10 African Countries Leading the Way in Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation

In recent years, there has been a significant expansion in the use of SSB tax policies internationally. Sugary beverage tariffs are currently applied in 106 countries and territories, accounting for 52% of the global population. This global trend demonstrates the rising acceptance of SSB levies as a legitimate strategy for encouraging healthy consumption patterns and improving public health.

Sugar-sweetened drinks (SSB) have emerged as a key topic in global public health discussions. As worries about obesity and related health risks grow, governments are increasingly turning to SSB levies to reduce sugar consumption and generate income.

These taxes are especially important in Africa, where many nations are implementing aggressive budgetary policies to address health concerns and strengthen their economies. Using data from the World Bank’s Global SSB Tax Database, below is a list of African countries that are leading the way in sugar-sweetened beverage taxation.

1. Mauritania

80% for mineral waters, 60% for yogurt and other sweetened dairy products. Mauritania is the African country with the highest tariff on sugar-sweetened beverages, especially affecting mineral waters and sweetened dairy products.

2. Burkina Faso

50% on energy drinks and 15% on other sugary beverages. Burkina Faso’s high levy on energy drinks is a bold attempt to curb excessive sugar intake among its citizens.

3. Rwanda

39% on lemonade, soda, and other non-natural juices; 10% on industrially packaged mineral water; and 5% on natural fruit and vegetable juices. Rwanda’s tiered tax scheme seeks to find a compromise between generating money and encouraging healthy beverage choices.

4. Tunisia

Tunisia imposes an SSB tax of 25% on sugar-sweetened drinks, 10% on cocoa-based preparations, and 40% on concentrates. Tunisia’s numerous tax rates represent a comprehensive attempt to reducing sugar consumption across multiple beverage categories.

5. Ethiopia

The SSB tax rate is 25% on sugar-sweetened drinks, soft drink powders, and non-alcoholic beer, and 10% on unsweetened waters. Ethiopia’s tax policy targets a variety of sugary beverages, including non-alcoholic beer and soft drink powders.

6. Cameroon

5% on carbonated beverages, with an extra excise charge of 2.5 CFA francs per centilitre ($0.4125 per litre) on imported non-alcoholic beverages. Cameroon’s tax scheme not only targets carbonated beverages, but also imposes additional taxes on imported non-alcoholic beverages.

7. Zimbabwe

Carbonated unsweetened waters are taxed at 25%, whereas energy drinks are taxed at $0.05 per liter. Zimbabwe’s unique strategy includes charging carbonated, unsweetened waters in order to reduce overall sugar consumption.

8. Ghana

20% for aerated waters with added sugar, energy drinks, and fruit juices; 17.5% for plain distilled bottled water. Ghana’s tax policy goes beyond sugary beverages, imposing a hefty levy on plain bottled water.

9. Côte d’Ivoire

20% off all sugar-sweetened drinks. Côte d’Ivoire’s simple tax rate applies consistently to all sugary beverages, making it easy to manage and enforce.

10. Benin

Benin’s SSB tax rate is 20% on energy drinks, imported fruit juices, and mineral waters, and 7% on all other non-alcoholic beverages, with the exception of non-carbonated mineral water. Benin’s tax regime differentiates between imported and locally manufactured beverages, with the former subject to a higher tax rate.

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