Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
In order to promote healthy growth of entrepreneurial activities and opportunities for women in Africa, it is important that we recognize the socio-cultural environment that creates obstacles - institutionally, legally, financially, culturally and politically.
De Soto found that there are 71 individual procedures and 31 Agencies that are involved in legally acquiring and registering land in Egypt. This particular, highly bureaucratic example may focus on one country in North Africa, but it also applies to many other African countries. Whilst processes and procedures are necessary, such cumbersome and lengthy processes can hinder the growth of small businesses.
However, in the absence of coherent policies, laws and institutions that govern contracts and their implementation in Africa, women will continue to pay the price as they constitute the majority operating in the informal sector. Part of the focus of Agenda 2063 is to ensure that key national policies, including fiscal policies, investment, procurement and so forth, support industrialization. Whilst it is critical to have clear policies and laws in place, the way they are implemented is really what matters.
Many African countries have adopted new land laws in the past few years to strengthen women’s land ownership rights, yet many women farm owners are still confronted by major challenges as some of these laws are not enforced.
At the recent African Summit, a young female farmer shared her story of how she lost two farms and all that she had invested in these farms on not just one, but two different occasions. Every harvest season, the landowners would demand their land back, without giving her the opportunity to harvest her crops. As a result, she lost everything with no legal recourse. In addition, some women struggle to attract investment due to short-term leases on land. The reality is that investors take into consideration the environmental, social and governance factors prior to making investment decisions. They seek enforcement of policies and laws, including some level of certainty to determine the actual cost of conducting business in the system.
In many communities the land is still under the control of chiefs or traditional leaders with no clear laws stipulating ownership or policies that govern the transfer of such land to women farmers. The end result is that land which can easily be converted into capital lies barren, whilst communities continue to suffer.
It is estimated that the world's population will reach more than nine billion by 2050, and with it will come increasing concerns about food security. Ultimately, African small holding female farmers will be in a position to address these growing food security needs and contribute substantially to the global breadbasket if supported accordingly.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
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