By Shadrack Nyakoe
To boost the participation of women in the Kenyan supply chain, Bamburi Cement PLC today partnered with International Finance Corporation (IFC) on a gender program that support the company increase procurement opportunities for women-owned enterprises in Kenya.
Bamburi Cement has made three commitments under the partnership; to develop and implement a gender-inclusive sourcing strategy, collect gender-disaggregated procurement data, and invest in a targeted supplier outreach program that will raise awareness on procurement opportunities at the company among women-owned businesses.
Through the supplier outreach program, Bamburi Cement will hold business match-making events and pitching lessons to empower women-owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) to participate actively in procurement. In addition, Bamburi Cement will conduct awareness and advocacy activities to help promote the business case for sourcing from women-owned businesses. The partnership will help Bamburi Cement diversify its supply chain and support WSMEs to offer competitive products and services and provide them with the skills to meet procurement requirements in the private sector.
Speaking on the partnership agreement, Bamburi Cement Managing Director, Seddiq Hassani said, “Our commitment to gender equity encompasses more than just our internal targets to ensure the women in Bamburi can full achieve their career goals and grow to their fullest potential while meeting their personal life goals. Our commitment to ensuring Sustainable and Ethical business operations, means that Gender equity is a key part of our Sustainable Procurement Agenda. This partnership with IFC is a key part of this delivery”.
Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Kenya, also addressed stakeholders of the program saying, “IFC is working with Bamburi Cement and the other partners in the Sourcing2Equal program to support women-owned businesses to increase their participation in corporate procurement. By helping businesses to work with more women-owned SMEs and supporting women entrepreneurs to be procurement ready, we can break down barriers and support more small businesses to grow.”
According to a 2021 survey conducted in Kenya by IFC, 33 percent of SMEs are owned by women and contribute up to 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, 41 percent of Women-owned Small Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) are credit constrained.
As a result, these businesses perform poorly and even close down due to lack of information on potential business opportunities in the private sector. On the other hand, private companies lack formal programs to advance gender equality in their supply chains such as training and collecting gender disaggregating data to determine how many of their suppliers are women-led enterprises.
The S2E program is expected to see ten private companies tap into the vast SME sector. It will pull together WSMEs and corporates for business generation through procurement readiness training by local and international experts and capacity building for corporates to institutionalize gender-inclusive sourcing strategies.
This program is a realization that there is a huge gender gap in access to procurement contracts and WSMEs continue to face challenges while navigating complex corporate value chains. “Supporting WSMEs to access private contracts will promote healthy competition and change the view that the construction sector is male-dominated,’ Seddiq Hassani added.
S2E Kenya is a three-year program that aims to increase women’s participation in corporate procurement opportunities research, capacity building for WSMEs, and firm-level support for participating buyers.
IFC implements the program with funding support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WE-FI) and the Government of Norway.