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African Nations Rally For UN Tax Treaty After Facing Pushback

By Kevin Pinner · 2023-11-16 18:45:01 -0500 ·

African diplomats are rallying support for a global tax convention at the United Nations, they said Thursday, after a group of mostly wealthy countries blocked their resolution from being adopted, likely forcing a vote next week.

The African Group at the U.N. put forward a resolution last week calling for the convention, but a number of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries blocked it from passing Wednesday, Mujahid A. Umar, counselor at Nigeria's U.N. mission, told Law360 on Thursday. The U.S., the U.K., Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union blocked the resolution, according to Umar. Half of the EU and all the others are members of the OECD.

Chola Milambo, chair of the African Group, appealed to the OECD and the EU on Thursday to support the text but also said he's confident it will pass the General Assembly next week regardless.

"This convention is not just a fiscal tool; it is a lifeline to millions who aspire for better health care, education and a life of dignity. Your support is crucial in turning this vision into a reality," Milambo said in a statement on behalf of the African Group during a virtually broadcast briefing at the U.N.

Ambassadors from Nigeria, Eritrea, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Guinea also attended the briefing. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, U.N. ambassador for Nigeria, recalled how the African Group reached agreement last November with the U.S. while shepherding a call for the U.N.'s leadership to consider a global tax convention through the General Assembly.

"During the negotiation, they were hard on certain things, but at the end of the day, they looked at the totality of the picture and supported it," Muhammad-Bande, former president of the General Assembly, said during the briefing. "We are expecting others to do the same."

The African Group tabled its first draft Oct. 11 and proposed a revised version, which Umar shared with Law360, last week.

--Editing by Roy LeBlanc.

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