Each month, Innovations for Successful Societies publishes an email newsletter, highlighting recently-published case studies and related interviews. To learn more about how local leaders around the globe are generating and implementing effective reforms, sign up to receive our newsletter.


April 2019


Reforming the Uganda Revenue Authority

In the early 2000s, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) faced a crisis. Even after adopting a modernized legal framework that made the agency semiautonomous---able to operate much as a business would, though still accountable to a public board---the institution remained paralyzed by corruption, outdated technologies and procedures, and a toxic organizational culture. This month's two-part case traces the steps taken to set the URA on a better path. 

Righting the Ship: Uganda Overhauls its Tax Agency, 2004-2014

In 2004, to begin righting the ship, the URA's board appointed 43-year-old Allen Kagina, who had served the agency for more than a decade, as the new commissioner general. Kagina engineered a radical overhaul that required all 2,000 URA staff members to reapply for new positions under a revamped organizational structure. A new modernization office reformed tax procedures, upgraded the URA's technology, improved anticorruption measures, strengthened the tax investigation and prosecution function, and enhanced staff capacity. At the same time, the URA began to streamline its customs procedures and improve cooperation with partner countries in the East African Community.

Bolstering Revenue, Building Fairness: Uganda Extends its Tax Reach, 2014-2018

After a decade of reforms to boost tax collection, in 2014 the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) faced up to one of its biggest remaining challenges. Large numbers of Ugandans paid nothing because they were unregistered or because inadequate compliance monitoring enabled them to underpay. The holes in the system undermined public trust and bedeviled the URA's efforts to meet the government-mandated target to raise tax revenue to 16% of gross domestic product. The URA joined other government agencies to bring millions of unregistered citizens into the tax net. At the same time, it set up operations to go after wealthy and politically connected individuals who avoided paying their full tax load, and it created a separate unit to press government departments that failed to remit to the URA the taxes they collected. The program achieved strong gains on all three fronts and thereby helped increase the country's tax-to-GDP ratio to 14.2% in the 2017-18 fiscal year from 11.3% in 2013-14. The program also made significant progress toward a fairer distribution of the tax burden for Ugandans across all economic levels.



Uganda Shilling notes. Photo from the Daily Monitor.

IBM Center for the Business of Government Publishes Responding to Global Health Crises

IBM Center for the Business of Government publishes a new version of ISS "All Hands on Deck: The US Response to West Africa's Ebola Crisis, 2014-2015." This reformatted, slightly revised version supports training at the Partnership for Public Service and other organizations.


Applying to Graduate School in the U.S.? 

Some of our readers asked us to provide some guidance and occasional schedule reminders for applying to graduate school in the United States. Here is how to prepare. 



Sign up to Receive our Monthly Newsletter

Follow us on social media

Follow us on Twitter    Like us on Facebook

Innovations for Successful Societies (ISS) is a program of Princeton University's
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 

ISS Monthly Newsletter Archive

February 2019 - Cape Town Water

January 2019 - Ethiopia Health

December 2018 - Ethiopia Tax

November 2018 - Colombia Health

October 2018 - South Africa Health

September 2018 - Rwanda Health, South Bend Smart City

August 2018- Vietnam Tax Chicago Smart City

July 2018 - Nuevo León Police

June 2018 - US Ebola Response

May 2018 - Rwanda Revenue Authority

April 2018 - Indonesia Tax

March 2018 - Human Trafficking

February 2018 - Liberia Payroll US TIGER

January 2018 - US Heirs Property

December 2017- Indonesia Land Agency

November 2017 - India Open Defecation

October 2017: Anti-Corruption Series

September 2017: Rwanda Land, Colombia Coffee

August 2017: Indonesia Corruption , Brazil Soy

July 2017: Tanzania and Australia Land

June 2017: Reforming Procurement Systems in South Africa

May 2017: Tunisia Open Government

April 2017: Liberia Ebola Response

March 2017: Land Administration

February 2017: Brazil Anti Corruption

January 2017: Property Rights & Land Administration

December 2016: Reconciling the Impossible: South Africa's Government of Unity

November 2016: The Ongoing Drive for Sustainable Cattle Ranching in Brazil

October 2016: Managing Tense Elections

September 2016: Indonesia's 2014 Presidential Transition

August 2016: Reforming Brazil's Military

July 2016: Graduates to Government: The President's Young Professionals Program In Liberia

June 2016: Delivering on Presidential Goals in the Dominican Republic

May 2016: Pockets of Effectiveness in Senegal and Indonesia

April 2016: Evaluation in Benin & Croatia Defense Reform

March 2016: Powersharing in Tunisia and Kenya

February 2016: Morocco Water, Tunisia Microfinance

January 2016: Mexico Veracruz and Ghana Presidential Transition

December 2015: Peru and Kenya Judiciaries

November 2015: Protecting Forests, Mitigating Climate Change

October 2015: Open Government Partnership

September 2015: Mexico's Presidential Transition

August 2015 Indonesia Military

July 2015: Kenya 2030 Strategy

June 2015: Calderon's Prexidency in Mexico, Anti Corruption in Luthuania

 May 2015: Bihar India Modernizing Systems to Improve Service Delivery

 April 2015: Two New Case Studies on the Philippines

 March 2015: Monitoring Kosovo's Courts 

 February 2015: Pakistan's Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program

 January 2015: ISS Announces a New Online Course

 January 2015: Reducing Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon 

December 2014: Lagos State and Vietnam: Promoting Reform at the Local Level 

November 2014: Political Transitions in Chile

October 2014: Tunisian Elections

 September 2014: Strategy Development in Serbia and Estonia

 August 2014: Strategy Development in Malayasia

 July 2014: Effective Reforms in Brazil

June 2014: Public Sector Innovation in Mexico

May 2014: Short-Route Accountability in Afghanistan

April 2014: Elections in India

March 2014: Transforming Citizen Services

February 2014: Short-Route Accountability in Indonesia & the Philippines

January 2014: Anti-Corruption Agencies

December 2013: South Africa's Transition to a Non-Racial Democracy

November 2013: Reform Leaders on Effective and Accountable Civil Service

October 2013: Improving Policy Management and Service Delivery

September 2013: Combatting Corruption and Mediating Election Conflict

 August 2013: Improving Service Delivery and Reducing Election Violence 

July 2013: Increasing Accountability and Efficiency in Civil Service

June 2013: Government Delivery Units

May 2013: Anti-Corruption Commissions

April 2013: Election Reforms in Zambia and other Countries

March 2013: Civil Service Reforms in Brazil

February 2013: Infrastructure Projects, Government Investments and Obstacles

 January 2013: Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Baltics and Nigerian Elections

December 2012: Reforming City Management in Palmero and Johannesburg

November 2012: ISS Marks 100 Case Studies

October 2012: Kenya Open Data and the Rapid Results Approach

September 2012: Cabinet Reform and Anti-Corruption Agencies

August 2012: City Management in Bangalore and Rapid Results in Madagascar

July 2012: Indonesian and Georgian Reforms

June 2012: Revenue Collection in Liberia

May 2012: Center of Government in the Batics

April 2012: Indonesian Accountability and Nigerian Electoral Reform

March 2012: Improving Government Accountability, Leading Reform

Spring 2012 Newsletter

Summer 2012 Newsletter