Taxing mobile phone more than gold mining in Africa

The tax on internet voice calls such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber triggered massive protests in Lebanon, which bring down the government a few months later. Several other countries especially in Sub Saharan Africa (Uganda, Zambia, Kenya) raised or tried to raise (Benin ) similar taxes. These experiments illustrate not only governments’ efforts to tax new bases, but also the politically sensitivity of some bases and the poor design of these taxes, which often take the form of a specific excise. Such taxes add up to a lot of others, which are particular to the telecommunication sector.

Rota-Graziosi G., Sawadogo F. (2020), Taxing mobile phone more than gold mining in Africa, FERDI Policy Brief B214, December