Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, says Africa needs to deepen cooperation and collaboration with the rest of the world to enjoy maximum benefit from international taxation initiatives.
Osinbajo spoke at the opening session of a panel at the ongoing Africa CEO Forum held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, according to a statement issued on Monday by Laolu Akande, vice-president’s spokesman.
The theme of the forum was ‘Economic sovereignty: From ambition to action’.
Osinbajo said there was an utmost need for collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world, adding that caution must be considered when it comes to economic sovereignty.
“I think that we have to be a bit more careful with the concept of economic sovereignty because we really need to collaborate more and with the way that development is going, we need to watch some of these things,” the vice-president said.
“For instance, if we look at the way that technology is going which is key for us in Nigeria, particularly issues of taxation of tech companies and all of that, it is evident that this is difficult and it is a major expression of sovereign power — the power to tax.
“The way that the world and technology are structured today, there is no way that you can use the same basis — personal and territorial basis — for taxation.
“These are multinational enterprises that spread across countries and continents.
“We have got to cooperate with the world and the international tax system to ensure that we are able to derive maximum benefit; we have got to take a seat at the table and ensure that all of the various initiatives on international taxation favour us in Africa.”
According to him, while Africa is looking inwards, it also needs to look outwards as well because a lot of money is obviously used by tech companies across the world and a lot of African countries are value creators for these companies.
Osinbajo also said Africa needs to explore ways to tap into its intellectual capacity.
“The world is now more about intellectual capital. We have to think of how we can work with the world to achieve maximum benefit for our intellectual capacity,” he said.
On his part, Abdulsamad Rabiu, chief executive officer, BUA Group, said to fast-track development, Africa should look inwards.
Rabiu said leveraging opportunities provided by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), and improving infrastructure, are some of the key areas that leaders in the continent must focus on.
President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, while giving his opening remarks, commended the organisers for bringing together public and private sector leaders across the continent and beyond to discuss and develop new paths aimed at boosting the transformation of economies across Africa.
He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts have been geared towards fruitful collaborations, as well as “building new partnerships between the public and private sectors, especially providing opportunities for young Africans with particular focus on green economy”
Other speakers on the panel were President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Makhtar Diop, managing director of the International Finance Corporation; Patrick Njoroge, governor, Central Bank of Kenya; Kate Kanyi Tometi-Fotso, chief executive officer, Telcar Cocoa; and Karim Beguir, chief executive officer, Instadeep.