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Women’s inclusion critical to Kenya’s development agenda

By Margaret Kanini | May 14th 2014

By Margaret Kanini

The Government has been cautioned against exclusion of women in development, with the Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (Kawbo) saying such an approach would stagnate the economy.

Jennifer Riria, the group chief executive officer for Kenya Women Holding, expressed concern that ‘women-friendly’ Government policies normally come under threat and their implementation is slow.

 “Kenyans should be working towards enabling the growth and development of small and medium enterprises, which already contribute to more than 40 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” she stated.

These concerns were the highlights at a meeting of China Europe International Business School (CIEBS) and Kawbo held in Nairobi yesterday. The meeting launched a project-based programme that would enhance entrepreneurial, management and leadership skills for Kenyan women.

The programme named The Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa (Wela) comes to Kenya for the first time. It is specifically designed for women entrepreneurs with the aim of enabling them identify business opportunities and maintain visible and sustainable enterprises.

This is also the third time the programme has been launched in Africa, after a long presence in both Ghana and Nigeria.The meeting participants noted that empowerment of women is the new radical shift in championing global economic growth.

This realisation, the delegates noted, is the reason why leading business schools across the globe have partnered with local organisations to empower Kenyan women economically.

Key speakers at the event attended by various women trailblazers in business, career and politics debated on the opportunities, challenges and way forward in the local and international business environment.

Mathew Tsemenyi who is a CEIBS professor and the director of programmes said Kenya is growing in terms of finance and industrial market, which necessitated the launch of the programme in the country.

He acknowledged that Africa’s business environment was dynamic, but reckoned that there was need for more innovative managers to support women’s initiatives.

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