Voluntary Organizations and Civil Society

Country Reports: Sub-Saharan Africa

The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 1, Issue 2, December 1998


Conferences are being organized to discuss the World Bank Handbook on Good Practices for Laws Relating to Nongovernmental Organizations in Africa in June or July 1999. Advance preparations are now underway under the direction of Edward A. Adiin Yaansah of Ghana and Solomon Bekele of Ethiopia. The two lawyers are presently analyzing the existing information available in the ICNL documentation center about legislation in the various African countries. They are also preparing a new template for the acquisition of additional information in advance of the conferences. Persons who are interested in serving as country reporters for the conferences should contact Solomon Bekele at ICNL.


The full text of the new Code of Conduct for NGOs in Ethiopia is availbale in the ICNL documentation center.


Tax Legislation

On 3 June 1998 the Parliament adopted a new law to repeal Sales Tax and replace it with a new Value Added Tax (VAT) with effect from 7 September 1998. Exemptions from VAT are available for certain nonprofit institutions including benevolent or charitable institutions affiliated with the Mauritius Council of Social Services, some religious bodies approved by the Minister of Finance, and the Mauritius Red Cross. Also exempt are certain activities in which nonprofits engage, including the supply of medical goods and services, education and training services and materials (Value Added Tax Act No. 2 of 1998).

South Africa

Tax Legislation

The 1998 tax changes include an amendment to the exemption from tax of the receipts and accruals of all religious, charitable and educational institutions of a public character, whether or not supported wholly or partly by grants from public revenue. The exemption is now limited to the receipts and accruals of any such institution which carries on religious, charitable and educational activities in South Africa. Under the previous wording of the exemption, the receipts and accruals of foreign institutions that carry on such activities outside South Africa were exempt from income tax, regardless of the type of activity carried on in South Africa (Section 10(1)(f) Income Tax Act).

Proposed Tax Legislation

The long-awaited report of the Katz Commission has once again been delayed, but it is expected that it will be available for analysis in the next issue of IJNL.