Weekly digest for 28 May 2021


This week’s main story is a brief summary of the status of Value Added Tax (VAT) across Africa.

  • Kenya: Non-resident digital businesses are required to pay 16% VAT. For example, Netflix in Kenya increased its prices to account for the payment of VAT. Kenya also has a digital services tax of 1.5% for non-resident businesses, but it’s not clear how that would be collected if the business does not have a physical presence in Kenya.
  • Zimbabwe: e-Commerce services provided outside of Zimbabwe are subject to both VAT and an income tax of 5% on turnover (though how this income tax would be collected is unclear).
  • South Africa: Non-resident businesses are required to charge VAT of 16%. The revenue threshold for charging VAT is around $70,000.
  • Angola: Non-resident companies are required to pay 14% VAT but since many credit cards in Angola are from Portugal (i.e., not locally supplied), it’s unclear how this VAT would be collected.
  • Cameroon: Non-resident digital companies must charge VAT of 19.35%.
  • There are proposals for VAT to be introduced on digital services in Zambia, Nigeria and Algeria.
  • Ghana: The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation has confirmed that SIM re-registration will take place starting in late June and ending in December 2021.
  • Ethiopia: The Global Partnership for Ethiopia has won a mobile license. The Partnership is a consortium including¬†Safaricom, Vodafone Group, Vodacom Group, CDC Group and Sumitomo Corporation. The winning bid was for $850 million, out-bidding MTN’s rival offer of $650 million.
  • South Africa: ICASA has extended the temporary allocation of spectrum as a result of COVID-19 once again until the end of August 2021. The hope of a resolution of the High Demand Spectrum allocation this year seems to be fading.
  • Nigeria: In a sign of increasing chaos over SIM registration, the Nigerian Communications Commission has had to refute reports that it is collecting mobile phone IMEI numbers (the unique numbers associated with a specific mobile phone). It seems that IMEI numbers might bolster the national identity numbers and bank registration numbers that are currently being used but rollout has been slow.
  • South Africa: Liquid has finished rolling out a fibre cable from Cape Town to Durban, a total of 1,822 km’s. MTN is the anchor tenant on the cable.