President Uhuru Kenyatta has affirmed his government’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. He said the government’s affirmative agenda is premised on the genuine conviction that empowering women is key to the development of the nation.
President Uhuru said measures have been instituted to ensure women’s equal access and full participation in power structures and decision-making.
He spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday night during the high level panel discussion on the 25th AU Summit theme, “Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.
He enumerated the various gains the government has made in women empowerment in the country. These includes strengthening institutional frameworks on gender mainstreaming by strategically locating the Gender Affairs docket directly under The Presidency and deployment of experts across all government ministries.
Uhuru said the government has provided catalytic funds to Women through a Women Enterprise Fund, a Youth Enterprise Fund as well as an UWEZO Fund, all fully funded by the state.
“My Government is implementing the 30 per cent Public Procurement Preference and Reservations for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities,” he added. The initiative launched under his watch in 2013 in fulfillment of the promise to improve the lives of Kenya’s youth and women, is Kenya’s most ambitious and exciting women economic empowerment initiative, President Uhuru said.
“Kenya government procurement accounts for as much as 30 per cent of GDP which as at June translates into a minimum of $ 2.2 billion per year worth of business from the Government to these target groups,” he added.
He said empowerment of women and youth occupies a center stage in policy deliberations and has multiplier effects. “Most importantly, this economic empowerment opportunity is premised on the inclusion of women and recognises them as valued economic partners,” the President said.
He urged other countries on the continent to seize the opportunity to close the gender gap through sound policy and legal interventions, adding that Africa stands to gain tremendously from the realm of influence for women in Africa and beyond.
On Education, Uhur said Kenya has achieved gender parity in primary school enrollment and surpassed 103.5 per cent Primary School Gross Enrolment Rate as a result of implementation of the Free Primary Education policy.
“Elimination of tuition fees in public secondary schools has also boosted the transition rate of girls from primary to secondary school,” the President said.