Washington, D.C.
May 8, 2023

WEConnect International, USAID, and IFC Partner to Host Regional Conference to Promote Women Business Development


Washington, D.C. — Monday, May 8th, 2023 — WEConnect International, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Kenya Small Business Development Centers Program (Kenya SBDC), and IFC Sourcing2Equal Kenya program, will host Africa’s premier hybrid event for women business owners and multinational buyers on May 17 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Africa Regional Conference is expected to attract over 300 attendees, including member buyers, women business owners, government officials, and partner organizations, and will be held at the Strathmore University Auditorium from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Conference will focus on gender-inclusive sourcing for women business owners and multinational buyers in key markets, including South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Under this year’s theme, “Impact Through Connection: Increasing Trade Through Regional and Global Value Chains,” the event will bring buyers and sellers together from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to highlight how women-owned businesses in Africa can grow on a continental and global scale.

Lucy Maingi, Gender Advisor of Kenya SBDC program, said, “When we empower a woman, we empower the whole community, and Kenya SBDC is keen on working to ensure effective inclusion and participation of women-owned businesses by creating an enabling environment where both global and local markets are accessible.

Anne Kabugi, Regional Gender Lead – Africa at IFC, said, “By helping businesses to work with more women-owned SMEs and supporting women entrepreneurs to be procurement ready, we can break down gender barriers and support more small businesses to grow. This event is an important part of this work because it brings stakeholders across the procurement ecosystem to learn from one another and create new partnerships.”

Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, said, “African women-owned businesses have the skills and tenacity to thrive in a complex world. WEConnect International and its member buyers are determined to ensure women suppliers in Africa have equal access to the business opportunities they need to rise to the challenge.”

The conference will create connectivity between women-owned businesses, member buyers, and leaders across sectors to enhance greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing. 


About WEConnect International

WEConnect International is a member-led, global non-profit that brings motivated, large corporate, multilateral, and government buyers together with qualified women-owned suppliers worldwide. It works with over 180 multinational member buyers, with over $3 trillion in annual purchasing power combined, that have committed to sourcing more products and services from women-owned businesses based in over 140 countries. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies Women’s Business Enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. Learn more about WEConnect here.


About USAID’s Kenya Small Business Development Centers Program

The Kenya Small Business Development Centers (Kenya SBDC) is a program by USAID, implemented by Strathmore University Business School, that aims to promote public and private sector-led development to enable SMEs to fully participate in the economy and create jobs. The program seeks to establish an accredited network of Kenyan Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Centers with the support of the National and County Governments, Private Sector, Institutions of Higher Learning, Business Associations, and other Not-For-Profit Organizations. More information about the program can be found at https://sbs.strathmore.edu/ksbdc.


About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create needs and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2022, IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

For More Information, Contact:

Margaret Mutheu,

Regional Director for Africa, WEConnect International


Mobile: +254 724 821 670