Proposition for an AFCFTA-based Tax Dispute Court for the Timely Resolution of Commercial Tax Disputes
Author: Marie-Louise Fehun Aren
Affiliations: Doctoral Candidate of International Tax Law, University of Pretoria
Source: African Multidisciplinary Tax Journal, 2023 Issue 1, p. 103–124
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is promoted as a developmental game-changer set to foster an impressive growth in intra-African trade. Already, economic forecasts project that the successful implementation of the AfCFTA could boost intra-Africa trade and investments from the current 16 per cent to about 35 to 40 per cent by 2040. However, the success of the AfCFTA implementation is largely dependent on the willingness of its member states to carry out large-scale trade and investment reforms to reap the benefits of the free trade area. One area in dire need of reform is the tax dispute settlement mechanisms (TDSM) found in tax, trade and investment agreements. These mechanisms often act as technical barriers to the realisation of the AfCFTA objectives. This paper seeks to review the TDSM provisions contained in the tax, trade and investment agreements, including the newly drafted AfCFTA investment protocol. It also seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of the challenges inherent in these instruments with the aim of offering solutions through a progressively binding AfCFTA tax court. The court will enhance the timely and equitable resolution of tax disputes in the AfCFTA and promote a more conducive environment for investment, trade and growth.