Developing Fiscal Legitimacy By Building State-Societal Trust in African Countries

Attiya Waris


Developing countries continue to face the challenge of creating state-society trust and, in turn, compliant taxpayers. This endeavour is hampered by, amongst other things, state inefficiencies, inequalities and corruption, and a lack of accountability, responsibility and transparency, which continue to exist in developing countries, potentially resulting in unfair and unjust government administrations. The impact that a government and its tax administration have, through practices (either real or perceived) relating to these challenges, has an effect on taxpayers’ compliance and trust in government. This article analyses elements of fiscal legitimacy of the fiscal state and posits that, in trying to widen a developing country's tax base and increase taxes, one must understand how to build taxpayer compliance. Using African examples, this article reflects on the context of taxpayers in African countries and the ways in which a state can go about building a culture of compliance and trust between state and citizens.

Full Text:



Arko-Cobbah, A. (2007). The Right of Access to Information: Civil Society and Good Governance in South Africa. Proceedings of the 73rd World Library and Information Congress. Retrieved from

Ayee, J. R. A. (2005). Public Sector Management in Africa. Economic Research Working Paper Series, No. 82. Tunis: African National Bank. Retrieved from

Björklund Larsen, L. (2018). A Fair Share of Tax: A Fiscal Anthropology of Contemporary Sweden. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG (Palgrave Macmillan). Retrieved from

Crandall, W., & Kidd, M. (2010). Revenue Administration: A Toolkit for Implementing A Revenue Authority. Washington D.C.: International Monetary Fund. Retrieved from

Cvrlje, D. (2015). Tax Literacy as an Instrument of Combating and Overcoming Tax System Complexity, Low Tax Morale and Tax Non-Compliance. The Macrotheme Review, 4(3), 156-167. Retrieved from

Darch, C., & Underwood P. (2010). Struggles for Freedom of Information in Africa. In Freedom of Information and the Developing World: The Citizen, the State and Models of Openness. Oxford: Chandos Publishing. Retrieved from

Democratic Republic of the Congo. (2002). Law Relating to the Mining Code, No. 007/2002. Retrieved from 2016/Democractic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Law of 2002 Relating to the Mining Code.pdf.

Di John, J. (2009). Taxation as State-Building: Reforming Tax Systems for Political Stability and Sustainable Economic Growth: A Practitioner’s Guide. Washington D.C.: Facility for Investment Climate Advisory Service (FIAS), World Bank Group and the Department for International Development (DIFD). Retrieved from

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). (2017). Tanzania 2017 Validation. Oslo: EITI. Retrieved from

Government of Rwanda. (2006). Rwanda Aid Policy. Kigali: Government of Rwanda. Retrieved from

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) & the World Bank. (2011). Supporting the Development of More Effective Tax Systems: A Report to the G-20 Development Working Group by the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank. Retrieved from

Martin, I.W., Mehrotra A.K., & Prasad M. (Eds.) (2009). The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative and Historical Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

Mohan K. (2014, June 24). Factsheet: Freedom of Information in Africa. Africa Check. Retrieved from

Morisset, J., & Pirnia N. (2000). How Tax Policy and Incentives Affect Foreign Direct Investment: A Review. Policy Research Working Paper Series, 2509. Washington D.C.: The World Bank and International Finance Corporation Foreign Investment Advisory Service. Retrieved from

Mukinda, F., & Lang’at, P. (2018, May 16). NYS Did Business with Ghost Firms in Sh9bn Tender Scam. Daily Nation. Retrieved from

Musgrave, R. A. (1992)). Schumpeter’s Crisis of the Tax State: An Essay in Fiscal Sociology. Journal of Evolutional Economics, 2(2), 89-113.

Mutavi, L. (2018, July 14). Kenya Power ex-CEO Ben Chumo to be charged on corruption claims. The Star. Retrieved from

Oketch, A. (2017, October 22). The Ugly Side of Doctors, Nurses’ Strikes. Daily Nation. Retrieved from

openAfrica. (2015). Afrobarometer 2015 – Datasets. Retrieved from

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Forum for Tax Administration Compliance Sub-Group. (2004). Guidance Note: Compliance Risk Management: Managing and Improving Tax Compliance. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2011). Perspectives on Global Development 2012: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Ormrod, W. M. (1999). England in the Middle Ages. In R. Bonney (Ed), The Rise of the Fiscal State in Europe c1200-1815, pp.19-52. New York: Oxford University Press.

Revenue Watch Institute. (2013). The 2013 Resource Governance Index: Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Schumpeter, J. A. (1918). The Crisis of the Tax State. In R. Swedberg (Ed), Joseph A. Schumpeter: The Economics and Sociology of Capitalism (pp. 99-140). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

South African Revenue Service. (2015, May 25). South African Revenue Services on Convictions Rate for Tax Crimes in 2014/15 [Press release]. Retrieved from

Tafirenyika, M. (2016, November 25). Health Care Systems: Time for a Rethink (2016) Africa Renewal, December 2016-March 2017. Retrieved from

Tarus, I. K. (2004). A History of the Direct Taxation of the African People of Kenya, 1895-1973 (Doctoral thesis). Grahamstown, South Africa: Rhodes University.

Teti, A., & Abbott, P. (2017). What Do ‘The People’ (Still) Want? Conceptions of Democracy. Arab Transformations Policy Brief No 1. Retrieved from

"The IMF Is Back in Africa" (2017, June 15). The Economist. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2000). Report of the Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Strategies for Improving Resource Mobilization in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition. New York: United Nations. Retrieved from

Wanzala, O. (2018, April 30). Crackdown on Striking Lecturers Begins. Daily Nation. Retrieved from

Waris, A. (2010). Solving the Fiscal Crisis: Legitimising Taxation through Realisation of Human Rights (Doctoral thesis). Available from EThOS database (

Waris, A. (2013a). Tax and Development: Solving Kenya’s Fiscal Crisis through Human Rights. Nairobi: LawAfrica.

Waris, A. (2013b). Taxation and State Legitimacy in Kenya. In J. Leaman & A. Waris (Eds.), Tax Justice and the Political Economy of Global Capitalism, 1945 to the Present (pp. 151-180). New York: Berghahn Books.

Waris, A., & Latif, L. A. (2015). Towards Establishing Fiscal Legitimacy Through Settled Fiscal Principles in Global Health Financing. Health Care Analysis, 23(4) 376-390.

Waris, A., & Murangwa, H. (2012). Utilising Tax Literacy and Societal Confidence in a State: The Rwandan Model. University of Nairobi Law Journal.

Waris, A., & van Kommer, V. (2011). Key Building Blocks for Effective Tax Systems in Developing Countries Utilizing the Theory of the Development of the Fiscal State. International Bulletin of Fiscal Documentation, 65(11), 620-636.

World Bank. (2004). Updated Project Information Document (PID). Retrieved from


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright ©  Journal of Tax Administration. All rights reserved. | Hosted by Docuracy Ltd | Powered by Open Journal Systems