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SMEs and the Rule of Law in Africa: legal developments, regulatory challenges and prospective solutions

Date: 12th October 2017

Time: 08:00 - 16:30

Venue: Jones Day LLP (Washington), 300 New Jersey Avenue, WASHINGTON DC, DC 20001

Event Details

Time: 8:30-4.30 (including lunch), followed by a reception (Registration from 8:00am)

Venue: Jones Day, 300 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

2017 Annual Global Rule of Law Exchange Conference

This conference is co-organised by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and Jones Day with support from the Jones Day Foundation.

Although Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can vary in size from country to country, SMEs are typically recognised as being the backbone of any economy, and Africa is no exception. SMEs are an important engine of growth and employment. Nevertheless, SME development is often constrained by a number of obstacles: financial (access to finance and limited access to markets), administrative (laws & regulations) and technical or internal (e.g. lack of access to appropriate technology, poor management skills or capacity, etc).

What are the key legal and regulatory issues for the SME sector? How is the Rule of Law important for the SME sector? What does an enabling legal and regulatory environment for SMEs look like? What is the effect of an unfavourable regulatory and legal environment on investors and SME growth? Are local SMEs at a competitive disadvantage compared to international SMEs and investors, or are rules and regulations the same and equally enforced for everyone? What is the cost of compliance to African SMEs, and is compliance bad for business? What solutions are in place to address the abovementioned legal and regulatory issues, and how can other countries learn from these? What is the role of Governments and the private sector in developing a better SME sector in Africa? What are the incentives or disincentives for progress?

Drawing on the experience of entrepreneurs, international investors, the legal profession, government representatives and international organisations, these are some of the questions this conference will seek to address through a range of keynote speeches and panel discussions. It will also aim to identify practical solutions to some of the legal and regulatory issues African SMEs face.


  • Dr. Donald Kaberuka , former President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, African Development Bank (2005-2015)
  • Timothy Kakuru, mSME Garage( Uganda)
  • Affiong Williams, Founder/CEO, Reelfruit (Nigeria)
  • Anton Didenko, Research Fellow, Business and the Rule of Law, The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law
  • Coryell Stout, Portfolio Engagement Manager, Venture Lab, Accion
  • Dr. Moeketsi Majoro , Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Kazuhiro Numasawa, Principal Investment Officer, Financial Sector Development Department, African Development Bank
  • Ashina Singh, Department of Small Business Development, (South Africa)
  • Andreja Marusic, Global Lead, Business Environment, World Bank
  • Odunoluwa Longe, DIY Law, (Nigeria)

Additional Speakers to be added

Download the programme


This event is free to attend but advance registration is required.

Register for a place at the event

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