention was necessary to remove the inequality in tax framework and the profit shifting, which have prevented Nigeria and other developing countries from retaining multinational corporations’ (MNCs) revenue for tax purposes.
“It should not surprise us that the global north is resistant to multilateral convention or a framework convention as both will remove the inequality in tax framework and the profit shifting preventing developing countries from retaining multinational corporations (MNCs) revenue for tax purposes within jurisdiction of operation.
He called upon the global north countries to soften their resistance to a UN driven multilateral tax convention in the interest of global aspiration to attain sustainable development goals and a world where no country is dependent on another economically,” said the outgoing ICPC Chairman.
He gave the assurance that Nigeria would continue to play a leading role in the process being the biggest victim of the Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Africa, particularly the South of Sahara.