Junior public finance researchers from Africa are exposed to global discussions

Written by Tobias Fleckenstein

Academic researchers from developing countries rarely have the opportunity to exchange on research and results with internationally renowned academics. In order to strengthen the representation of Africa in global discussions on good financial governance 13 early-stage public finance researchers participated in a master class and the annual International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF) congress held in Nevada, USA in August 2016.

During the GIZ master class, facilitated by GIZ’s Good Financial Governance in Africa programme and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union, the participants presented their research papers on public finance issues in Africa and received feedback on content and methodology from high level public finance academics from Germany, Canada and the United States. It became clear after interactions between senior IIPF researchers and early-stage public finance scholars that improving tax compliance and reducing income inequality are global issues that are currently on top of the research agenda.

The 72nd IIPF congress hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno followed the master class. 370 delegates from 40 countries, as well as the 13 junior scholars from Africa, attended the three day conference. The theme of the congress “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Public Policy” was highlighted by four plenary speakers including Roger Gordon (University of California, San Diego) and Dietmar Harhoff (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich). One highlight of the congress was the address by world class economist Hal Varian (Chief Economist, Google) on “Google Tools for Data.”

The main body of the congress consisted of 280 contributed papers in up to 13 parallel sessions covering all topics within public economics. In total, 76 group sessions were organised. These sessions gave the promoted junior scholars from Africa an opportunity to engage and exchange with IIPF scholars on international high quality public finance research.

The GFG in Africa programme showcased its work during the congress exhibition. The idea to support early-stage public finance scholars who are striving to augment their research skills forms part of the GIZ programme’s aim for public finance reforms in Africa. The master class and congress highlighted the importance of including African institutions in global discussions and implementing activities that promote tax compliance, give access to data and result in increased research on public finance in Africa.

For further information on the GIZ Good Financial Governance in Africa programme contact: Dr Barbara Dutzler (barbara.dutzler@giz.de).

Senior academics and the junior participants of the GIZ master class at the University of Reno (Photo © IIPF).