UN roots for inclusive procurement rules to spur Kenya's growth

NAIROBI, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Tuesday pledged support for inclusive and transparent procurement processes in order to spur resilient economic growth in Kenya.

Speaking at a forum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, senior UNOPS officials said extending tendering opportunities to local start-ups will be key to attaining key sustainable development goals, including poverty eradication, gender parity, and climate resilience.

Rainer Frauenfeld, director of UNOPS Kenya Multi-Country Office, observed that multilateral institutions based in Kenya are committed to the ideals of inclusiveness and sustainability in their procurement systems as part of their contribution to the country's long-term growth. "Sustainable procurement can be an enabler for resilient growth in Kenya, and that is why it is crucial to provide capacity to local businesses keen to apply for tenders with multilateral agencies."

Convened by the UNOPS, the day-long forum in Nairobi brought on board policymakers, representatives of UN agencies, and budding entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities that inclusive procurement could unleash on the local economy. In particular, participants noted that providing tenders to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could accelerate economic growth, spur indigenous manufacturing, revitalize local supply chains, and create jobs for the youth.

Kenya is ranked the 13th largest supplier country to the United Nations globally amid a boost to local start-ups drawn from diverse sectors like agriculture, construction, hospitality, real estate, and financial services, said Anne-Claire Howard, director of UNOPS Procurement Group.

According to Howard, Kenya should leverage procurement opportunities from the UN system to spur growth and include women, youth, and the disabled in mainstream economic activities.

Susan Mang'eni, principal secretary in the State Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said the government has come up with fiscal and regulatory incentives to boost the capacity of local suppliers to win tenders advertised by multilateral institutions.

Mang'eni noted that by providing them with seed capital and technical expertise, local start-ups will be well-positioned to supply goods and services to multilateral development institutions.

She reiterated the government's commitment to the growth of SMEs that contribute about 40 percent to the country's gross domestic product and 80 percent of employment through market linkages and digitization.

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