On June 23, the Harvard Law School International Tax Program joined with the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witswatersrand, and the University of South Africa in establishing the Southern African Tax Institute in a ceremony at the University of Pretoria. The event, which featured speeches from South African Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel and Eric Zolt, director of the International Tax Program and chair of SATI’s executive committee, was attended by more than 200 participants, instructors and members of the diplomatic and donor communities. Harvard President Lawrence Summers and Law School Dean Robert Clark provided taped remarks welcoming the participants and guests.

“There is no area in the world with a greater need for qualified tax policy and tax administration officials,” said Zolt. “A stable revenue source is a necessary element for economic and political development. Countries require a well-designed and administered tax system to provide the revenue necessary to finance essential government services and to attract domestic and foreign investment.”

SATI seeks to provide training, research, and technical assistance in the areas of tax policy and tax administration in southern Africa. From June 24 through July 27, SATI has been offering courses on comparative tax policy and administration, public finance and economics of taxation, tax analysis and revenue forecasting, international taxation and value-added taxation. More than 70 government tax officials from 14 countries are participating in these courses.

Funding for SATI was provided by the British Council’s Department for International Development, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Harvard Law School through a grant from the Zolt-Gilburne Foundation.

The International Tax Program provides future fiscal leaders and tax policy advisors from countries around the world with interdisciplinary graduate education in taxation. The program considers the legal, economic, and administrative aspects of taxation in the context of a country’s economic and social development.

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