On December 20, the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) convened female Parliamentarians from 12 African countries in Nairobi, Kenya, for the first meeting of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment. The Council meeting was organised in partnership with the African Development Bank.
The meeting focused specifically on women’s property rights in Africa with the aim to share perspectives on strategies for female MPs to promote legal reforms, which can ensure that women’s property rights are included in all African legal frameworks. The meeting provided an occasion to discuss and address the current African property rights landscape with special attention given to the role of MPs in advancing property and inheritance laws for women across Africa.
This event was the first meeting of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment and brought together active female Parliamentarians from the WIP network in East, West and Southern Africa to discuss and provide innovative solutions to the challenges related to women’s property rights.
The purpose of the WIP Council is to address issues (legal and institutional), share best practices, stimulate dialogue, shape agendas, advocate and drive legislative reforms at the national and regional level. Council Members will meet annually at WIP Summits, targeted African Development Bank Annual Meetings as well as during targeted regional meetings.
The major recommendations from the Inaugural WIP Council meeting were, among others:
- Ensuring the harmonization of laws and reviewing and repealing discriminatory laws concerning women’s property rights, by working on amending, passing or repealing necessary laws. Lack of staffing was identified as a major constraints and MPs requested the support of the Council to develop capacity building program on research; analysis and training on the content of current laws and the types of reforms that would be considered best practices;
- Promotion of better data collection through relevant ministries and ensure that systemic sex-disaggregated datais colleacted, particularly related to land and property rights. The meeting underscored the need for the African Development Bank to support collection of gender specific data;
- Financing entrepreneurship in agriculture;including the need to mechanize agriculture so that women can do a better job of feeding their families and realizing better yields;
The outcomes of the meeting in Nairobi will lead up to the discussion during the WIP Global Summit 2017. Members of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment from all regions of the world are expected to attend this high-level Summit.