How economies in Sub-Saharan Africa made legal reforms to advance women's economic development

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  • 16 reforms were made in Sub-Saharan Africa to advance women's economic and social development between June 2017 to September 2019.
  • World Bank reveals this in its new study, "Women Business and the Law 2020."
  • Overall, the study states that the regulatory environment for women’s economic participation has improved over the past two years, with 40 economies enacting 62 reforms that will help women.

Eleven economies in Sub-Saharan Africa implemented 16 reforms to advance women's economic and social development, according to a new World Bank study.

The study, "Women Business and the Law 2020," measures 190 economies, tracking how laws affect women at different stages in their working lives and focusing on those laws applicable in the main business city. It covers reforms in eight areas that are associated with women’s economic empowerment, conducted from June 2017 to September 2019.

Legal rights for women are both the right thing to do and good from an economic perspective. When women can move more freely, work outside the home and manage assets, they are more likely to join the workforce and help strengthen their country’s economies,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

“We stand ready to help until every woman can move through her life without facing legal barriers to her success.

The study states that the regulatory environment for women’s economic participation has improved over the past two years, with 40 economies enacting 62 reforms that will help women – half the world’s population – realize their potential and contribute to economic growth and development.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the legal efforts made include:

  • DR Congo 

The Democratic Republic of Congo introduced social insurance maternity benefits and equalized retirement ages.

  • Côte d'Ivoire

Spouses now have equal rights to own and manage property.

  • Mali

Mali enacted reforms on non-discrimination in employment

  • São Tomé and Príncipe 

São Tomé and Príncipe adopted a new labour code to meet job market demands and bring laws in compliance with international standards.

  • South Sudan 

On the other hand, South Sudan adopted its first labour law since independence.

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