Unequal access to big contracts: Evidence from the AGPO Programme in Kenya

Project Women's Economic Empowerment

Public procurements make up for roughly 12% of worldwide GDP and more in low-income countries. Evidence shows that small business growth is catalysed by demand shocks generated through public procurement.

The Government of Kenya’s Access to Government Procurement Opportunities Program (AGPO) targets 30% of its procurement budget and simplifies application requirements for youth, women, and people with disabilities. UN Women, with support from the Government of Kenya, has introduced a practical handbook and implemented training sessions with businesses who subsequently reported success in securing procurement contracts. The researcher will conduct a randomised controlled trial to causally identify the effect of these interventions on community-level outcomes such as employment opportunities; education and health investments; and gender equity beliefs.

Among other uses, the research findings will be useful for understanding the community-level impact of improved access to procurement opportunities for under-privileged businesses.