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How to Strengthen Resource Mobilization for SDGs in Africa



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and Nominee for African Arbitrator of the Year 2022. He is invited as a Guest Speaker at East African International Arbitration Conference 2022 to speak on the theme: Resettling for the New Age of Arbitration in Africa: Climate Change, Global Partnerships & Sustainable Development.*

The unveiling of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 meant that most developing countries would have to step up their efforts to raise domestic resources to finance needed domestic investment as support from development partners and private sector investors would not be enough. While there are various external mechanisms of funding that are available to countries for exploitation, there is a need for African countries such as Kenya to enhance their domestic resources mobilization mechanisms. Indeed, this is acknowledged by the UNCTAD which points out that ‘strengthening domestic public resource mobilization is crucial for Governments in financing national sustainable development strategies and implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

In addition, the particular role of fiscal revenues in public resource mobilization lies in their greater stability and predictability compared to other sources of long-term finance. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, for low-income countries, average domestic taxes would have to increase by about 5 percentage points if they were to meet the SDGs in five key areas (education, health, roads, electricity, and water), with the financing needed in sub-Saharan Africa being larger given their development level. It is also worth pointing out that investment in human, social, and physical capital, are at the core of sustainable and inclusive growth and represent an important share of national budgets—specifically, education, health, roads, electricity, and water and sanitation.

IMF estimates that delivering on the SDG agenda will require additional spending in 2030 of US$0.5 trillion for low-income developing countries and US$2.1 trillion for emerging market economies. To achieve this, IMF points out that countries themselves own the responsibility for achieving the SDGs, especially through reforms to foster sustainable and inclusive growth that will in turn generate the tax revenue needed, and their efforts should focus on strengthening macroeconomic management, combating corruption and improving governance, strengthening transparency and accountability, and fostering enabling business environments.

Combating Corruption

Arguably, domestic revenues can lead to improved development only if they are translated into productive and beneficial public expenditure. Thus, it is not only revenue collection that is important but also revenue expenditure. There is a need to strengthen institutions charged with combating corruption as well as strengthening the oversight measures across all sectors in order to prevent corruption. This is because corruption elimination cannot be a one-institution affair. It must involve all stakeholders of good will as well as political good will from all governance institutions in both public and private sectors. This is the only way to not only ensure that revenues or development resources are raised but are also well utilized towards achieving development goals and empowering citizens to be productive and meaningful participants in the development agenda.

Capacity-Building in Revenue Collection and Management

It has been argued that increasing tax revenues in low-income countries is essential to address future development finance requirements. It has been argued that under different conditions, the policies and reforms associated with aid may increase revenue, through promoting growth, encouraging more efficient tax structures, or supporting reforms to tax administration. Some of the ways through which the World Bank Group is seeking to help developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa mobilize domestic resources fairly and efficiently include: focusing on administering value-added taxes, removing cost-ineffective tax expenditures, increasing excise taxation, improving property taxation, and closing international tax loopholes for multinationals and wealthy individuals. This is because Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest number of economies below the minimum desirable tax-to-GDP ratio of 15%.

Mobilizing tax revenue is considered to be key if developing countries are to finance the investments in human capital, health and infrastructure necessary to achieve the World Bank Group’s goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity by 2030. The World Bank observes that relatively low tax collections in the Sub-Saharan Africa region reflect weaknesses in revenue management, including widespread tax exemptions, corruption, and shortfalls in the capacity of tax and customs administrations. It proposes that most African economies can mobilize more in taxes through: better tax administration (including value-added taxes); broadening the tax base by removing cost-ineffective tax expenditures; increasing excise taxes (including on alcohol, tobacco, and soft drinks); introducing efficient carbon-pricing policies and effective property taxation while and closing international tax loopholes that permit aggressive tax avoidance and evasion by multinationals and wealthy individuals; and reducing structural bottlenecks to improve revenue outcomes; improving taxpayers’ trust; and by moving tax administrations to the digital frontier.

Kenya has been taking some steps towards moving tax administration to the digital frontier through such steps as the i-tax platform as well as the introduction of the Digital Service Tax (DST) (that is, Digital Service Tax and Value Added Tax on Digital Marketplace Supply), tax payable on income (gross transaction value) derived or accrued in Kenya from services offered through a digital marketplace. While some key issues have been raised in relation to such measures as the digital service tax, it is a commendable step towards increasing domestic resource mobilization which will hopefully move the country towards reducing its over-reliance on external debts to finance the budget. Notably, the introduction of digital services tax in Kenya follows in the footsteps of such countries as France, India, Singapore, United Kingdom, among others.

The Tax authorities in Kenya may also need to work more towards looping in the informal economy into the tax payment bracket in order to increase its annual collection.81 However, tax measures ought to take into account the rising cost of living and the government should thus make efforts towards ensuring that tax on basic commodities does not affect the poor so much but also continually work towards creating job opportunities for the sake of raising purchasing power as well as having a bigger number of citizens affording and paying taxes.

Trade and Investment for Domestic Resource Mobilization

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that international trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and an important means to achieve the SDGs. 83 There is a need for increases in long-term and high-quality investments which the United Nations argues will lead to a sustainable rise in economic growth, with additional public and private investment and financing required to meet the large investment needs associated with the SDGs, particularly in infrastructure.

Cooperation between National and County Governments

It is worth pointing out that the role of subnational governments in mobilizing revenue as well as in spending on service provision should be part of the broad domestic resource mobilization agenda. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for a system of devolved government wherein each of the 47 county governments is required to work closely with the National Government in resource mobilization and service provision. There is need to address the corruption issues, huge wage bill as well as working with the private sector in growing the investments portfolio to create job opportunities and put the allocated funds to proper use.

The Public Private Partnerships Act, 2013 which was enacted to provide for the participation of the private sector in the financing, construction, development, operation, or maintenance of infrastructure or development projects of the Government through concession or other contractual arrangements; the establishment of the institutions to regulate, monitor and supervise the implementation of project agreements on infrastructure or development projects and for connected purposes together with other Government initiatives and measures such as the Government Support Measures Policy Document 2018 can go a long way in creating the necessary framework in boosting active participation of the private sector in domestic resource mobilization for the realization of the sustainable development goals and Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint. While the public sector remains the dominant funding and financing source of social investment, there is potential for additional private capital flows into SDG sectors, provided there is greater clarity on invested assets and project incentives.

*This article is an extract from the Article “Resource Mobilization for Sustainable Development in Kenya by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.


Muigua, K., Resource Mobilization for Sustainable Development in Kenya,” (KMCO, 2021), Available at: (accessed on 15th June 2022).

News & Analysis

Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

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News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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