May 29, 2023

Africa Regional Conference 2023: In the Frontline Championing Inclusive Gender Sourcing

Jane Mumo


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On 17th May 2023, USAID’s Kenya Small Business Development Centers (Kenya SBDC) program partnered with WEConnect International in Kenya to host the Africa Regional Conference.

This event brought together women entrepreneurs, government players and private-sector players to champion gender inclusive sourcing and increased access to global procurement opportunities in the public and private sectors by Women- Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs).

The conference was graced by the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Gender and Affirmative Action, Veronica Nduva, who emphasized the importance of creating strategic partnerships for growth. “As women, we should come out of our comfort zone and embrace high-value networking and partnerships,” said Veronica Nduva, Permanent Secretary State Department of Gender and Affirmative Action.

Other key stakeholders in attendance included USAID’s Office of Economic Growth and Integration (OEGI), Ag. Policy Lead Margo Siemer along with other private sector players along the country’s supply chain, like Unilever, Bamburi Cement PLC, IFC – International Finance Corporation, EY and Naivas Limited among others.

This was a business match-making event that provided women-business owners with practical opportunities to apply their supply chain knowledge and expand their market opportunities with buyers from different corporations. Ultimately the conference was an eye-opener for most women-owned businesses to step up and exploit opportunities in the supply chain sector.

“We recognize that to ensure effective inclusion and participation of WSMEs in access to local and global markets, it is important for them to understand their procurement preparedness. The Kenya SBDC is committed to working with gender-focused organizations to ensure at least 40% WSMEs have access to market opportunities.” said Lucy Maingi, Gender Advisor of USAID’s Kenya SBDC Program.

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