Boosting opportunities for Arab businesswomen
The Arabic version of an ITC guide to help governments source more goods and services from women-owned business was launched today during a gathering on women and entrepreneurship in Cairo.
Only about 1% of the trillions of dollars that the world’s governments spend each year on purchasing goods and services go to companies owned and operated by women. The ITC guide, ‘Empowering Women through Public Procurement’, spells out how governments can develop guidelines that would make it easier to source more goods and services from women entrepreneurs.
The guide looks at the challenges women entrepreneurs face in accessing public procurement contracts, and sets out how these barriers might be overcome to increase government purchases from women-owned businesses. Solutions proposed range from setting mandatory goals or targets for the share of public procurement that goes to women-owned business through to preferential treatment, capacity building and measures as simple as publicizing government tenders to women’s business associations. Reducing the size of tenders would also favour women business owners, whose enterprises tend to be smaller.
‘Public procurement policies have been used by many governments to create economic opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and firms from disadvantaged communities, and increasingly for businesses owned by women,’ said ITC Executive Director Arancha González.
‘Even though Arab women are more educated, more empowered and more engaged in a whole spectrum of political, social and business activities than ever before, they only make up 28% of the active workforce. Well-crafted government procurement policies in the region could give a boost to Arab businesswomen.’
Ms. Gonzalez was attending the 10th African Congress for Women Entrepreneurs and 14th Afro Arab Congress of Business Women and Professional Women, which were taking place in collaboration with the 14th Mediterranean Congress for Business and Professional Women and the 16th International Congress of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.
The Arabic-language version of ‘Empowering Women through Public Procurement’