Nana Akua Mensah champions gender equality for African women in new UN Tax Committee role

Nana Akua Mensah

PRETORIA – Nana Akua Mensah, Tax Policy Advisor from the Ghana Revenue Authority, said her new role at the United Nations (UN) Tax Committee means it will give voice to the perspective of African women on tax and its implications on gender.

The UN tax committee has a new leadership team of 25 experts from countries including Argentina, India, Nigeria, Canada, and Germany.

The committee, formally known as the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, guides countries’ efforts to advance stronger and more forward-looking tax policies adapted to the realities of globalised trade and investment, an increasingly digitalised economy and worsening environmental degradation.

The committee assists countries in their efforts to prevent double or multiple taxation as well as non-taxation, broaden their tax base, strengthen their tax administrations, and curb international tax evasion and avoidance.

The UN chose a distinguished group of experts from around the world as members of the tax committee. What does it mean for Africa?

“The UN Tax Committee is essential in that it brings together experts from varied jurisdictions with a wide array of socio-economic cultures and tax regimes. 

Africa has always been well represented here and I believe that it provides a platform for our unique voice and perspective. There is therefore a responsibility to effect change and make an impact for Africa on the global stage through such opportunities,” Mensah added.

Mensah is also the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF)’s consultant and a member of the ATAF Women In Tax Network.

She expressed happiness and excitement in her new role.

“I am an African woman in Tax by definition and as such joining the ATAF Women in Tax Network was a natural choice. The Network offers an opportunity to interact with fellow women in tax from the continent, share experiences and learn from each other. My appointment to UN Tax Committee presents an opportunity to represent the Network, give voice to the perspective of African women on tax and its implications on gender, as well as a chance to gain further experience which can then be shared to enrich as all.”

Asked what Her role in the UN committee would be, Mensah said: “My selection to the UN tax Committee comes at an exciting time in the field of international taxation and cooperation. My background is primarily in tax treaties, tax transparency and mutual cooperation in tax matters and I hope to bring that to bear in the discussions on the taxation of the digital economy and a global minimum tax, however I look forward to assisting wherever I am needed the most while broadening my skill set by learning from the other experienced members of the committee.”

Mensah is also passionate about gender equality. She added that diversity is important in all fields because it brings a richness to discourse.

“Taxation has a huge impact on development, and it is important that women are part of the decision-making processes and the development of policy which ultimately has a significant impact on the fight for gender equality. It is not easy to be an African woman in these traditionally male spaces, but it is important that we strive and push our way here, for the development of the continent and to the benefit of future generations.”

The UN tax committee member thanked her “wonderful support system” for helping her get where she is today. “There is a lot more work ahead and I believe that African women are more than up to the challenge,” she added.

The first meeting of the new membership of the committee will take place in October 2021, during which the experts will determine the work plan for their term.

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