Mainstreaming gender in all spheres of the national endeavours is a key goal of the Government being implemented by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia asserts.
Prof Kobia made these remarks in her keynote address during the launch of Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), strategy on investing with a Gender Lens held at a Nairobi hotel.
Appreciating the intervention of international development organizations and other stakeholders on pulling women into economic engagement, Prof Kobia stated that more need to be done to remove barriers hindering women’s participation in development’
She added that in many African countries, women are still subject to legal or customary restrictions engaging in employment, entering into contracts, accessing credit, opening bank accounts, and owning property.
“To build future economies that are inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity through strategies of inclusive growth, job creation, increasing agricultural production; investments in science, technology, research and innovation; gender equality, youth empowerment and the provision of basic services including health, nutrition, education, shelter, water and sanitation,” Prof Kobia Stated.
The Cabinet Secretary further stated that the Government recognizes the need for setting policies and programs that promote gender equality and women empowerment to ensure their full participants in every development process.
To this end, Prof CS Kobia cited setting up affirmative funds that have made great impact on the welfare of women in Kenya withy over Ksh 21 billion disbursed to women, youth and persons with disabilities.
Noting that 70 percent of the women-led enterprises are in the agriculture sector, CS Kobia affirmed that the funds have catalysed the entrepreneurial spirit of Kenyan women who have established viable and innovative enterprises spread across the country.
She pointed out some women led enterprises in the agriculture value chain include; Aloe Vera production in Taita Taveta; Sunflower and Soya bean production in Kakamega; Passion fruit production in Kericho; Fish cage farming in Homa Bay; Sesame processing in Siaya and Pig production in Kirinyaga.
On his part, AECF Board Chair Lord Paul Boateng, stated that rural economy holds the key to sustainable economic growth thus the need to empower women who are its movers.
Others who addressed the conference were Department for International Development (DFID), Food and Agricultural Advisor Karen Johnson and Canada Global Affairs Senior Development Officer Susan Learoyd.