In a significant step towards promoting gender equality and inclusivity in public procurement, the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) conducted advocacy activities in Ethiopia from 22nd to 26th May.
The engagements that aimed to address the barriers faced by women-led businesses in accessing public procurement contracts in East Africa.
One of the major activities that AFIC carried out together with its country partner KAL and the Inspired Ethiopian Youth Association – IEYA was a multi stakeholders’ engagement on the study findings.
This Event which happened on the 24th May, 2023 at Harmony Hotel in the City of Addis Ababa attracted over 30 participants with important personalities including but not limited to the Ministry of Labour and Skills officials, representatives from the Public Procurement and Property Agency in the Country and Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association representatives among others. Top women leaders from the Banks were also in attendance, youth from the city and business women as well.
As a result, an outcome of the visit was the establishment of a joint committee comprising state actors, non-state actors, the private sector, and civil society organizations.
By actively involving representatives from diverse sectors, the committee aims to ensure that women-led businesses are included in the procurement processes, ultimately creating a more gender-responsive and inclusive system.
The research study conducted by AFIC in collaboration with its country partners in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda shed light on the underrepresentation of women-led businesses in accessing government procurement contracts, despite significant government spending on procurement each year.
The study aimed to identify the barriers and propose solutions to foster the inclusion of women-led businesses in the procurement processes.
Some of the challenges identified included; limited access to information, lack of capacity-building opportunities, discriminatory practices, and limited representation in decision-making processes.
The new formed committee will work towards addressing these barriers and creating an enabling environment for women-led businesses to thrive.
Speaking about the establishment of the joint committee, the Executive Director of AFIC, Mr. Gilbert Sendugwa, expressed optimism about the positive impact it will have on gender-responsive public procurement in Ethiopia.
He emphasized that “by bringing together diverse stakeholders, we can collectively work towards creating a fair and inclusive procurement system that provides equal opportunities for women-led businesses. “This joint committee is a crucial step towards achieving that goal.”
The joint committee’s work will focus on advocacy, policy dialogue, capacity building, and monitoring progress in gender-responsive public procurement.
It will actively engage with relevant government bodies to influence policy reforms, promote transparency and accountability, and foster a supportive environment for women-led businesses to participate in public procurement processes.
AFIC, along with its partners and stakeholders, remain committed to advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in East Africa.