A Tale of Three Cities: Chileshe Mange’s Summer with TJNA

Written by Chileshe Mange

This summer I volunteered with the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), a pan-
African network of civil societies with a footprint in 26 countries. Its mandate is rooted
in the strategic framework of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for inclusive and
sustainable development with a focus on taxation of African resources. The TJNA
network envisions an Africa where tax justice prevails and contributes to equitable,
inclusive, and sustainable development by advocating for pro-poor tax policies and
tax systems that curb leakages, optimise domestic resource mobilisation, and
mobilise citizens and institutions to demand fair tax systems. It’s work portfolio is
structured and implemented through four thematic areas and various engagement
programmes such as the African Parliamentary Network on Illicit Financial Flows and
the Pan African Conference on Tax. The thematic areas are (i) Tax and International
Financial Architecture; (ii) Tax and Investments; (iii) Natural Resource Governance;
and (iv) Fair and Equitable Taxation.

During the summer I worked under the Tax and Financial Architecture and the Tax
and Investments focus areas assisting with various programmes across three cities
and what turned out to be a true African safari the Swahili word for journey. My
safari began in Lusaka, Zambia which is also my hometown and country where I
provided logistical and technical support to the TJNA team that was attending the
Addis Tax Initiative General Assembly in Lusaka. I was tasked with collating the key
outcomes of the meeting and developing the framework for a high-level position
paper on emerging issues. I then “safarid” to Nairobi, Kenya to participate in the
TJNA mid-year review and planning meeting, where I contributed to the development
of a new strategy for the organization’s policy team. Finally, I journeyed to Kampala,
Uganda where I helped mobilize legislators for the upcoming Africa Parliamentarian
Network on IFFs conference. My other deliverables included contributing to a policy
brief on investment disputes with Columbia Centre of Sustainable Investment,
developing a position paper on digital taxation and drafting the concept note for a
continental strategy on public interest litigation.

One of the most topical issues in international development is reform of the global
financial architecture (including the Bretton Woods institutions) to create an equitable
international financial system. My time at TJNA gave me firsthand exposure to the
initiatives and processes that dominate this space. Aside from this informative
experience, was the opportunity to meet many talented professionals whose passion
and drive affirmed the potential that is on the African continent.

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