Malawi: CHRR Demands 30 Percent Reservation of Public Procurement for Women

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has faulted the Malawi Government for what it described as a lack of clear commitment by authorities at the seat of government at Capital Hill to enhancing the participation of women in public procurement.

The human rights watchdog has since demanded that the government should assume an affirmative action by reserving 30 percent of public procurement for women in an effort to address the glaring gender inequalities in the public procurement sector.

CHRR executive director Michael Kaiyatsa made the sentiments at the Business Women Summit, which took place at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Monday.

State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera graced the summit, which was held under the theme: Realizing Gender Responsive Procurement and Smart-Inclusive Financing.

And in his presentation titled ‘Enhancing Women’s Participation in Public Contracting’, Kaiyatsa stated that although public procurement takes up to 80 percent of the national budget, women or women-owned businesses win only one percent of contracts.

He cited the absence of specific measures targeting of women such as reservation schemes and capacity building initiatives as some of the obstacles hampering women inclusion in the sector.

“The challenges hindering women participation in public procurement include lack of adequate procurement skills by women, bureaucratic tendencies in registration and licensing and insistence by authorities on the use of previous experience and records to determine the capacity of bidders to be awarded contracts,” he said.