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13 June 2023

Webinar: Regional policy dialogue on gender-responsive public procurement reforms in West Africa

Organisation: Open Contracting Partnership, UN Women. Location: Virtual

Access to public procurement represents a significant potential market for SMEs since public contracts can stimulate an increase in investment, job generation and productivity for firms. Public procurement offers an attractive market for entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs since governments worldwide spend around 12 per cent of global GDP on public contracts. Public procurement was estimated at least $11 trillion out of the global GDP in 2018.

Worldwide, 1 in 3 SMEs are owned by women, yet women-owned businesses only access 1% of all procurement contracts suggesting systemic gender disparities within procurement systems. In the context of the West African region, women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises encounter more structural barriers than their male counterparts- such as limited access to productive resources and assets, limited access to opportunities and information- coupled with gender-specific risks such as discriminatory social norms, unpaid care work and Gender-based violence. 

The gender gaps in public procurement, entrepreneurship and economic activity, more broadly, must be addressed to harness women’s potential for driving gender equality and achieving sustainable development and growth. 

Well-designed gender-responsive public procurement policies can promote economic growth, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. To add to this debate, UN Women and OCP are launching a policy brief titled “Improving access to public procurement for Women-owned and Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises in West Africa?” which analyses the extent to and ways in which regional institutions in West Africa could adopt better policies for gender-responsive procurement.

Date: Tuesday, 13 June 2023
Time 1:00 PM UTC

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Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Audience: Multistakeholder Initiative