Women and Trade Networks in West Africa

image of Women and Trade Networks in West Africa

Women make a significant contribution to West Africa's food economy, perpetuating a long tradition of commerce and participating in cross-border trade and regional outreach. Their activities face numerous obstacles but also present important opportunities, highlighted in this report through an unprecedented relational and spatial analysis of social networks. The study focuses on the rice sector in the Dendi region (Benin, Niger and Nigeria) and on the regional governance networks that support women's entrepreneurship. It confirms that Nigeria occupies a privileged position due to its demographics and growing urbanisation. The report proposes the development of innovative public policies based on the reinforcement of the social capital of women and policy approaches that promote better integration of the initiatives undertaken by governments, international and non-governmental organisations to empower women and strengthen their resilience.

English Also available in: French

Women’s participation in markets in West Africa

Chapter 2 examines how gender determines livelihood prospects and generates inequalities that limit West African women’s access to and participation in markets. The chapter starts by discussing how gender inequality is reproduced at three different levels: the individual, the household and the community. A review of the literature shows that socially-defined gender norms and expectations that proscribe women’s behaviour and choices have a deep impact on the food system that connects production, processing and distribution, to food consumption and nutrition in West Africa. The chapter also shows that gender inequalities arise from various institutions that animate and regulate markets in the region. Such institutions may take the form of formal or customary laws that apply to men and women, of finance, credit and savings regulations, and of policies that relate to market and business activities.

English Also available in: French

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