Welcome to our Unifiedpost Group website! We, and third parties, use cookies on our websites. We use them to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage and assist in our marketing efforts. You can read more about our cookies and change your preferences by clicking on ‘Change my settings'. By clicking on 'Accept all cookies’, you agree to the use of all cookies as described in our Privacy cookie policy.
Compliance and Regulations

Electronic invoicing and reporting in Africa

April 18, 2024

Due to the remarkable advancements in revenue generation and economic transparency seen in countries implementing Continuous Transaction Control (CTC) systems, African countries are increasingly joining their European and Asian counterparts in shifting from post-audit regulations to embracing CTC-inspired methodologies.

In recent times, there has been an emerging trend toward the digitalisation of tax enforcement across various African countries, with a notable transition from traditional paper-based invoicing to electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) systems. Even though paper invoicing remains common in Africa, the new CTC trend that some countries in the region are adopting will surely encourage other countries to follow suit.

Among the countries leading the adoption of the CTC trend, notable examples include Tunisia, which introduced a CTC regime in 2016, and Egypt, which has recently implemented an e-invoicing mandate within a CTC scheme. In parallel, several other countries have begun, or are in the process of, digitalising tax enforcement through mandates of certified fiscal devices that report data to the tax authority in real-time or near real-time, such as Kenya, Uganda and Angola.

To understand the continent’s electronic invoicing landscape, take a look at the countries split by geographical region and explore each region’s common regulation trends.

North Africa

The Northern African countries are either far away from mandatory electronic invoicing regulations, or are making great strides. Let’s take a look at the two countries making the most strides in the area, Egypt and Tunisia.

E-invoicing in Egypt is mandatory for both business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions. The Egyptian tax authority introduced a mandatory clearance e-invoicing framework via a gradual roll-out plan which started in November 2020, and was finalised in 2023 to include the majority of Egyptian businesses. According to the legislation all invoices must be transmitted to the tax authority in real-time before being sent to the customer. The issued e-invoices should contain the issuer’s electronic signature and a unified code for the goods or service.

Egypt's e-invoicing regulations are part of a country-wide sustainability and future growth agenda outlined in 'Egypt Vision 2030'. Mandatory electronic invoicing aims to tackle the country’s economic challenges and encourage the uptake of business digitalisation and future-proofing business financial processes.

Tunisia stands out as the second notable North African country, due to its maturity in e-invoicing regulations.

In 2016, Tunisia was the first African country to mandate B2G and B2B electronic invoicing. The country uses the CTC model and invoices must be registered on the Tunisie TradeNet platform (TTN).

South Africa

Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are four South African countries that are moving towards mandatory e-invoicing, each at different stages of implementation.

Lesotho and Zambia have both announced their plans to mandate B2G and B2B electronic invoicing. Regulation dates are yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is already over one year into its regulation journey, which started in 2022. The country requires all electronic invoices to be submitted via e-tax devices, more commonly known as Electronic Tax Registers (ETRs). Once a business submits its invoices to the device, the device sends the relevant transactional data to ZIMRA - Zimbabwe’s tax authority.

Finally, South Africa is on a slightly different path. The country is one of the first African countries to have specifically regulated, accepted and adopted the use of e-invoicing. As a result, electronic invoicing is quite common in the country, though it is not part of any regulation. Businesses are free to send and receive electronic invoices via the country’s electronic data interchange (EDI) system, but apart from the voluntary use, no required dates are on the roadmap.

East Africa

There are plenty of countries in East Africa with interesting electronic invoicing and reporting developments.

For example, an electronic tax register system was introduced in Kenya, mandating all VAT registered taxpayers to have an e-tax register installed by the 1st of August 2021. The e-tax register is an electronic tax invoice or receipt system that is maintained and used in accordance with the VAT (Electronic Tax Invoice) regulations. The e-tax register integrates with the Tax Invoice Management System (TIMS) – an invoicing system that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is currently implementing. Kenya set a regulation deadline date of the 1st of January 2024, from which date all taxpayers must report their electronic invoices via the new eTIMS (electronic Tax Invoice Management System), a software solution developed for tax invoicing.

Several other East African countries have implemented or are in the process of implementing electronic invoicing systems to enhance tax compliance. Businesses in Rwanda, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda all use similar devices to that of Zimbabwe's to report VAT to each of their tax authorities:

  • Rwanda has adopted a certified invoicing system requiring e-invoices to be issued through Electronic Billing Machines.
  • Tanzanian businesses use virtual fiscal devices to report on their VAT in real-time.
  • Businesses in Mauritius must use electronic tax devices for recording transactions.
  • Ugandan businesses must send their electronic invoices to the tax authority via electronic fiscal devices.

West Africa

In West Africa there are some common themes among the e-invoicing mandates in countries such as Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, many of which have already started their e-invoicing regulation journey:

  • Benin started in 2020.
  • Cape Verde completed its staged approach in 2022.
  • Niger has mandated electronic invoices since 2021.

Ghana’s e-invoicing journey began in October 2022, and all phases aim to be completed in 2024. Ghana's tax authority, introduced the E-VAT system. The E-VAT system is a clearance based system, where invoices are first validated by the GRA (Ghana Revenue Authority). Upon validation, each invoice is assigned a unique code called the "sales data controller" (SDC), which includes a timestamp and a QR code. This SDC code must then be incorporated into the PDF invoice sent to the customer.

Just like many countries around the globe, the West African countries have typically opted for a staged approach to their mandates, dependent on a business’ annual turnover. Additionally, most of the countries mentioned mandate the submission of electronic invoices to the tax authority’s clearance platform.

A different approach can be seen in Nigeria. Nigeria’s e-invoicing landscape is all about automation. The country aims to automate tax management, which will be helped by all taxpayers having to report their transactions electronically. Taxpayers utilise the Automated Tax Administration System (ATAS) to electronically submit their transactions to the tax authority for VAT compliance. Moreover, starting from February 2022, all import and export activities necessitate an authorised e-invoice adhering to the format mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Central Africa

We end our journey around Africa in the central countries of Angola, Chad and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. There aren’t any common themes between these three central African countries. Each opts for a slightly different approach when it comes to their electronic invoicing and reporting regulations:

  • Since 2019, Angola’s tax authority, Administraçao Geral Tributária (AGT) has collected SAF-T requirements through a central system.
  • Chad has a somewhat unique approach compared to that of many mandates, where VAT reports must be submitted electronically via email. This mandate began in 2022.
  • Finally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is just beginning its digitalisation journey. Via a staged approach, local taxpayers must submit their VAT reporting electronically.

Exploring existing and upcoming mandates around the rest of the globe

Even in the one continent of Africa, the mandates and business requirements vary across a wide spectrum. While some countries are very advanced in their e-invoicing adoption, others have yet to incorporate any form of regulation in their roadmap.

It can be challenging to stay on top of the regulations from every country, which is why experts, such as our experts at Unifiedpost Group, are here to help. We keep track of developments and emerging changes from countries all over the world, so that you don’t have to. You can easily find the top-level information you need on each country, and dive deeper if you require.

To start, download our Global 2024 E-invoicing guide to gain a snapshot of existing and upcoming e-invoicing and e-reporting developments. Plus, follow us on LinkedIn for more timely and important updates.

Stay up to date

Tax compliance and electronic invoicing regulations

Stay up to date with the every changing world that is global tax compliance and e-invoicing regulations. Sign up to our monthly newsletter for new mandates, expert interviews and the latest webinars.

Thank you! Your message has been sent successfully.
Something went wrong. Please make sure all the fields are filled in correctly.
Subscribe now

Sign up today

Sign up to our free email newsletter and be the first to know about tax compliance and e-invoicing changes around the world.

Thank you! Your message has been sent successfully.
Something went wrong. Make sure all fields are field in correctly.
Subscribe now

Sign up today

Sign up to our free email newsletter and be the first to know about tax compliance and e-invoicing changes around the world.

Thank you! Your message has been sent successfully.
Something went wrong. Make sure all fields are field in correctly.