Women industrialists in Kenya have come together to map out ways in which they can drive industrial growth in the manufacturing sector. The event, organized by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) under the Women in Manufacturing Programme, looked at bridging the gaps that make it impossible for women to venture and thrive in the manufacturing sector.
The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Prof. Margaret Kobia noted that the objective of the Women in Manufacturing Programme is therefore wholly appropriate and timely.
“The objectives of the Women in Manufacturing Programme are perfectly aligned to the Government’s Agenda under the Big 4 through which the administration hopes to catalyse development, economic wellbeing of all citizens and inclusive growth. Women are capable of inventing and creating new products and services that maybe no one else can come up with,” added CS Kobia.
Challenges affecting women industrialist in the country are stereotypes, cultural barriers, capital and lack of access to financing, low income levels and high dependency on spouses.
Speaking during the forum KAM Chairlady, Ms. Flora Mutahi noted that there is great potential for women-run industries to create productive jobs and grow value chain in the country
“Women-owned businesses are making significant contribution to the Kenyan economy. Their businesses account for about one-half (48 per cent) of all micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), which contribute about 20 per cent to Kenya’s GDP. Of the 462,000 jobs created annually since 2000 in Kenya, 445,000 jobs have come from the informal sector, where 85 percent of women’s businesses are found.
This platform looks at increasing the value and capacity of these businesses through technical assistance, facilitating access to finance and mentorship from KAM’s larger database where they can also seek solutions to scale up their industries through business-to-business linkages,” added Ms. Flora Mutahi.
Women in Manufacturing Programme, launched in 2017, anchors its ethos on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 which centre inclusivity and sustainable economic growth at the core of their industrialization goal.