The Mystery of Capital Formation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Women, Property Rights and Customary Law

Economists such as Hernando De Soto have argued that clearly defined property rights are essential to capital formation and ultimately to economic growth and poverty alleviation. This article traces two impediments to the clear definition of property rights in the African context: customary law and the status of women. Both of these issues interfere with the attempt of African countries to rearticulate property law with the goal of capital formation. Constructive attempts to define property rights must address the problem of enforcement in under-resourced environments where changes may not be welcomed.
Joireman, S.F.
Source publication: 
World Development, Volume 36, Issue 7, July 2008