The Law, Justice and Development Week, with the theme “Partnering for impact: Enabling and mobilizing the private sector for sustainable development”, took place over three days, from November 13 to 15, 2023.
The first day was dedicated to three main points: unlocking private financing for the future, proposing innovative solutions to meet development financing needs, and finally, catalyzing private investment for sustainable infrastructure.
The second day covered the following themes: promoting female entrepreneurship by tackling legal barriers, the role of gender in the justice system, leveraging financing for climate change, and the role of data in empowerment and mobilization of the private sector.
The last day was dedicated to two themes: law, justice and development, as well as partnership for impact.
The conference was inaugurated on November 13, 2023 by Mr. Ajay Banga, Director of the World Bank, who explored the structures and incentives needed in the multilateral financial ecosystem to catalyze diversified private sector engagement to boost financing of global development. His presentation set the framework for discussions at Law, Justice and Development Week 2023, setting out a vision, identifying problem areas and charting a way forward for lawyers and development practitioners to collaborate to have impact and facilitate the creation of an enabling environment. Its vision is to create a world without poverty on a sustainable planet, emphasizing the critical importance of eliminating inequality to achieve this mission.
Mr. Ajay Banga emphasized: "Inequality is reflected in the way gender is treated, how ethnicity is treated, how religious differences are treated, how sexual orientation differences are treated, or, frankly, whose misfortune of being born on the wrong side of the railway tracks is dealt with."
The topic "Advancing women's entrepreneurship by tackling legal barriers" was presented by Antonia Kirkland. According to her, governments perpetuate gender inequality by maintaining explicitly sexist or discriminatory laws on the one hand, and by failing to adopt equality and non-discrimination laws on the other, to protect rights of women and girls. She pointed out that women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights of men and concluded that legal reform is an effective way to solve this problem.
Monica Musonda from Java Foods Limited then shared her experience as an entrepreneur in Zambia, highlighting the challenges women face in growing their businesses. According to her, the non-implementation of laws and the complexity of legal procedures hinder the growth of women's businesses.
Concluding the panel, Rishi Goyal, Deputy Director and Senior Gender Advisor at the International Monetary Fund, highlighted the link between gender disparities and macroeconomic performance, saying: "When we have disparities in access to education, health, the labor market, credit, due to legal barriers, social norms, policies, discrimination, we find ourselves in a situation where we distribute resources poorly, we develop them insufficiently and we deploy them ineffectively."
The final session of the conference, entitled "Law, Justice and Development", featured a debate with several judges on the links between the rule of law and development. This panel explored why the rule of law, particularly judicial independence, is essential to ensuring sustainable development on a viable planet. The judges also looked at how development issues are taken into account or influence decision-making processes. (World Bank, 2023)