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Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries: Constraints and Opportunities


Intersection between Statutory Law, Customary Law, Customs and Traditions, as these affect Women in Business in Africa


July 9, 2009

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  World Bank
Washington, D.C.


Thursday, July 9      MC 7-100 

Time ActivityFacilitator/ Presenter

12:00 - 12:10

Introduction: Who’s at the table?All                                   

12:10 - 12:30

Regional Study

§ Summary Overview/Outline

§ Goals for this Meeting

Core Questions

§ Defining customary law

§ Relationship between statutory and  customary law

§ Differences between civil and common law countries

§ Multiple/overlapping legal systems and jurisdiction Issues

§ Why family law/personal law matters for business

Focus on land access and rights, with implications for access to finance
Mary Hallward-Driemeier

12:30 - 1:00

Customary Law in Africa

Overview Presentation

§ Origins & why important in Africa

§ Evolution & who determines CL?

§ Jurisdiction

§ Authority (law-making body)

§ Strengths and limitations

Gender dimensions: why so often unfavorable to women?

Lynn Khadiagala

Minneh Kane



Lunch will be available 

1:00 - 2:00

Discussion of Customary Law and Framing the Debate

§ Initial reactions to the questions raised

§ Formal rights vs. practice on the ground

Country experiences: drivers of (and resistance to) change

Mark Blackden

Grace Hemmings

Deborah Rubin



Multiple/Overlapping Legal Systems and Jurisdiction Issues, including discussion of religious law

§ Statutory recognition of customary law

§ Relationship between statutory and customary law (visualize this?)

§ Differences between civil law and common law countries

§ How is jurisdiction determined, and by whom?

§ Link between business/entrepreneurship and family law

Practical solutions: how do women address (circumvent) these issues in practice

Sandra Joireman

Mary Osirim

3:00 - 3:30

Land Access and Rights

§ Title, Ownership, Inheritance

§  Implications for access to finance and collateral-based banking

Lynn Khadiagala

3:30 - 4:00

Summing Up: Next Steps for the Regional Study

§ Country examples: positive change and resistance to change

§ Identifying principles for strengthening women’s legal and economic rights within these systems (policy messages)

Areas for further research
Mary Hallward-Driemeier

External Advisors

Sandra JoiremanWomen’s Property Rights/Common Law
Grace Hemmings

Anthropology/Culture/West Africa

Mary Osirim

Women & Entrepreneurship in Africa

Lynn Khadiagala

Women’s Land Rights/Uganda

Deborah RubinCultural Issues

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