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Bamburi, IFC to boost procurement opportunities for women

Bamburi Cement Managing Director Seddiq Hassani (Right) with IFC Country Manager Amena Arif during the signing of the IFC Sourcing2Equal (S2E) gender program agreement at Bamburi Cement Nairobi Grinding Plant on Monday [File]

Bamburi Cement has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on a gender programme that supports the company to increase procurement opportunities for women-owned enterprises in Kenya.

The move is aimed at boosting the participation of women in the supply chain.

IFC Country Manager for Kenya Amena Arif said the World Bank's investment arm is working with Bamburi Cement and the other partners in the Sourcing2Equal (S2E) programme to support women-owned businesses and 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.”

To boost the programme, the cement manufacturer has made three commitments under the partnership - to develop and implement a gender inclusive sourcing strategy and to collect gender-disaggregated procurement data.

The firm will also invest in a targeted supplier outreach programme that will raise awareness on procurement opportunities at the company among women-owned businesses.

Through the supplier outreach programme, 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.

It will also conduct awareness and advocacy activities to help promote the business case for sourcing from women-owned businesses.

The partnership will help Bamburi 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.

Bamburi Cement Managing Director, Seddiq Hassani said the firm's commitment to gender equity encompasses more than just internal targets. "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,” he said.

According to a 2021 survey conducted in Kenya by IFC, 33 per cent of SMEs are owned by women and contribute up to 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In addition, 41 per cent of Women-owned Small Medium Enterprises are credit constrained - leading to their poor performance. Most of them even close down due to a lack of information on potential business opportunities in the private sector.