CAWEE holds forum to empower women in business

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Center for Accelerated Women Economic Empowerment /CAWEE/ holds a forum centered around increasing women’s economic empowerment which is a necessity when considering the long-term sustainable development and the ultimate goal of the SDGs.
CAWEE worked in partnership with Oxfam and FEMNET to forge brighter paths for African women in development and women in SMEs so as to access public procurement by assessing the existing contexts, opportunities, challenges, possible solutions, risks and recommendations.
Different government and private stakeholders, and women entrepreneurs participated on the discussions held at Radisson hotel on Friday May 6, 2022.
As per the discussions held during the forum, to boost women businesses was largely believed to create jobs and inject the market with new ideas and competition. To this end, the Government was advised to: increase women-owned suppliers winning Government contracts, set aside affirmative action that encourages women in SMEs to easily benefit from public procurement, plan for gender-responsive procurement, tackle gendered corruption through gender-responsive anti-corruption laws, and monitor gender-disaggregated procurement data.
Mainly policy influencing is said to ensure that women in SMEs secure preferred access to public procurement, thereby empowering them economically to contribute to a greater share in the economy of their families and the country due to the newly revised and enacted policies, legal frameworks and directives.
Women in SMEs in Ethiopia have insignificant involvements in public procurements where expenditure on public procurement in the country takes the largest (64% of the annual budget) share from the annual Government budget with 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); to which the country’s budget for 2021/22 was 561.7 billion Birr or 12.9 billion dollars.
According to the International Trade Centre, “Making Public Procurement Work for Women”, is enshrined in international conventions and declarations, including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and all available evidence confirms that supporting women’s entrepreneurship and women-owned businesses helps to increase the pie for all to benefit. More importantly, women’s economic empowerment is recognized as a condition/necessity for long term sustainable development, the ultimate goal of the SDGs.

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