Affirmative action on government procurement opportunities in Kenya

February 19, 2018

Hivos East Africa has released the findings of a study that was commissioned to analyze the impact of the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) initiative. AGPO seeks to empower women, youth and persons with a disability through public procurement business opportunities by giving these groups 30 per cent of all procurement initiatives without competition from established firms. This was in initiated in 2013 by a directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The key findings of the report show that only 7.7 per cent of contracts over 5 million shillings are being awarded to AGPO registered firms.  There has been a 71 per cent increase in the annual revenue of youth owned enterprises, a 70 per cent increase in job creation and 82 per cent increase in the number of youth owned enterprises as a result of the AGPO initiative. The major beneficiaries of AGPO are in Nairobi, which records the highest number of AGPO registered firms at 67 per cent. This is followed by Mombasa county (6 per cent) and Kiambu county (5 per cent).

The research also presented findings on the challenges inhibiting the realization of the AGPO goals. These include lack of understanding of the bidding process, lack of invoice funding to fund tenders, late payments after delivery and most contracts being Nairobi-centric. Additionally, most of the tenders over 5 million are for construction-related businesses, while most AGPO firms are registered in the services sector, specifically trade. Conflicts of interest between public officials and AGPO firm owners were established with exploitation of youth and persons with disabilities to win tenders.

Speaking during the launch, Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director, Ms. Mendi Njonjo, stated, “It will take partnerships, commitment, unrelenting courage and boldness to reach our noble goals through the AGPO initiative. We are up against real battles. Battles against old corrupt orders, political patronage, lack of proper controls, wastefulness, mismanagement, inefficiency, power and control over public funds, conflicts of interest, oversight requirements consistently flouted with no accountability, among other mighty giants of progress.”

The report has recommendations on how to strengthen transparency and accountability in public contracting to improve the efficiency of public procurement in Kenya and ensure better value for money for both citizens and governments.

These findings come at a time when reports are emerging of public contracting and procurement anomalies occurring within the Nairobi City County Government. At the heart of the reported issues lie lack of transparency and public accountability in the use of public funds for the procurement of public goods and services.

Watch the video below to get some of the views from AGPO beneficiaries


About Open Contracting

Hivos is implementing a project called Civic Engagement for Open Contracting. The project’s overall objective is to improve financial efficiency of public spending, get governments to deliver better value for money, as well as create a more equitable and favourable business environment for a thriving private sector.