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Tax Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Re-Examining the Role of Excise Taxationy


  • Bruce Bolnick

    (Harvard Institute for International Development, based in Lilongwe)

  • Jonathan Haughton

    (Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy)


Excise taxes, notably on tobacco and petroleum products and alcoholic beverages, raise revenue equivalent to 1.9% of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa. Their importance varies widely and inexplicably across countries, and shows no trend over time. In principle, excises are good revenue sources, cheap to administer; and potentially efficient, especially when applied to goods that cause negative externalities or face price-inelastic demand. They are consistent with a fair tax system, and complement broad-based taxes such as the VAT.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Bolnick & Jonathan Haughton, 2001. "Tax Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Re-Examining the Role of Excise Taxationy," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association (AFEA), vol. 4(1), pages 31-64.
  • Handle: RePEc:afe:journl:v:4:y:2001:i:1:p:31-64

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