Legal Mechanisms to Encourage Development Partnerships

Country Reports: Sub-Saharan Africa

The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 1, Issue 1, September 1998

Cameroon; South Africa; Tanzania


Framework Legislation

The Cameroonian Government has recently prepared a draft law containing proposed amendments to the existing Loi sur la Liberté d’Association of 19 December 1990. The proposed amendments would create a technical commission, which would be responsible for the registration and oversight of development NGOs, as specially defined in the new legislation. These organizations would be subject to a new legislative regime requiring that they enter into an agreement regarding their operations in order to be registered. They would receive certain tax benefits and access to state subventions if they are duly registered.

The Ministry of Public Investments and Territorial Development (MINPAT) has requested comments from the World Bank on the proposed legislation and a task force is being formed to prepare those comments prior to the submission of the law to the National Assembly in November.

A new NGO Coalition is being formed in Cameroon, and it is expected that this new group will influence the choice of the NGOs to be represented in the new technical commission that will oversee development NGOs. The Coalition is also expected to represent the NGO community on other policy issues requiring civil society input.

ICNL’s Complete catalog of documents for Cameroon can be found here!



Tax Legislation

A workshop on proposed tax legislation was held on September 7, 1998 in Cape Town. The invitees included members of three Portfolio Committees of the Parliament and various lawyers and NGO leaders. The workshop was convened by the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), the Southern African Association of Grantmakers (SAGA), and CAF-South Africa. The purpose was to discuss proposed changes in the tax laws presently applicable to NGOs and their donors in South Africa. ICNL provided written submissions for the workshop. The report will be forthcoming.

A report from the Katz Commission on tax preferences for the NGO sector should be forthcoming shortly. The Subcommittee charged with preparing it is in the final stages of completing the document for submission to the Commission. It is expected that the report will recommend broadening the availability of tax exemptions for NGOs and the scope of tax deductibility for contributions to them. For further information about the report (once it is made public), please contact Zane Dangor at DRC or Richard Rosenthal, Esquire

For a complete listing of Documents the ICNL has in its documentation center on South Africa, Click Here!



1. Framework Legislation:

The NGO Policy Process is moving forward. After a second National Workshop, which was held in Dar Es Salaam in February 1998, the latest Draft of the Policy has been amended to take into account the participants’ comments on the Second and Third Drafts. The elected Steering Committee has held three meetings to discuss the plan of work and to agree to the latest draft of the Policy, which will be circulated (in Swahili and English) and discussed at seven Zonal Workshops. The plans for drafting the proposed legislation are moving forward simultaneously, with a three-person Legislative Drafting Team having been appointed by the Steering Committee. It is expected that the final National Workshop on the Policy and the legislation will be held in Dar Es Salaam in November.

Issues under consideration include the following:

  • the need for a new or revitalized “coordinating” mechanism for NGOs within the government;
  • the need for a self-regulatory body for NGOs (presently proposed as a National NGO Forum or Council) to develop a Code of Conduct for NGOs;
  • the need for better access to resources (including tax incentives) so that NGOs can become more self-sustaining; and
  • the need for a new legislative environment that is both clearer and more fair then the current cumbersome system.

Further information on the NGO Policy Process can be obtained by contacting Mr. Khalfan Khalfan, Chair of the Steering Committee and Chair of ANGOZA (255 54) 31 703 (tel and fax) or Mr. Estomih Mushi, National NGO Coordinator (255 51) 11 06 14 (tel) 11 76 27 (fax).

2. Tax Legislation:

In the 1998/99 Finance Act adopted in August 1998, changes favorable to NGOs were made in the Value Added Tax Law adopted in 1997. The Tanzania Revenue Authority is presently working on rules to implement these changes and NGO participation has been invited.

For a complete listing of the Documents ICNL has in its documentation center on Tanzania, Click Here!