Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taxing Alcohol in Africa: Reflections and Updates

A Working Paper by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (Georgia State University) posits that governments arguably exist in part to cope with such weaknesses of their citizens as those arising from infirmity, ignorance, and irrationality. At the same time, however, governments themselves partly subsist on the strength of such other popular "weaknesses‟ as smoking, drinking, gambling, and polluting. In many countries, alcoholic beverages have long played a critical role on both sides of this equation. Over-indulgence in drink is a factor in crime, injury, and illness. In recent decades, although the level of alcohol consumption worldwide has been relatively stable, in some developing countries, including a number in Africa, such consumption has increased. At the same time in many of the same countries alcohol has also proved to be a lucrative source of public financing.

Thus from a public policy perspective, alcohol thus has two faces. In particular, we attempt to draw from international experience some implications for African governments that are wrestling with the conundrums and trade-offs that confound alcohol tax policy everywhere. Click here to read more...

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