By Judith Akolo
The government will step up support to women owned Small and Medium Enterprises as a critical part of the private sector as well as a source of new products and innovations that will anchor future growth.
Public Service and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki says empowering women translates to creation of more jobs, reduced poverty and improved balance of trade.
Women-owned businesses account for 48 percent of all SMEs in Kenya, contributing 20 percent to the economy.
The Government’s Economic Transformation Agenda which includes creating a conducive business environment for job creation is hinged on women and youth empowerment.
“Investing in sectoral transformation will ensure broad based and sustainable economic growth as well as help realize agricultural transformation to ensure food security,” said the CS.
The government has invested 3.2 billion shillings through the Women Enterprise Fund which provides affordable credit to women.
So far, over one million women in 64,000 groups have benefited from the low cost loans disbursed through the Women Enterprise Fund.
Another 12.7 billion shillings has been disbursed through the Youth Enterprise Development Fund which focuses on enterprise development as a key strategy to increase participation of the youth in economic development.
Sicily Kariuki says the success of activities being undertaken by the youth as well as women depends on infrastructure development including transport, energy and water as catalysts for growth and development.