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Azeri Agricultural Finance Facility (AzAFF): Technical Co-operation Program

 | Published January 30, 2015  -  Deadline February 27, 2015

Assignment Background: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD or the Bank) is launching the Azerbaijan Agricultural Finance Facility (AzAFF) or the Facility) to support the current drive to develop agriculture in the country. This is in line with its strategy to help promote market-driven economic diversification, including a special emphasis on the agricultural sector and support to local banks in developing their capacity to increase agrilending. In 2014, the Bank commissioned a diagnostic study on the Azerbaijan agricultural sector and assessment of the opportunities for increasing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ (MSMEs’) access to finance. Despite various persisting bottlenecks and issues, a promising combination of factors has the potential to make agriculture a strong backbone of the national economy. In absolute terms, the agricultural sector in Azerbaijan has grown at an average annual rate of 13.1% from 2005 to 2013. Despite this growth, the relative share of agriculture in the overall economy has continued to decline, mainly due to faster growth observed in the oil and gas sector. The Bank will provide credit lines up to a maximum of USD 40 million in total to eligible Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) for on-lending to farmers and other entities in the agricultural sector. It is envisaged that the Facility will be combined with a portfolio-based, risk-sharing mechanism and a capacity building technical cooperation (TC) programme for PFIs, with links to the EBRD’s Small Business Support (SBS) programme, to increase the direct impact of the Facility. It is expected that ca. 6 banks will participate in the Facility. Assignment Scope: The Bank wishes to engage a Consultant to provide specialist consultancy services in various aspects of agrilending to eligible PFIs and selected entities with agriculture as a focus. This will include the design of robust credit products tailored to agricultural seasonal finance as well as a general upgrading of skills across the sector. The components of the TC assignment shall include: PFIs: Tailored TC interventions aimed at sustainable credit mechanisms to enable PFIs to develop and deliver financial products and services tailored to farmers and other entities with agriculture as a focus – Institutional capacity building. Services shall include: (i) Develop and implement comprehensive organisational capacity building measures and agricultural lending skills, procedures and strategies tailored to the needs of PFIs; (ii) Develop, test and deliver new agrilending products specifically tailored to the target group and optimize existing products; (iii) Introduce innovative financing schemes and delivery channels; (iv) Provide training and coaching (including train-the-trainer) to specifically address the target group needs and with a view to ensuring the sustainability of the training process; (v) Assist PFIs in marketing and outreach to the target group. Sub-borrowers: Training and advisory services will be provided as follows: (i) Financial literacy training to farmers concentrated in the regions with the highest agricultural potential; (ii) Workshops to introduce advanced farming techniques and international best practices in selected sub-sectors in regions with specialization in those sub-sectors; (iii) Specific technical assistance to selected eligible recipients of agricultural loans above AZN 300k. The Consultant will also be expected to: (i) Facilitate activities between PFIs and SBS during which referral services will be provided to farmers and other entities and implement other measures to ensure synergies between stakeholders; (ii) Provide general Programme management support functions, including risk sharing claims and administration functions, visibility measures and consolidated reporting. Status of Selection Process: Interested firms or groups of firms are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest. Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in April 2015, and have an estimated duration of 36 months. Cost Estimate for the Assignment: EUR 1,600,000 (exclusive of VAT). Subject to availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank, the Assignment may be extended beyond the current scope. The consultant must determine whether any VAT would be chargeable on the services and the basis for that determination, without taking into consideration the Bank's special status as an IFI and state this to the Bank in their response to the Invitation for Expressions of Interest. To the extent that a consultant incurs input VAT on goods and services purchased in connection with the provision of services (e.g. VAT on airline ticket) which is not otherwise recoverable by the consultant from the local tax authority, the gross cost to the consultant of such expenses shall be treated as a reimbursable expense. Funding Source: The expected source of funding for the Assignment is the European Neighbourhood Investment Facility (EU NIF). The Assignment may be extended beyond the current scope subject to the availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank. Eligibility: There are no eligibility restrictions. Consultant Profile: Corporate services are required. The Consultant should be a firm or a consortium of firms with: - Proven, substantial and a strong track record in the development and implementation of agricultural lending; - Ability to implement multi-faceted TC projects of similar size, complexity and duration; - Demonstrable skills and abilities to work particularly with farmers and other agricultural entities through banks and directly; - Experience in the design and marketing of tailored agricultural loan products; - Experience in delivering training courses in agrilending; - Experience in use of credit scoring as a decision-making tool; - Experience of developing value chains and value chain finance; - Access to technical agronomic expertise; - Experience of cooperative and other group type lending; - Relevant experience in implementation of agricultural lending in emerging markets and similar operating environments; - Team members’ fluency in Russian and/or Azeri. An office presence in Azerbaijan will be required for the whole duration of the Assignment. It is expected that the Consultant’s team of key experts will consist of the following key experts: Key Expert 1: Project Manager: Proven track record (at least 10 years) in successfully managing the implementation of Agricultural MSME lending schemes at commercial banks and microfinance institutions, including in managing multi country/complex programmes; excellent communication , training, presentation and linguistic skills; Proven experience in negotiating with third parties including banks, associations, ministries, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders on behalf of International Financial Institutions; proven track record in agricultural lending product development that addresses the gaps in terms of access to products/services; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage. Key Expert 2: International and Local Agrilending Expert(s) – Comprehensive experience in supporting the design and implementation of efficient and sustainable agricultural lending operations; ability to deliver intensive training and coaching programmes for local experts, loan officers and other banks staff in agricultural lending methodologies with a view to ensuring the sustainability of the training processes; Experience in designing a range of loan products tailored to various agricultural output and to different sizes of borrowers taking into consideration seasonality; experience in value chain finance; possession of analytical, facilitation and communications skills; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage. It is envisaged that the expert(s) will be directly liaising with PFIs on an ongoing basis. Key Expert 3: Agronomist(s) – Successful experience in implementation of modern agronomic techniques aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of the produce in the region; hands on international experience as an agronomist with a proven track record in successfully providing agronomic consultancy services and ability to provide a clear perspective for agricultural reform/diversification; This may include experience in training local agronomists; fostering contacts between research institutes, government departments and private farmers and other agricultural entities; rebuilding and restructuring of linkages (value chains) between agro-businesses and farmers, identifying potential Extension Service; conducting farm analysis, updating/developing technical cards (crop budgets), reviews of production mechanisms, as well as extension activities at service provider level. Key Expert 4: Senior IT & MIS Specialist - Practical experience in helping commercial banks in emerging markets. All experts should have at least five years’ experience in providing consultancy services to commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments and in implementing Agricultural MSME lending schemes. Experts will be expected to be fluent in English. Local language skills will constitute a significant advantage. Any recent experience in the Azeri agricultural sector and/or in the region will constitute an advantage. Other sub sector specialists may form part of the assignment. Certain tasks may be outsourced (sub-contracted) to other firms/ specialists (specifically in regards to technical assistance to selected eligible recipients of large agricultural loans), but the lead firm shall remain the overall responsible party. Submission Requirements: In order to determine the capability and experience of consulting firms, the information submitted should include the following: a) Brief overview of the firm/group of firms including company profile, organisation and staffing. b) Details of required experience of firm or group of firms and related assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contract value, contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, percentage carried out by consultant in case of association of firms or subcontracting, main activities, objectives; c) CVs of key experts who could carry out the Assignment detailing qualifications, experience in similar assignments, particularly assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, main activities, objectives. d) Completed Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet, the template for which is available from the following web-link: The above information should not exceed 20 pages, excluding CVs and Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet. The complete expression of interest (including CVs and Contact Sheet) shall be one file (pdf or Word), not exceeding 4MB, to be uploaded to eSelection. The EBRD reserves the right to reject applications of firms submitting more than one file. Only if the permissible file size is exceeded, the Consultant may split the expression of interest into further files. Expressions of interest shall be submitted in English through eSelection and not directly to the contact person given below, to reach the Bank not later than the closing date for submissions indicated above. Bank Contact Person: Mr Nicola Di Pietro Principal Advisor, Technical Cooperation Team European Bank for Reconstruction and Development One Exchange Square London EC2A 2JN Tel: +44 20 7338 6329 Fax: +44 20 7338 7451 E-mail: Submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address) Note: 1. Following this invitation for Expression of Interest, a short list of qualified consultants will be formally invited to submit proposals. Consultant selection and contracting will be subject to availability of funding. 2. Evaluation of the Expressions of Interest will be based on the following criteria and their respective weightings: a) Firm’s experience in successfully managing the implementation of Agricultural lending schemes at commercial banks, including in managing multi country/complex programmes and the development and marketing of financial products 25%; b) Firm’s experience in developing tailored agricultural loan products that addresses gaps in access to access to finance and services for farmers and other entities – 25%; c) Firm’s experience working in in emerging markets and similar operating environments. Experience in Azerbaijan/ Caucasus will constitute an advantage – 10%; d) CVs of key experts with relevant experience in agricultural lending as well as primary agriculture with successful implementation of modern techniques/ technologies aimed at improving productivity as well as quality of the produce. Local language skills will constitute an advantage – 40%.
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