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Case Studies: Gender & Equality in public procurement


Case Study: Kenya

Gender and Equality in Public Procurement Republic of Kenya

  • Kenya has an affirmative Action law on Public Procurement, that requires all public procuring entities to reserve a not less than thirty percent of their procurement spent for enterprises owned by Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs);
  • Previously, Participation of Women and Youth in Public Procurement was minimal due to stiff competition from established firms, gender roles and lack of affirmative action;

Gender Laws for Public Procurement for the Country

  • To ensure men and women participate fully in public procurement, the government established a law that created a programme called (Access to Government Procurement Opportunities – AGPO);
  • The law requires this to be done through, Procurement Planning, Processing and Asset Disposal;
  • To Participate in AGPO enterprises are required to register, be prequalified and certified by the National Treasury;
  • The programme is monitored by both the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and the National Treasury. The monitoring reports are shared with the State Department for Gender Affairs and the State Department for Youth Affairs to facilitate alignment with other women and youth empowerment programmes;

Women Participation in AGPO programme

  • The government has registered 62,323 Women enterprises into the AGPO programme since its inception in 2013;
  • During the last financial year ending June 2020, women entrepreneurs secured 9,242 contracts worth Ksh.7,648,078,606 across various procuring entities;
  • This represented 49.84% of the total volume of contracts awarded under the programme;
  • However, since inception of the programme a total of 66,055 contracts worth Ksh.62,540,549,710 have been awarded to women entrepreneurs in the last seven years;
  • This represented 52,06% of the total volume of contracts awarded under the programme;

Lessons Learnt and good Practices

  • Capacity building and sensitizations for the target group is paramount;
  • Regulation of enterprises wishing to participate is important to safeguard the sanctity of the programme (thro’ registration, certification and cert. renewals);
  • Financial support, through seed capital;
  • Prioritization of payment for these groups is important;
  • Challenges/Way forward
  • Abuse of the registration process;
  • Information gap in rural areas with limited media coverage/low level of education;
  • Targeted monitoring of the programme by both PPRA and the National Treasury;
  • Capacity building of the supply chain officers on the need to mainstream Gender in procurement and overall tenets for the programme;
  • Sensitization of the target groups Youth, Women and PWDs on the requirements of the programme;


Case Study: SENEGAL

  • The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi) multi-donor fund aims to overcome the financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • In Senegal, WeFi is financing the project ‘Facilitating Access to Public Procurement for Women-owned SMEs’
  • The project supports, on the one hand, the integration of the gender dimension in procurement (in close collaboration with the regulator) and, on the other hand, the capacity building of womenled SMEs in public procurement and managerial skills.
  • The project conducted a survey between February and July 2020 among a representative sample of 1,200 companies eligible for public procurement contracts
  • The objective was to understand the characteristics of the companies, their knowledge of and participation in public procurement, the constraints they face and their needs for support.

Key Characteristics of WSMEs in Senegal

  • Very Small (80% – individual entrepreneurs)
  • Relatively young (48% – less than 10 years, 20% – between 10 and 15 years old)
  • Concentrated in large urban locations (more than 70% of WSMEs are in Dakar and Thiens)
  • More than 40% of WSMEs operate in trade, then manufacturing (20%) and personal services(15%),followed by lodging, agriculture and ICTs.


  • Knowledge of public procurement is lower among women’s firms compared to men’s firms. It is also lower among smaller entrepreneurs and in sectors where majority of WSMEs operate (i.e. trade, personal services).
  • Most WSMEs have never applied to public procurement due to a lack of information, notably in the newspapers, their primary source of information before the internet and their networks. Another key challenge is low access to finance, where WSMEs are again lagging their male counterparts
  • Corruption, long procedural and payment delays as well as inadequate regulatory framework are considered as key obstacles to the participation, and more so by WSMEs. The application procedure is less well known among WSMEs
  • Goods and services contracts are the most common among companies that have already applied for or won public contracts, although these contracts are less significant in terms of contract value than works.


  • The governments should make the regulatory framework for public procurement more adequate in relation to the needs and characteristics of SMEs, and to ensure the efficiency and transparency of the procurement system and management of public contracts.
  • However, regulatory reform alone is not enough!
  • Inclusive public procurement system will also depend on building the access to information and capacities of WSMEs to facilitate their competitiveness and productivity
  • Raising the awareness of WSMEs of traditionally male-dominated sectors is also important to enable WSMEs access to more profitable market opportunities (eg works).
  • The partnerships with business associations and civil society organizations are critical for outreach and engagement with WSMEs and their families, such as campaigns aimed at sensitization of their husbands, who often play a role in business decision-making.


Case Study: World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is Committed to Inclusive Sourcing.

In April 2018, the WBG set a goal to more than double it’s share of corporate procurement spent with woman-owned businesses (WBEs) to 7% by 2023. Through process changes, outreach, capacity building and technology leverage, the share by end of FY20 was 4.5%, an increase from FY18 (3.7%) and the FY17 baseline (3.1%).

Gender Responsive Procurement at WB Group


Lessons Learned:

  • Intentional action is needed to achieve supplier diversity goals.
  • Internal capacity building and change management is equally as important as vendor outreach and training.

Next Steps:

  • “Bake-in” supplier diversity efforts into procurement process so it’s not a “nice to do” but a “must do”.
  • Engage non-diverse suppliers on strengthening their supplier diversity programs
  • Further focus on development of program outside of the US

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