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Analyzing the Landscape of Women’s Land Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, and North Africa


Commissioned by the World Bank and led by Hirut Girma, the Resource Equity team is performing a review and analysis of Women’s Land Rights in two regions

Advocates around the world have successfully positioned women’s land rights on both global and regional development agendas.

But while much of the development community recognizes their importance in the context of broader social and economic issues, the question remains: How has this focus translated into practical and meaningful land rights for women?

It’s true that there remains a need for making stronger and more strategic cases at all levels to raise additional funding and demand greater attention to women’s land rights.

To this end, the World Bank reached out to Resource Equity to lead the analysis of the landscape of women’s land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.

This project has three phases:

Phase One: Regional Assessment

The team is currently working on this phase of the project.

We’re collaborating with regional and national stakeholders to contextualize women’s land rights in the respective regions, profile key stakeholders in the land ecosystem, explore strategic opportunities for collaboration, and identify specific countries that merit a more in-depth analysis.

This phase of the project involves deep coordination and collaboration with multiple entities who represent governmental interests (such as the line ministries,) industry interests (like farmers associations,) and civil interests (including members of NGOs and academics who specialize in land rights,) in addition to entities that spearhead implementation of the regional agenda on land (e.g., the AUC-UNECA-AfDB African Land Policy Centre).

As part of this phase, we’ll select 15 countries – ten from Sub-Saharan Africa and five from Middle East/North Africa – on which we’ll report key issues at the country level.

We’ll also attempt to scan for promising interventions, which could be vetted as part of the in-depth case studies in Phase Two.

Phase Two: Detailed Analysis

Once we have completed the overarching regional review of women’s land rights, we’ll select five countries – three from Sub-Saharan Africa and two from the Middle East/North Africa – to perform a deep dive.

These more detailed case studies will explore various impediments to women’s housing, land, and property rights in a specific country, including legal, social, cultural, and institutional.

We’ll look at things from an operational perspective as well: What’s working right now, what problems are we seeing, and what kind of solutions seem to be addressing those issues.

The team’s goal with this phase is to provide insight into the persistent barriers to women’s land and property rights and identify effective interventions that could be scaled to promote women’s land rights in practice.

Phase Three: Communications Strategy

The final phase of this project will be to work with the World Bank and our collaborator, Burness, to develop a communications strategy.

As part of their global campaign to support women’s land rights, the World Bank wants to ensure that they are effectively communicating in a meaningful way to the various stakeholders in each region.

Among the questions that the team hopes to answer are:

  • What are the key messages?
  • What are the best ways to share them?
  • What are the misconceptions about women’s land rights or messaging about women’s land rights in the respective regions?

Stay tuned for further updates as the team continues to work on this project.

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