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Law, Custom and the Investment Climate for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Law, Custom and the Investment Climate for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, November 16-17, 2009


Workshop Agenda (Provisional Oct 27)

Monday, November 16     

Time ActivityDiscussion Leaders/ Resource Persons

8:30- 9:00
9:00- 9:30


Welcome and opening remarks

John Zutt

(World Bank, Country Director for Kenya)                                

9:30 - 10:15

Session I: “Expanding Economic Opportunities for Women in Africa”

Overview of World Bank Regional Study 

¡   Presentation of findings; identification of gaps

¡   Aims of Workshop and Roles of Participants
Mary Hallward-Driemeier
(World Bank)

10:15 - 11:00

Presentation of the Gender, Law and Business Database

¡   Data sources and topics covered

¡   Principal findings

Issues raised

Ms. Jane Kamangu

(World Bank)


Ms. Emilia Lobti

(World Bank)


11:00- 11:30

Coffee/ Tea Break 

11:30 - 12:30

Session II: Navigating Different Legal Systems

What is the relationship between customary law and statutory law?  How does it affect women’s economic rights?

¡   Constitutional and statutory recognition of customary law

¡   Which prevails?  Who decides? (legal and practical considerations)

¡   “Repugnancy test”: implications for application of customary law.

¡   Importance of religious laws for business: Sharia and the protection of the economic rights of women.

¡   Trends in courts’ treatment of customary law

Implications for equality of women’s economic rights

Dr. Winnie Kamau

(Law Faculty, University of Nairobi, Kenya)


Mr. George Ochichi

(Law Faculty, University of Moi, Kenya)


Moza Jadeed (Private Consultant)



1:30 - 2:30

Session III: Securing Women’s Property Rights and Access to Productive Resources and Finance

Family Law

¡   Importance of family law for business.

¡   Ownership and distribution of property during marriage, upon divorce, or death of a spouse (matrimonial regimes).

¡   Discriminatory provisions in family laws with respect to the right to control and dispose of family and matrimonial property. 

¡   Implications for control of resources, collateral and access to finance

Ms. Tinyande Kachika (Malawi)


Ms. Regina Mutyaba (Uganda)


Dr Wahome Gakuru

(Equity Bank, Kenya)

2:30 - 3:30

Land laws:

¡   Statutory and customary challenges in ownership, access, management, use, and disposal of land for business purposes.

¡   Strengths and limitations of tenure systems (communal vs. individual). Statutory recognition of communal land tenure systems and gender-based inequality in provisions and practices governing land ownership and use.

¡   Challenges of using clan land or family land as collateral. 

¡   Alternative forms of collateral; alternative forms of financing

Honorable Lady Justice Margaret Oguli

(High Court, Uganda)


Ms. Justine Mirembe (Rwanda)


Ms. Utti Mwang'amba (Tanzania)



Coffe/ Tea Break 


Labor laws: Employment regulations and practices

¡   Review of national labor laws.

¡   “Protective restrictions on female employment.”

¡   Maternity/family leave and other provisions.

Labor market Discrimination: Equal Rights to work and pay.
Ms. Gloria Ndekei

4:45- 5:30

Business regulations: Gender blind, but gender neutral?

¡   Registering a business; obtaining licenses and permits; enforcing contracts; engaging in cross-border trade

¡   Time and costs of compliance

Interactions with officials: how big a constraint are harassment and/or unofficial payments?  Are women softer targets?
Ms. Mavis MacCarthy

5:30- 6:00

Summary Discussion of Issues Raised During the Day 

Emerging Themes for Group Work on the Second Day 


Group Dinner 

Tuesday, November 17     

Time Activity                                            Discussion Leaders/ Resource Persons

9:00- 10:00

Session IV: Business Decision-Making: Opportunities and Constraints

Voices of Women Entrepreneurs

¡   Key challenges – gender dimensions?

¡   Strategies for addressing constraints

¡   Effects of customs in practice

¡   Cultural views about women as successful business people or entrepreneurs

Implications for business opportunities, networking, market access.

Mr. Ben Kiragu

(Head of Enterprise Development, Kenya Gatsby Trust) (to be confirmed)


Ms. Winnie Gitau


10:00- 11:00

Advocacy, Women’s Organizations, Women’s Voices in Public-Private Dialogue

¡   Participation of women in business institutions and policy making

¡   Gender issues in public-private dialogue (PPD) 

¡   Effective advocacy for judicial, legal and business regulation reforms

Dr. Maggie Kigozi

(Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority)


Ms. Eva Muraya

(Vital Voices and Kenya Association of Women Business Owners)


Ms. Marilyn Nguemo

(Strategies!, Cameroon)

11:00 - 11:30

Coffee/ Tea Break

11:30- 12:30

Session V: Access to Commercial Justice

Alternative dispute resolution

¡   Relationship with traditional justice systems.

¡   Jurisdictional issues.

¡   Process challenges: time, costs, procedural requirements, language barriers.

¡   Small claim courts/ mechanisms.

Women’s presence/voice in the legal system.

Ms. Jane Kiragu

(Satima Consultants, Kenya)


Mr. Michael Murungi

(National Council for Law Reporting, Kenya)


12:30 - 1:00

Discussion of Issues Raised


Lunch Break

2:00 - 3:30

Session VI: Toward a Gender- Responsive Business Environment

Group Work on Law, Property Rights and Business. 

Groups Organized to discuss an action agenda around:

Family Law and Business  /  Land Rights and Business  /  Labor and Employment  /  Intersections between Statute and Custom

Key Tasks of the Groups in Each Area

¡   Role and importance of law reform.

¡   Identify case studies/examples of gender-informed laws/practices.

¡   Role of courts, parliament, business assoc., religious & other leaders.

3:30 - 4:00

Coffe/ Tea Break



4:00- 5:00

Reporting on Group Work Outcomes

¡   Best practice reforms

¡   Priority Action Agenda


Next Steps and Closing Remarks

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