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In January 2015 and 2016, New Markets Lab President Katrin Kuhlmann has led a three-week independent clinical with Harvard Law School (HLS) students focusing on the relationship between entrepreneurship and trade. Students were able to see firsthand the impact of the economic legal and regulatory environment on development and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Each program started with a Washington D.C.-based workshop covering aspects of trade, investment, and economic law relevant to trade and the agricultural sector, with a particular focus on growth of small- and medium-sized businesses. Through field experience in Tanzania, the independent clinical then exposed HLS students to the role of government, business, and international institutions in interacting with and shaping the enabling environment to encourage agricultural development at the grassroots level. One of the students in the clinical, Alix Boberg (LL.M ’15), recounts her experience in Tanzania in 2015:


I left Tanzania with memories of cloves, tomato farms and Masai warriors. But my experience with New Markets Lab also impressed on me a greater appreciation of how trade lawyers can assist development far beyond concessions in a trade agreement [...] Trade is practice – the collective practice of enterprises working together in a value chain to reach markets locally and overseas. Trade lawyers and policy makers can and should connect high-level policies to that practice, and thereby demonstrate their development commitment to countries around the world.


For Alix’s full essay, visit the Harvard Law School Blogs.


Enterprises are confronted with challenges throughout the market: from land tenure, access to loans, and seed regulations, to business registration, compliance of food standards, and logistics challenges, each entrepreneur confronts a complex regulatory environment that affects his or her ambition to succeed, grow, and participate in markets. Sharing information on legal systems and addressing regulatory challenges are aspects of NML’s approach, which focus on empowering entrepreneurs and local communities to engage in and expand trade locally and in broader markets.


Photo Credits: Alix Boberg, Katrin Kuhlmann

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