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This week’s Special Feature provides a deep dive into alcohol taxation in Ghana and Africa – and
why it’s urgently needed and the successes that pave the way.
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Alcohol Issues Special Feature – No. 42

Alcohol Taxation in Ghana and Africa

Why it’s urgently needed and successes that pave the way

Ghana recently was able to overcome heavy alcohol industry opposition and succeeded in adopting an alcohol excise tax increase.
How did that happen and what are the lessons for other African countries?

Civil society advocacy efforts for proper alcohol taxation in Ghana

In early 2020, Movendi International members together with the Ghana NCD Alliance began their advocacy campaign for alcohol taxation.

They stepped up their campaign on World Alcohol-Free Day in October 2020 when communities across Ghana renewed their calls for the government to protect Ghanaians’ right to health and development by improving alcohol laws, such as an evidence-based alcohol tax. 

And in the end of October 2020, they began targeting the budget cycle with concrete proposals to increase taxes on health harmful products, including alcohol, tobacco and sugar sweetened beverages in the upcoming 2021 budget in order to better prevent NCDs and help promote development for all.

The potential of alcohol taxation across African countries

Botswana is the country in Africa that led the way in using public health oriented alcohol excise taxes to tackle a public health crisis and raise government revenue.

In Lesotho and Nigeria, the World Bank has provided analysis and advise on alcohol tax increases. And in Ghana, the IMF has called for an alcohol tax increase.

In recent years, lower-middle-income countries such as LesothoZimbabweNigeriaGhana, and the Philippines have all begun exploring alcohol tax increases as well.

More international organizations are also stepping up their work to support governments in using the potential of evidence-based alcohol taxes to unlock triple benefits for people and societies.

In November 2022, a brand new initiative was launches to address the neglected global health crisis of alcohol harm. The RESET Alcohol Initiative is a $15 million initiative that will work in fifteen countries primarily in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to partner with governments, civil society, and academia to advance high-impact alcohol policy solutions, especially alcohol taxation.

World class science shows the impact of alcohol taxes

In 2023 alone, several research projects brought new understanding to the multiple positive effects and the potential of increasing alcohol excise taxes.

How alcohol taxation works – multiple benefits

Compelling evidence shows the benefits of alcohol taxation, for example as remedy after the pandemic, as solution to improve economic growth and productivity, and as a triple-win solution helping to achieve development for all.


The Alcohol Issues Podcast

In-depth conversations with policy makers, community leaders and scientists, driving the global discourse about 21st century alcohol policy solutions 

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