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Gender and Equality in Public Procurement

March 11, 2021



  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and women-led SMEs (WLSMEs) play critical roles in economic growth and development. However, the share of public procurement contracts that are won by SMEs, especially WLSMEs, remain low.  Only 1% of the $11 trillion spent annually on public procurement is awarded to women-owned businesses.

    WLSMEs face administrative, financial and procedural challenges in accessing and participating in public procurement markets, due to the complexity and costliness of procurement processes.

    Several countries are implementing policies specifically geared towards lowering barriers to entry for WLSMEs, as evidenced by the initiatives in Kenya, Senegal, and Scotland as well as initiatives taken by the World Bank’s own Corporate Procurement.


    CHAIR: Caren Grown (Gender, Global Director, World Bank) and Vinay Sharma (Global Director, Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, World Bank)

    DISCUSSANT: Hiba Tahboub, Practice Manager, Governance-Procurement, World Bank

    MODERATOR: Nazaneen Ismail Ali, Senior Procurement Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    REMARKS: Nagaraju Duthalari, Lead Procurement Speicalist, World Bank

    KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Jessica Tillipman, Assistant Dean for Government Procurement Law Studies; Government Contracts Advisory Council Professorial Lecturer in Government Contracts Law, Practice & Policy, George Washington University Law School


    Alastair Merrill, Vice-Principal, Governance at University of St Andrews

    Eric Korir, Director of Public Procurement in the National Treasury, Kenya

    Sofya Muradyan, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank

    Adam Rubinfield, Procurement Specialist, World Bank Corporate Procurement


    Welcome by Nagaraju Duthalari


    Opening Remarks from Caren Grown


    Remarks from Vinay Sharma

    8:12Nazaneen Ismail Ali introduces panelists
    8:15Jessica Tillipman
    8:30Alastair Merrill 
    8:40Hiba Tahboub asks questions to panel
    8:45Eric Korir
    8:55Sofyia Muradyan
    9:05Adam Rubinfield
    9:15Q&A Session
    9:40Hiba Tahboub provides closing remarks
    9:45Vinay Sharma provides closing remarks
    9:50Caren Grown provides closing remarks
  • Jessica Tillipman

    Assistant Dean for Government Procurement Law Studies; Government Contracts Advisory Council Professorial Lecturer in Government Contracts Law, Practice & Policy

    Jessica Tillipman is the Assistant Dean for Government Procurement Law Studies and Government Contracts Advisory Council Professorial Lecturer in Government Contracts Law, Practice & Policy. She also teaches Anti-Corruption & Compliance, a course that focuses on anti-corruption, ethics, and compliance issues in government procurement. Dean Tillipman is also a Senior Editor of the “The FCPA Blog” and co-chair of the American Bar Association, International Anti-Corruption Committee.

    Alastair Merrill

    Vice-Principal, University of St Andrews

    Alastair Merrill is a strong advocate for equality and diversity in government and business, and provides specialist advice on corporate governance, strategy development and procurement reform to a range of governments and public sector bodies worldwide. With over 35 years’ experience in a wide range of public sector, international, operational and academic settings, he is the architect of the internationally acclaimed “Scottish Model of Procurement”, pioneering the use of public contracts to encourage innovation, grow SMEs, and deliver sustainable social, local economic and environmental benefits.

    Eric Korir

    Director Public Procurement, Kenya

    Eric Korir is the Director Public Procurement in Kenya with over 25 years of experience in Supply Chain Management gained in both the public and private sectors. He holds MBA and B.A in Supply Chain management and he is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). Housed at the National Treasury, the Department of Public Procurement is responsible for public procurement and asset disposal policy formulation and part of its role is that of facilitation of affirmative action for disadvantaged groups in accordance with Constitution and advancing their participation in the procurement process.

Date & Time

  • March 11, 2021 : 8.00-10:00AM EST