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Kenya vows to step up efforts to increase women empowerment

10 August 2016, 17:36

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Kenya has vowed to accelerate efforts to increase women empowerment in order to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Sicily Kariuki, told a women business forum in Nairobi that Kenya has a strong position on gender equality, which underscores full attainment of the rights of women as well as the elimination of discrimination and violence against women.

"Women economic empowerment will directly benefit the country in that economically empowered women are able to uplift their families. They will have access to better education for their children, improved health and nutrition, and general poverty eradication," Kariuki said during the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) inaugural Global Women Summit.

Kenya is now the third African country after South Africa and Rwanda to launch the Global Women Summit. The summit was created to strengthen women and families worldwide in order to achieve women's empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Government data indicates that women-owned businesses account for over 48 percent of all Small and Medium Enterprises, which contribute about 20 percent of Kenyan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Ministry of Public Service estimates also show that 85 percent of women-owned businesses are in the informal business sector.

The CS said that achieving economic empowerment of women requires sound macroeconomic and social policies, a holistic approach and long-term commitments created under a gender specific lens.

Kariuki said the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) provides accessible credit to women to start and or expand businesses.

"The government has disbursed 32 million U.S. dollars since inception to over one million women beneficiaries and 64, 000 groups," she said. 

- Xinhua


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