Request for proposal: Terms of reference : Consultancy for a General Business Strategist to support portfolio investees across Sub-Saharan Africa – February 2024

1.0  The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) transforms lives by providing investment funding and technical assistance to commercially viable businesses that improve the lives of rural communities. It mobilizes donor funding to support early and growth-stage businesses in agriculture and renewable and clean energy sectors, focusing on improving incomes and employment for rural and marginalized groups. It is a non-profit organization headquartered in Nairobi with operational centers in Somalia, Ethiopia, Dar-es-Salaam, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Côte d’Ivoire.

We surface and commercialize new ideas, business models, and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmer incomes, expand clean energy access, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve resilience to the effects of climate change while also addressing the crosscutting themes of women, youth, and fragility. AECF is committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go.

Since our launch in 2008 at the World Economic Forum, AECF has built the resilience of rural and marginalized communities by catalyzing innovative private sector business models with patient capital and growth support services across Sub-Saharan Africa.

2.0  REACT Sub-Saharan Africa

REACT Sub-Saharan Africa (REACT SSA) is a Swedish International Development Authority (Sida) funded programme that provides financing and technical assistance to innovative renewable energy businesses/ business ideas across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The programme commenced in November 2017 and will run for five years in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Somalia, with a regional component to support technical assistance, advocacy, and learning activities.

REACT SSA is expected to catalyze the private sector by supporting transformative business models to accelerate access to low-cost, clean energy, i.e., cleaner fuels, cookstoves, alternatives to grid power, including stand-alone solar home systems, solar lanterns for lighting and charging mobile phones and decentralized mini and microgrids.

The programme supports activities demonstrating how new knowledge in renewable energy technologies can be implemented to benefit the poor, especially women. It will also provide an evidence base to address policy challenges concerning renewable energy uptake in participating countries. These include inadequate legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks; lack of funds to expand rural electrification programmes; pricing distortions that are disadvantageous to renewables; high upfront capital costs and financial institution reticence to clean energy lending and limited relevant skills and expertise.

2.1  REACT SSA Somalia and Somaliland

The REACT SSA Somalia and Somaliland programme, a component of REACT SSA, is a fund that seeks to reduce poverty through a transformational increase in the use of renewable energy by off-grid households in the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Somaliland. This programme aims to promote private sector investment and innovation in low-cost clean energy and climate change catalyzed at scale.

The specific objectives of the fund are:

  1. Support transformational business models adapted to the target markets to accelerate access to low-cost, clean energy, i.e., cleaner fuels, cook stoves, and alternatives to grid power.
  2. Support commercially viable companies and markets in target countries, of which 25 percent will be women-owned and/or managed.
  3. Support innovative ideas that stimulate next-generation approaches in the renewable energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. Capture and disseminate lessons on how increased access to clean energy can deliver a positive impact on the rural poor, especially women and youth, through i) business models, ii) improved business environment through policy influencing and advocacy, and iii) improved business environment through crowding in, replication and copying best practice.
  5. Stimulate stakeholder engagements for an improved policy, legal, and regulatory environment for renewable energy businesses within the target countries.
  6. REACT SSA Somalia is a component of the AECF’s Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies Sub-Saharan Africa Programme (REACT SSA), a project funded by Sida.

3.0  Objective of the Assignment

The AECF is seeking the services of a consultant(s) to support up to thirteen (13) AECF’s investees in Somalia and Somaliland to;

  • Strengthen the operational functions of the investees.
  • Foster business development and marketing strategies for the investees.
  • Enhance organizational management and governance for the investees.
  • Ensure robust financial and credit management and oversight for the investees.

The assignment will be tailored for each investee based on their assessed needs. The companies are located in Mogadishu, Jubba land (Bardhere), Galmudug (Abduwaaq), Puntland (Garawe and Badhan), and Somaliland (Hargeysa).

4.0  Scope of Work

The consultant will work with The AECF and the investees’ leadership team to deliver interventions across the functions below:

4.1   Operational Functions Support:

  • The consultant will assess supply and distribution channels (upstream/downstream), including related logistics, identify key bottlenecks, and recommend strategic improvements, including cost reduction and efficiency.
  • The consultant will review, assess (design where unavailable), and implement inventory and procurement management policies and procedures for the investees.
  • The consultant will assess the operational capacity of the investees, including planning, execution, and reporting of different initiatives in the company (including the AECF-funded project), identify any barriers, and recommend appropriate solutions.
  • The consultant will assess the investees’ data management systems and processes, including data privacy and security, and recommend appropriate solutions.
  • The consultant will design and deliver a management training program focused on enhancing the operational efficiency of the investees.

4.2   Business Model Review, Sales and Marketing:

  • The consultant will develop and refine (review and improve where available) business models for the investees. The business models will consider options for revenue diversification strategies and develop a viable value proposition for each investee to create a competitive advantage in their operating market segments.
  • The consultant will guide the review, development, and implementation of a Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy for the investees.
  • The consultant will develop 3 to 5-year business plans, including improving or developing company profiles for the investees.
  • The consultant will develop and implement effective sales and marketing strategies in line with the investees’ market segments and provide related coaching and mentorship to the investees. The strategy will include critical marketing principles such as products, pricing, processes, and marketing budgets.
  • The consultant will develop and implement Customer Management Strategies and after-sales support for the investees in line with best practices.

4.3   Organizational Management and Governance:

  • The consultant will assess the investees’ organizational and governance structure, including documentation and procedures, ensuring alignment with best practices. The consultant will then identify, review, and recommend changes to key company policies for improved organizational management for the investees. Additionally, the consultant will develop a succession planning framework for organizational sustainability.
  • The consultant will assess, review, develop, and implement gender inclusion strategies to incorporate more women into leadership positions at the investees’ businesses.
  • The consultant will assess the institutional human resource capacity and develop (or improve) a human resource management plan for each investee, including implementing the relevant capacity-building measures.
  • The consultant will train the investees on effective organizational management and governance.

4.4   Financial and Credit Management:

  • The consultant will assess each investee’s financial and credit management capacity and identify key gaps.
  • The consultant will propose, develop, and implement appropriate financial and credit management strategies and policies.
  • The consultant will recommend appropriate credit and financial management systems for the investees. The recommended systems and policies are expected to support the investees in implementing financial controls for better oversight of the investee resources.
  • The consultant will conduct financial and credit management training programs for key personnel and ensure that each investee builds capacity in financial and credit management through targeted initiatives, addressing specific financial and credit management gaps for each investee.

5.0  Deliverables

5.1  Key Deliverables

The consultant will conduct the following activities:

  1. Review the preliminary needs assessment conducted by AECF
  2. Clarify and align with the investees on the needs and gaps
  3. Preparation of an Inception Report and Detailed Workplan
  4. Execution of the Assignment and Reporting

The anticipated specific deliverables for the consultant will include the following but will be validated during the preparation of the inception report:

5.1.1 Operational Functions Support

  • A comprehensive assessment report of the investees detailing the existing supply and distribution channels. The report will also include identified gaps, opportunities, recommended strategies, and an implementation plan for the recommendations. An implementation report on the executed recommendations will follow this.
  • An assessment report on the inventory and procurement management policies detailing gaps and recommendations. This report will be followed by an implementation plan and a final report on the implemented policies.
  • A comprehensive report on the operational capacity of the investees and the implemented recommendations.
  • A management training program for enhanced operational efficiency, training materials, modules, and curriculum.
  • Evaluation and feedback report on the training program’s effectiveness.

5.1.2 Business Model Review, Sales and Marketing

  • An implementation plan for business model design and review for each investee.
  • Improved or newly developed business models with a focus on revenue diversification strategies.
  • Go-to-market strategy and implementation report
  • Coaching plans and coaching materials for sales and marketing strategies.
  • A comprehensive report detailing the sales techniques developed, reviewed, or adopted for each investee, pricing strategies, and marketing budgets.
  • Customer Management Strategy and Implementation Report.

5.1.3 Organizational Management and Governance

  • A comprehensive report on the state of each investee’s management and governance policies, recommendations, implementation schedules, and investee feedback post-implementation.
  • Succession Planning Framework and Implementation Report
  • Gender Inclusion Strategy and Implementation Report.
  • A Human Resource Management Plan and Report.
  • Training programs, training materials, and modules on management and governance

5.1.4 Financial and Credit Management

  • A Credit Management Framework/Strategy for each investee and implementation report
  • Financial Management Training/Implementation Strategy
  • A report on the recommended systems for credit and financial management
  • A training program, training modules, and training report on financial and credit management.

6.0   Duration of Service

The assignment will be conducted over seven (7) months in Somalia and Somaliland. The assignment is expected to commence in February 2024.

7.0  Reporting

The consultant will report to the Manager Advisory Services at the AECF.

8.0  Eligible Experience

The successful consultant should have;

  • Demonstrated experience in strategic business planning focusing on business operations, business model designs, sales, and marketing, specifically in the Horn of Africa;
  • Demonstrated experience in organizational management and governance, designing and implementing gender and governance strategies across the Horn of Africa;
  • Demonstrated experience in financial and credit management with a focus on renewable energy companies;
  • A minimum of ten years in the provision of strategic advisory support to corporate or development institutions;
  • Good understanding of the Renewable Energy Sector in Somalia and Somaliland.

9.0  Evaluation Criteria

The AECF will form an evaluation committee. The same standards of confidentiality will bind all members. The consultant should ensure they fully respond to all criteria to be comprehensively evaluated.

The AECF may request and receive clarification from any consultant when evaluating a proposal. The evaluation committee may invite some or all the consultants to appear before the committee to clarify their proposals. In such an event, the evaluation committee may consider clarifications in evaluating the proposals.

In deciding the final selection of a qualified bidder, the technical proposal will be given a weighting of 70% based on the evaluation criteria. Only the financial proposal of those bidders who qualify technically will be opened. The financial proposal will be allocated a weighting of 30%, and the proposals will be ranked according to the total points scored.

The mandatory and desirable criteria against which proposals will be evaluated are identified in the table below.

An understanding of the terms of reference
   1. Demonstrate understanding of the assignment and expected outcomes. 10
Methodology and work plan that will deliver the best value on the assignment  
  1. Soundness and feasibility of the proposed technical approach and methodology that provide comprehensive assessments, reviews, recommendations, implementation findings, and analysis to the investee needs in line with each item in the Scope of Work. 20
  2. Realistic and well-structured timeline, clearly identified deliverables and milestones, and coherence with the intended Scope of Work. 10
Qualification and Experience  
  1. Qualification and experience of the consultant/team and evidence of relevant certification 10
 2. Demonstrated experience and relevant services are undertaken by the applicant in past engagements with evidence links to previous work done / completion certificate. The experience should be linked to the Scope of Work and Target Regions. Provide skill sets and expertise in aligning precisely to the Scope of Work. Please provide details of at least three (3) similar projects completed in the last( 5) years 20
 3. All the required registration and certification documents and at least 3 signed reference letters of similar work done. 10
B.     FINANCIAL PROPOSAL: Detailed showing the level of effort of the team, Clarity, relevance, and reality to market value/ value for money of cost for the assignment (inclusive of any applicable tax, reimbursable, and travel where applicable). 20
Total Score 100


10.0 Proposal submission

  • Technical and Financial proposals should be submitted as separate documents.
  • Financial proposal to be submitted in USD.
  • As per requirements in the evaluation criteria

AECF is obliged by the Kenyan tax authorities to withhold taxes on service contract fees and ensure VAT, at 16%, is charged where applicable. Applicants are advised to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their tax position with regard to provisions of Kenya tax legislation when developing their proposals.

The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The AECF considers all interested candidates based on merit without regard to race, gender, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

  • Interested consultants are requested to submit their technical and financial proposal to by 22nd February 2024, 5pm (EAT).
  • All questions should be directed to the procurement email by 14th February 2024.
  • The email’s subject should be CONSULTANCY FOR GENERAL BUSINESS STRATEGIST TO SUPPORT PORTFOLIO INVESTEES ACROSS SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA. The AECF shall not be liable for not opening proposals submitted with a different subject or responding to questions that did not meet the deadline as indicated.

AECF reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, the number of short-listed participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, the right to change this timetable at any time without notice, and reserves the right to withdraw this tender at any time, without prior notice and without liability to compensate and/or reimburse any party.

NB: The AECF does not charge an application fee for participation in the tender process and has not appointed any agents or intermediaries to facilitate applications. Applicants are advised to reach out directly to the AECF PROCUREMENT DEPARTMENT. 



Questions regarding the fund:

  1. Have AECF already invested in the companies to be consulted? Yes, AECF has already invested in Catalytic Funding in these companies.If not, when and on which platform will the call to investment announcement be publicized?
  2. What are the investee qualifying requirements? We have already recruited and invested in the companies. Would companies with a history in the renewable energy sector be given preference? What about companies owned by candidates with less formal education, especially women and youth? All companies will be supported.


Questions regarding the investees:

  1. Who are the investees (in case the fund already invested in the concerned companies). We will be sure to provide details for each of the investees prior to contracting. The investees are within the renewable energy value chain (mostly mini-grid)
  2. What is their level of maturity? Please clarify the definition of maturity. However, each of these companies has existed for more than 2 years, and they are revenue-generating. 
  3. What is their position in the renewable energy value chain ? Production and distribution.
  4. What is their size in revenues and number of full time equivalent ? Revenues are between US$150k to US$8.5Mn. 
  5. How many of the 13 investees listed in the bid notice will be in each of the six target towns/cities? For example, the number of investees chosen/will be selected from each city. We have at least one company in each of the location.
City Investee/s
Bardhera -Operations -HQ in Mogadishu 1
Abduwak 1
Mogadishu (5 investees as well the investee in bardhera have their HQ in Mogadishu. ) 5
Garawe and Badhan 3
Hargeysa 3


  1. Are there any specific areas within operational functions, business development, organizational management, and financial management that the AECF has identified as high-priority for improvement? The specific areas are listed under each item in the Scope of Work. 


Questions regarding the deliverables:

  1. How much reporting is involved in the assignment? Would the consultant be required to travel outside of Somalia/Somalia?The assignment is for companies in Somalia/Somaliland, and as such, physical presence/travel will/may be required. The AECF team is based is Nairobi, and reporting can be virtual. If yes, which countries and cities and to what extent?
  2. Should the consultant be expected to do any further duties (such as coaching, mentoring, reporting, etc.) after the project is completed in seven months? Refer to the TOR. 
  3. Regarding the duration of service, are there any specific milestones or checkpoints that the AECF expects to be met throughout the seven-month period? Based on the preliminary assessment, we shall jointly agree on the milestones and timelines. 





About AECF

AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) is a leading non-profit development organisation that supports innovative enterprises in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs.

We catalyze the private sector by surfacing and commercializing new ideas, business models and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmer incomes, expand clean energy access, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to the effects of climate change. We finance high-risk businesses that struggle to access commercial funding; we are committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go.

To date, we have supported over 400  businesses in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 30 million lives, created over 27,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $771 million in matching funds.