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Preparing for Carbon Taxes in Africa


About This Course

The Eastern and Western Africa Alliances on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance have teamed to offer a new online course focused on carbon taxes for policy analysts and policy makers in their respective member countries. The course will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the basic principles of carbon tax choice, design, and deployment with an emphasis on applications in the Africa context. The course will offer recorded lectures, insights from Africa’s leading practitioners in the field, and case studies from across the globe.

Slowing and adapting to climate change presents an enormous challenge for the world and even more for Africa. Carbon Pricing is one of nations’ most important tools to reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon taxes provide one approach to carbon pricing. Listen to this brief perspective from the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

This on-demand carbon tax course is designed for policymakers in Eastern and West Africa Alliance countries to develop a foundational understanding of what carbon taxes are and how these instruments may be leveraged to achieve national greenhouse gas emission mitigation goals and other objectives.

The broad objectives of the course are for participants to:

    • Learn the vocabulary, concepts, and mechanics of carbon taxes;
    • Compare carbon taxes’ relative strengths and weaknesses to other policy instruments;
    • Evaluate the suitability of carbon taxes for their own jurisdictions;
    • Identify the decisions that need to be taken in designing a carbon tax, the broad options available in each case, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each;
    • Evaluate carbon tax design options from the perspective of their own jurisdiction’s objectives and circumstances;
    • Identify the main governance requirements for implementing a given carbon tax design and evaluate the suitability of different governance arrangements;
    • Start locating the data that would allow a preliminary evaluation of a carbon tax for their jurisdictions; and
    • Place concepts of the course in the political, legal, and economic context of their jurisdictions.

The course will be organized around six modules:

  1. Why Carbon Taxes? A module focused on basic economic concepts, the range of policy instruments to address climate change and how they compare.
  2. Preparing for Carbon Tax Design. A module to examine the steps of carbon tax design, identification of objectives (e.g. greenhouse gas emission mitigation, revenue raising, and/or co-benefits), important country-specific factors, and broad design principles.
  3. Basics of Carbon Tax Design. A module to review the process of setting the tax base and rate, including a review of potential design approaches.
  4. Addressing Carbon Tax Effects. A module to assess co-benefits of carbon taxes as well as potential negative secondary effects, how to design a carbon tax to account for both, and handling of revenues raised from the carbon tax.
  5. Carbon Tax Modeling. A module to explore potential approaches to modeling the economic impacts of carbon taxes.
  6. Implementation and Evaluation A module to consider institutional design issues, dynamic rollout, MRV (monitoring, reporting, and verification), and communications, as well as the importance of carbon tax performance evaluation in the years following implementation, the organization of reviews, and adjustments.


Each module will include one recorded session for each of the six modules. Participants will also complete background reading and will apply each module by completing assignments designed to help them better understand the implications of the course with particular applications to their home countries.

During the recorded lectures, participants will hear from guest speakers who have real-world experience in developing and implementing carbon taxes.

Course Staff

Dr Kenneth Richards

Dr. Kenneth Richards is a professor of economics, law and sustainability at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University.

Emily Giovanni

Ms. Emily Giovanni is a Senior Consultant for Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute.

Ken and Emily have worked extensively in carbon pricing and environmental taxes for the World Bank and collaborated with governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to analyze and design carbon taxes and related instruments.

How can I get started?

This course is on-demand and asynchronous. You can get started today by registering and enrolling in the course.

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