Webinar: Building Tax Systems in Fragile States

How can international donors contribute where institutions are weak?

A recording of the event can be seen on Youtube

Donor support might prevent outright state collapse, but has to date not contributed much to develop fiscal capacity in fragile states. The important relationship between state-building and domestic revenue mobilization is often neglected. International initiatives often end up putting these countries on an artificial life-support system fed by foreign aid. This webinar takes stock of current evidence on what works and what needs to change to build tax systems in weak states.


13:00 - 13:05 Welcome
Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen (Moderator), Executive director, Tax Justice Network - Norway

13:05 - 13:15 Setting the scene: Why international donors fail to enable state building
Morten Bøås, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

13:15 - 13:30 Customs reforms in Somalia
Gael Raballand, Governance and Public Sector Management (GPSM) Department, World Bank

13:30-13:45 Domestic revenue mobilization in Ethiopia: Challenges
Wollela A. Yesegat, Addis Ababa University

13:45-13:55 Comments from a donor’s perspective
Toril-Iren Pedersen, Tax for Development, Norwegian agency for development cooperation (Norad)

13:55-14:15 Q&A and wrap-up

About the speakers


Morten Bøås is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and works predominantly on issues concerning peace and conflict in Africa, including issues such as land rights and citizenship, conflicts, youths, ex-combatants and the new landscape of insurgencies and geopolitics. Morten manages the TaxCapDev-network jointly with Odd-Helge Fjeldstad.


Gaël Raballand is a lead governance and public sector specialist in the World Bank. He holds a PhD in economics from Sorbonne University and degrees in political science and international public law. He co-authored several World Bank books and several academic papers on trade, transport and customs issues. He has been involved in the Somalia customs reform for several years and has experience in taxation in fragile states.


Wollela Abehodie Yesegat (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Taxation at the College of Business and Economic of Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Wollela conducted several studies on taxation and presented papers at a number of national and international conferences and published on international journals. Wollela is also a tax consultant and worked with the World Bank Group, DFID, Investment Climate Facility for Africa and African Capacity Building Foundation covering such countries as Ethiopia, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Rwanda and Sudan.


Toril-Iren Pedersen currently works as senior adviser in the Tax for development (TFD)team at Norad. Within the TFD team she focuses on local governance revenue, fragile states, civil society and the UN tax related processes. Toril has worked extensively on governance and state building initiatives for the UN (UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Habitat and UNFPA) in Somalia, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda as well as global governance programs and has a particular interest in financing and revenues as part of the state building process.


Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen is Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Norway. She has two decades of experience on changing tax and transparency policies on national, regional and global levels. She has frequent public appearances in media and as a speaker. She has co-authored a number of books and reports on the topic.

Presentation by Wollela A. Yesegat

Presentation by Gael Raballand