Empowering Women in Procurement: Rwanda’s Legislative tread for Gender Equality

Africa Freedom of Information Centre together with their Rwandan partners Never Again Rwanda, during their visit to the Forum of women Parliamentarians of Rwanda (FFRP) on Wednesday 26th July, 2023 at their offices, learnt that the Rwandan Parliament had incorporated insights from AFIC’s study on Understanding the barriers and solutions to include women led businesses in Rwanda into the
amendment of the procurement law 2022.

The legislators expressed their commitment to advance the agenda that ensures women’s participation in public procurement is noticeable. Notably the new law ensures in the provisions, that there
is gender disaggregated data and mandatory inclusion of the 30% composition of women on different procurement committees.

The legislative process found to have been taken stresses Rwanda’s dedication to gender parity as enshrined in the Constitution of Rwanda which provides for the 30% gender equality benchmark in all sectors. The Legislators therefore used the opportunity to ask the team to focus the advocacy efforts on ensuring that the all-economic sectors including procurement comply with the constitutional requirement.

In addition to other amendments, Section 6 of the Procurement Act, was revised to consider implementation under the principles of fairness, transparency, competition and inclusion. According to the report, it had raised issues including inequalities as part of the barriers to women led businesses in Rwanda’s public procurement. This has thus been addressed accordingly giving relief to the women entrepreneurs.

In yet another similar development, the report had identified the issue of the lack of data and specifically lack of gender disaggregated data. In response to this concern, Hon. informed the meeting that this would be addressed within the Ministerial Order which would clarify and request all entrepreneurs to report disaggregated data. The Ministerial Order would stretch further to include requiring all procurement and grievances committees are comprised of 30% female representation.

The Ministerial Order in Rwanda goes on to address the issues of Bid security as identified in the study to be one of the barriers associated with hindering women participation. However, the order would determine and clearly list types of tenders that would require bid security and these would be secured for special groups including women.

While the study already exhibited notable impact through its early outcomes, Members of Parliament identified capacity gaps faced by majority of women entrepreneurs. They thus called upon Never Again Rwanda and AFIC to collaborate in bridging these gaps by supporting the government of Rwanda in fostering a gender-inclusive economy in The visit to the MPs was thus a great moment of information sharing giving true meaning of advocacy engagements as is the core business after the study report has been produced.