By Wahome Wangechi

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) held

the Annual Supplier Diversity Summit that

brought together key stakeholders from across

Kenya to discuss how inclusive supply chains

can be encouraged and developed during and

post Covid–19 pandemic.

The one-day summit was held to discuss and

understand how the Coronavirus pandemic has

especially affected women and youth- led and

owned businesses.

A study conducted by KESPA in May this year to

assess the impact of Covid-19 found that 82%

of women owned/led businesses were highly or

very highly negatively affected by Covid-19

pandemic. Only 2% reported positive impact

and 1% were not affected.

Speaking at the conference, KEPSA chairman

Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, urged stakeholders to

accelerate the development of action plans

targeting supplier diversity and noted that the

SME sector has the highest potential of

creating these opportunities.

“The objective of this annual conference is to

accelerate advocacy for greater supplier

diversification for increased market linkages for

more women, youth and Persons with

Disabilities (PWD)-owned enterprises with the

Public Sector, Private Sector and Development

agencies supply chains.

There is value in economic integration of

diverse suppliers to support their growth as well

as benefits that the enterprising business

community can bring to corporate supply


We must therefore emphasize the creation of a

diverse supply chain that works to secure the

inclusion of different groups for the mutual

benefit of respective organizations and MSMEs

in Kenya,” said Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt.

The summit focused on activating greater

supplier diversification in driving inclusive

business and ensuring that women, youth and

PWD-owned enterprises are accessing

procurement opportunities at all levels.

The keynote speaker, Ms. Faith Kasiva, Gender

Secretary, Ministry of Public Service & Gender

challenged the stakeholders present to lead

efforts towards enhancing supplier diversity in

order to boost economic recovery during & post

COVID -19 pandemic.

“There’s no doubt that Supplier Diversity can be

adopted as a strategy to address youth

unemployment in Kenya. As part of a

campaign to empower women, youth and

persons with disability, the Kenyan government

pledged that the procurement rules would be

amended to allow 30 per cent of Government

contracts to be awarded to women, youth and

persons with disability, under reservation and

without competition from established firms.

It is affirmative action aimed at empowering

women, youth and persons living with disability

owned enterprises by giving them more

opportunities to do business with the

Government and by extension creating market

linkages and economic prosperity,” noted the

Gender Secretary, Ms. Faith Kasiva.

Whereas the public sector has embraced

Supplier Diversity, few organizations in the

private and development sectors have taken the

step to set aside their procurement budgets and

opportunities expressly for youth, women and

people with disabilities.

“Supplier diversity is a key driver of inclusion of

Special Interest Groups in business and

procurement. It is a factor useful in the

realisation of the Sustainable Development

Goals (SDG) number 8: Decent work and

Economic Growth, number 10: Reduced

Inequalities and number 12: Responsible

Consumption and Production,” said Dr.Joyce

Mutinda, Chairperson, National Gender and

Equality Commission.

In response to the pandemic, KEPSA has also

entered into a partnership with Mastercard

Foundation to launch a Fund to support MSMEs

hit by the pandemic through financial and

technical assistance.

The programme targets to give 400 MSMEs

interest-free loans repayable by up to six

months with priority being businesses owned

by women and young people. In addition to

funding, KEPSA is conducting capacity building

(Training and mentorship sessions).

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is a

limited liability membership organisation

registered in 2003 as the apex body of private

sector in Kenya.

KEPSA’s mandate is the voice of private sector

in Kenya. KEPSA therefore is an inclusive and

proactive body that provides an institutional

framework for Government and private sector

partnership; a facilitator for the private sector in

public policy dialogue and an umbrella policy

and networking institution for the private sector

in Kenya; and, a promoter of public-private

sector partnerships in addressing the

challenges of wealth and employment creation

in Kenya.

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