UWEAL, in collaboration with PPDA engages in capacity building of its members to improve their potential to win public procurement contracts.
In Uganda, the major barriers to women entrepreneurs’ potential to excel in a male-dominated market environment are; limited access to affordable value addition, product standardization and certification services as well as limited access to finance, information and public procurement contracts. To overcome these barriers, UWEAL is working with other stakeholders such as the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to improve women’s access to public procurement contracts; and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to ensure access to affordable product standardization and certification services.
In November 2016, UWEAL officially launched its campaign advocating for a 30% share of public procurement contracts to be allocated to women entrepreneurs. Before the launch of the campaign, however, UWEAL conducted a series of orientation and awareness-raising campaigns to equip its members with necessary information, knowledge and skills. These have been facilitated by among others; Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Public Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Ministry of Gender (MGLSD) and Public Procurement and Disposal of assets Authority (PPDA).
In countries such as Kenya, affirmative action in public procurement is already in place. In 2013, the Government came up with an affirmed action policy that sets aside at least 30% of government contracts for businesses run by women; and in the first year of its implementation, government procured over US$71million from women and US$104million in second year. Government contracts constitute 10-15% of GDP in developed countries and over 20% in developing countries(IISD, 2013) suggesting a lucrative domestic market with potential to uplift women entrepreneurs to another level.
Despite the fact that this would have been the best opportunity for women in Uganda where gender roles and patriarchal nature of society limit women’s international travels, their access to government contracts is limited. It is against this background therefore that UWEAL is advocating for a 30% share of government contracts to women entrepreneurs.
UWEAL is one voice for business women as a trusted partner to Private Sector Foundation Uganda to advocate for conducive business environment for business women. We are slowly but surely making UWEAL a power house for women in business and have over the years built the confidence of government and development partners in seeing us as the mouthpiece of women in business in Uganda.