Study to look at improving women's access to public contracts

3 December 2020

A study is to be carried out to look at ways of improving women’s access to government procurement opportunities in East Africa.

The East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP), a forum that brings together business and professional women from across the East African Community (EAC), is advertising for a consultancy to carry out a review on how well a programme to help women win government contracts is working across member states.

This comes as several institutions including the UN unveiled new measures to gauge levels of gender equality across Africa.

Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) is an initiative which seeks to empower women, youth and disabled people through public procurement business opportunities in the EAC.

But EAWiBP said it was unknown exactly how far AGPO was being used in member states.

It is seeking a consultancy to study to identify the legal provisions and gaps, opportunities in each state offered by the initiative.

“It is crucial to know the status of AGPO in all of the EAC partner states given that not all have this provision in place,” said the EAWiBP.

In Kenya a directive from president Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 set up an AGPO framework with aim of awarding 30% of all government procurement initiatives to women-owned businesses without competition from established firms.

But a report carried out by Hivos East Africa in 2018 said only 7.7% of contracts worth more than 5m shillings are being awarded to AGPO registered firms.  

However the report added that there had been a 71% rise in the annual revenue of youth owned enterprises, a 70% increase in job creation and 82% increase in the number of youth owned enterprises as a result of the AGPO initiative.

Most beneficiaries were in Nairobi, followed by Mombasa county and Kiambu county.

Meanwhile, The African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and UN Women launched the Africa Gender Index – a comprehensive measure of the state of gender equality across 51 of 54 African countries.

The index seeks to document progress made in closing gender gaps in education and health, jobs and wages and political participation and leadership and provide governments and partners with reliable data.

“Our aim for the Africa Gender Index is to spark dialogue and informed debate and reform on gender equality at national and regional levels. We also hope the Index will enrich and inform the global conversation wherever Africa's development is on the agenda,” said Vanessa Moungar, director of the AfDB’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department.

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