CRAFT: Research and advocacy for Fair Taxation

Welcome to the Make Tax Fair project. Working to make tax systems more accountable, transparent, fair and pro-poor.

Taxation is the most sustainable, largest and stable source of state income. Tax has a redistributive function and is critical for poverty reduction. Without progressive and effective taxation, pro-poor economic growth and essential services, such as education and health care, are virtually impossible to accomplish.

Tax revenues in developing countries continually fall short of what realistically could be obtained when analyzing these countries' actual productive potential. To address this Oxfam Novib and Tax Justice Network-Africa have developed a project, called “Capacity for Research and Advocacy for Fair Taxation” (CRAFT). Participating countries include Uganda, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt and Bangladesh.

The project started in 2012 and has already accomplished significant results, especially with regards to research and mobilizing people. CRAFT aims to promote fair taxation by working together with country specific lead organizations to strengthen civil society.

The CRAFT project has five intervention strategies to strengthen civil society:

  1. Research
  2. Training
  3. Civic education
  4. Policy advocacy
  5. Alliance building

Or visit our website for more information about:

  • the reasoning behind the project
  • the intervention strategies
  • the organizations involved in the project
  • key project documents
  • The Fair Tax Monitor


  • Project name: Capacity for Research and Advocacy for Fair Taxation (CRAFT)
  • Project period: 2012 - 2018
  • Target Group: Civil Society Organizations, Citizens, and Media.
  • Location: Uganda, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Niger.

The CRAFT project falls under the FAIR program and provides the basis for the Finance for Development project.


Co-funding is sought for further implementation of the project. For more information you can contact Ilse Balstra.



Many developing countries face problems in setting up a transparent and accountable tax system, which in turn, holds back progress in their economic and social development. The tax landscape in these countries is generally marked by deep-rooted unfair taxation policies and practices. This often leads to low domestic revenue collection, with a tax to GDP ratio in African countries stagnating around half the value of that of OECD countries.

During the first 3 years of implementation of the CRAFT project, various examples of inefficient and unfair tax policies and practices were identified in the baseline surveys: bias towards indirect tax and wage taxes; negative effect of tax competition and under taxation of the extractives industries on tax collection; large illicit capital flows due to tax avoidance and evasion; negative perception of fiscal systems associated with poor governance and accountability; mistrust of the government seen as corrupted and mismanaged. Weak political institutions and low tax administration capacities are slowing down progress in making tax systems more transparent and accountable, and, as a result, further weaken civil society engagement in tax issues.


The CRAFT project is build on the following five intervention strategies:

  1. Research is key to evidence-based advocacy and essential for convincing authorities and mobilizing people. Through our studies, CRAFT has already contributed to a better understanding of tax issues and provided a firm basis for both the civic education and advocacy campaigns.
  2. Training to enhance the capacity within civil society organizations as well as in grassroots leadership and in media, to thoroughly understand what tax justice is about and how civic awareness and advocacy can be strategically undertaken. Training meetings in the past have already significantly improved the relationship between tax officials and CSOs, and created a platform to work together on tax issues and future advocacy.
  3. Civic Education/Mobilization to influence public opinion and stimulate social pressure to change tax policies and practices. Key in this process is the improvement of the relationship between citizens and tax officials.
  4. Policy Advocacy by engaging in both targeted advocacy campaigns and political lobby with the state. The project builds national and international partnerships by participating in (global) networks and joint campaigns.
  5. Alliance and coalition building which leads to a stronger local and global civil society. The pressure for significant reforms can be enhanced if advocacy and campaigns are supported by a wide network of allies.



The overall objective of the CRAFT project is to enhance democratic accountability and achieve fiscal justice through fair (inter)national tax systems, which reduce inequality, fight profit shifting and avoid tax competition. This will lead to an increase in tax revenues and public expenditure for essential services.

There are five specific results to be achieved:

  1. By April 2018, increased research capacity, knowledge and awareness in CSOs on how the states, the private sector, civil servants and citizens deal with taxes at present and in the future. Gender analysis is increasingly included in the research.
  2. By April 2018, CSOs have been organized, mobilized and trained in technical-fiscal, advocacy and campaigning aspects of tax justice and engaged in policy advocacy, awareness raising, denouncing cases and pro-active participation at local, national and regional governmental levels.
  3. By April 2018, men and women are informed about the harmful effects of unfair and ineffective tax-related practices and its alternatives for more progressive taxation, through civil education to increase willingness to pay taxes.
  4. By April 2018, through joint advocacy and engagement with stakeholders involved in tax issues, the representatives and staff of the six country governments are informed about the harmful effects of unfair and ineffective tax-related practices, and a substantial impact is generated on tax policies and practices.
  5. By April 2018, new alliances and fair tax coalitions have been established to organize joint advocacy and campaigning activities, not only to the state but also towards the private sector. Women organizations will be included in the alliances.



Craft Framework 2015-2018

Examples and pictures of CRAFT activities



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