Press Releases

World Bank Group Studies Highlight Women’s Economic Potential in Kenya

In Washington, D.C.
Mark Blackden

Phone: +1 (202) 473-7555


Amanda Ellis

Phone: +1 (202) 473-1028


Nairobi, Kenya, May 31, 2006—In two recent studies, the World Bank Group praises Kenya’s government for the advances it has made in improving the situation of women. The full economic potential of Kenyan women, however, can be further unleashed through the continued removal of legal, regulatory, and legislative barriers to business. This will have the added benefit of accelerating the country’s economic growth. The Gender and Economic Growth Assessment finds that Kenya could gain between 2.0 to 3.5 percentage points of GDP growth per year by addressing gender inequalities.

The studies, Gender and Economic Growth Assessment and Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya, were commissioned by the Kenyan Ministry of Trade and Industry and conducted by IFC and the World Bank.

“Gender inequality is a serious economic issue in Kenya. Addressing it will improve the situation of women, families, and society as a whole,” said David Nalo, the Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. World Bank Country Manager Colin Bruce added, “The Kenyan government has been quick to act on the recommendations on gender and economic growth. The Ministry of Trade and Industry’s first Private Sector Development Strategy 2006-2010 already incorporates important gender considerations.”

The study Gender and Economic Growth Assessment in Kenya underscores the importance of addressing legislative and cultural issues and draws on international best practice. Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya is a complementary tool for advocacy and is based on a series of interviews with women business owners. The two reports are the result of extensive consultations with both public and private sector stakeholders.

One of the main findings of the reports is a lack of training of female business owners and government officials on effective strategies to push for reforms. The issue will be tackled during a Gender and Economics Workshop that is being hosted by the World Bank Group in Nairobi on May 29-31. The World Bank Group will also deliver training to help local women’s and private sector groups further enhance Kenya’s gender and economic growth agenda.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.  For more information, visit