Request For Proposal – Terms Of Reference- Mali Policy Liaison Advisor

 1.0         About AECF

The AECF is a leading development finance organization that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, and leverage investments to build resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalized communities in Africa. AECF’s goal is to bridge the investment gap between early-stage enterprises and business maturity for entrepreneurs serving the poorest communities.

The AECF provides patient capital to new and innovative business models in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa through various financing instruments, which include grants, zero-interest loans, guarantees, and working capital facilities. AECF’s financing products are supplemented by three additional growth support services to improve the viability and sustainability of our investees, namely, (i) Advisory Services to improve investee internal capabilities (ii) Investment Support in raising commercial capital in significant volumes, and (iii) Knowledge and Insights for learning and evidence gathering for policy influencing and advocacy.

AECF has successfully implemented programmes across 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), supporting over 343 enterprises, raising US$ 392 million in funding for programmes, leveraging $750 million in additional capital, and impacting 28 million lives.

The AECF 2021-2025 new strategy objective is to build resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalized communities in Africa. Through catalytic funding, the AECF surfaces and supports the commercialization of new ideas, business models, companies, and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, expand energy access, and alleviate poverty while also addressing the cross-cutting themes of women and youth.

2.0 Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies in Sub Saharan Africa (REACT SSA) Programme

REACT SSA is a Sida-funded programme supporting the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the energy needs of rural communities. The target countries include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Somalia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

About 510 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) currently have no access to electricity and will not get grid access, resulting in a steady increase in the number of people without electricity until at least 2025. The slow progress and prohibitive cost of conventional solutions to the household energy crisis mean that cheaper and more accessible new clean technologies offer a better chance of improved access to energy for rural households. Over the last decade, clean energy technologies have become more economical than conventional generation for many applications, and although the regulatory environment to facilitate their application has improved, there is a need for strong renewable energy private sector voices to influence decision-making around policies, laws, and regulations that impact the industry.

The AECF’s engagement in the energy sector under REACT SSA is designed to catalyze the private sector to increase the supply of cleaner fuels, raise awareness of the dangers of indoor air pollution, demonstrate how new knowledge in renewable energy technologies can be put into practice in ways that benefit the poor, especially women, and provide evidence on challenges in policy formulation and implementation.

3.0         Background to the assignment

A key objective of the AECF Policy and Advocacy department is to strengthen National Renewable Energy Associations’ (NREAs) advocacy capacity, to enable them to resolutely represent the collective interests of their members.

One of the NREAs we are supporting is the Malian Federation of Electricity, Energy, Renewable, and New Energies (FENEM), a Federation bringing together four associations in the energy sector in Mali, namely:

  • The Association of Solar Professionals (APS)
  • The Malian Association for the Protection of the Environment and Renewable Energies (AMPERE)
  • The Association of Operators of Rural Electrification Services (OSER), and,
  • Mali, Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (M-ACC).

FENEM’s key objective is to ensure the representation of all companies and associations in the electricity, energy, renewable energy, and new energies sector.

Mali has a strong[1] penetration of RE technologies, especially solar, with the national access to electricity at 48%, while rural access is at 15% in 2019[2]. However, access to clean cooking is extremely limited at 1%, with an estimated 20 million people lacking access to clean cooking[3]. Mali is ranked as a High Impact Country (HIC) for electricity access and clean cooking and is one of the 14 countries contributing to the top 80% of the challenge globally[4].

3.1 Outline of key policy and regulatory issues

The AECF and GOGLA have been engaging with FENEM to deliberate on key policy and regulatory constraints impacting the Renewable Energy enabling environment. So far, FENEM has indicated the key constraints for the RE sector are outlined below:

  1. Access to finance for local companies:

FENEM has indicated that accessing commercial credit for the RE sector in Mali has been limited. Whilst there have been programmes put in place by the government and development partners to increase access to credit for SMEs, this has not resulted in a marked increase in access to credit for the renewable energy sector. Some of the mechanisms in place e.g., the Private Sector Guarantee Fund (FGSP); Green Climate Fund, and the Investment Fund of Local Authorities (FICT).

Available data from the World Bank’s enterprise surveys conducted in Mali over the last decade suggests that there has been an improvement in firms’ access to credit. However, the share of Malian firms reporting to have a loan or line of credit increased steadily from 10 percent in 2007 to reach 26 percent in 2016[5].

Increased credit availability has not translated into increased access to credit for SMEs in the RE sector. This could largely be attributed to:

  • A low level of awareness and understanding of the RE sector, and insufficient documentation to inform appropriate investment[6]
  • Governments across SSA have focused largely on grid access, thus dedicated RE policy or regulatory instruments have not been developed or popularized.[7]
  • Political instability: since 2012, Mali has experienced instability and conflict impacting the confidence of investors who could provide commercial credit to the RE sector[8].
  • SMEs within SSA are considered riskier to lend, and therefore more financially constrained. In addition, financing SMEs is rated as riskier than for large firms across the globe[9].

FENEM seeks to determine the key policy and regulatory changes which may be considered to increase access to finance for RE SMEs. The key asks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a dedicated guarantee fund for the RE SMEs administered efficiently and transparently.
  • Direct lending by the public sector, potentially channeled through partnerships with development actors, to support their growth, and improve the likelihood, that as they mature, they can be deemed to be creditworthy for commercial capital available.
  • FENEM is open to considering other policy or regulatory options for advocacy, which may improve access to finance for the RE sector.
  1. Renewable Energy, and the energy sector as an enabler for key energy nexus sectors in Mali including agriculture, education, manufacturing, transport, and health.

Growing economies across SSA are increasingly considering the energy sector as an enabler of economic development. Globally, there is extensive evidence demonstrating the value of implementing an integrated approach through the lens of various energy nexuses, and with a particular interest in how the RE sector contributes to meeting the global emission reduction goal of 50% by 2050[10].

In Mali, there are, key policy and regulatory instruments for the energy sector, however, there has not been a deliberate focus on how the RE sector can be supported to facilitate the various energy nexuses. Key policy and regulatory instruments include:

  1. Electricity Ordinance Amendment No. 00-015/P-RM, 2005, and its Implementing Decree No. 00-184/P-RM of 14 April 2000, which liberalized the energy sector including production, transmission, and distribution of traditional functions of the sector.
  2. Law No. 05-019 of 30 May 2005 amending Ordinance No. 00-19/P-RM of 15 March 2000 on the organization of the electricity sector.
  3. National Energy Policy 2006.
  4. Renewable Energy Agency Act, ordinance No. 2014-012.

These policy instruments, while dated, do not consider the role of the renewable energy sector as a catalyst for the energy nexuses including agriculture, education, transport, manufacturing, and health. Whereas this is not unique to Mali, FENEM would like to advocate the improvement of key policy and regulatory instruments to support the key energy nexus sectors to:

  • Stimulate an innovative approach to advocating increased uptake of RE technologies across the energy nexuses.
  • Outline key policy and regulatory instruments which would need to be reviewed or developed to facilitate the integration of renewable energy across the planning across the energy nexuses.
  • Propose an action plan to advocate the energy nexus approach in improving the policy and regulatory frameworks.
  • Contribute to accelerating the economic development, and reduction of Co2 emissions.

4.0 The assignment  

The AECF seeks to recruit a Policy Liaison Advisor in Mali to support the Policy and Advocacy Manager to support FENEM to conduct a brief policy and regulatory study to develop a policy brief addressing the two key issues proposed by FENEM. The Advisor will be required to:

  • Undertake a desk review to articulate the two key issues, and position them for FENEM to advocate.
  • Engage key stakeholders to document the gaps in the policy and regulatory frameworks to support FENEM to position their advocacy.
  • In consultation with FENEM, GOGLA, and the AECF develop a policy brief for engagement
  • Facilitate key forums with stakeholders to secure an industry position, and advocate uptake of the policy brief by decision-makers.
  • Provide technical advice to FENEM to support the uptake of the recommendations outlined in the policy brief.
  • Support the development of a coalition of actors to support FENEM’s advocacy and facilitate the formation of a functional working group to be managed by FENEM and supported by GOGLA and the AECF.
  • Additional tasks to develop subsequent policy proposals and provide targeted support to FENEM will be assigned separately, through a Statement of Work (SoW).

Roles and responsibilities

The Policy Liaison Advisor will be required to engage with FENEM, GOGLA, and the AECF to develop an appropriate policy brief to position FENEM’s advocacy on access to finance and energy as an enabler for economic development, specifically positioning the energy nexuses. The advisor will report to the AECF Policy and Advocacy Manager.

The key roles and responsibilities include:

  1. Initial meeting with FENEM, GOGLA, and the AECF to agree on a suitable work plan to develop the policy brief, and present this to key stakeholders.
  2. Undertake a limited desk review to develop a draft policy brief for discussion and agreement with FENEM, GOGLA, and the AECF.
  3. Conduct key informant interviews with key stakeholders, in consultation with FENEM.
  4. Facilitate a stakeholders’ forum with the members of FENEM, and key development partners to agree on an industry position, on access to finance and the renewable energy sector as an enabler for economic development, and the achievement of the relevant SDGs.
  5. Facilitate a round table discussion, to be organized by FENEM with key policy and decision-makers to present the industry position and secure agreements on low-hanging fruit for subsequent advocacy engagements.
  6. Develop an action plan for the FENEM to advocate the improvements to the RE sector, on the two key issues.
  7. Provide technical advice to FENEM to implement the proposed action plan.
  8. Support FENEM to develop and implement a functional working group to support this advocacy.
  9. Additional tasks to develop subsequent policy briefs, and subsequent advocacy engagements will be assigned in consultation with the AECF Policy and Advocacy Manager through a SoW.

5.0 Deliverables and timing

This assignment is expected to be implemented over the period of one year for 26 days broken down as follows:

  • Limited research and development of an appropriate policy brief – 10 days
  • Technical advice to FENEM, 4 days per quarter

Subsequent assignments will be issued through a SoW to be agreed upon with the Policy and Advocacy Manager. The key deliverables for this assignment include:

  1. Draft policy brief for review and agreement with FENEM, GOGLA, and the AECF.
  2. Facilitate a stakeholders’ forum in collaboration with FENEM to agree on an industry position.
  3. Revised policy brief outlining the industry position.
  4. Presentation of the policy brief to decision-makers for consideration and agreement on a suitable way forward.
  5. Develop an action plan based on the agreements made with key decision-makers.
  6. Formation of a working group to support the RE sector advocate the agreed reforms.
  7. Technical Advice, as documented through an engagement tracker or meeting notes with FENEM.
  8. Policy briefs as assigned by the Policy and Advocacy manager.

6.0 Payment structure

The payment breakdown below will be milestone-based, against the Assignment deliverables, and will be made upon satisfactory signoff by AECF. It is expected that this assignment will require a total of 26 working days over a period of a year. Additional advocacy assignments will be assigned separately, through a SoW. The payments will be made upon submission of timesheets and appropriate deliverables.

7.0 Proposal submission

To submit a proposal to conduct this assignment, the following is required:

  • Qualifications of the consultant demonstrating that they:
    1. Have at least 10 years of work experience supporting the renewable energy sector, particularly advocating policy, and regulatory reforms.
    2. Have a bachelor’s degree in energy, public policy, economics, business, or related courses.
    3. Demonstrated knowledge of Mali’s renewable energy sector, and particularly have relationships with key stakeholders in the sector.
    4. Provide evidence to demonstrate the capacity to deliver high-quality reports or policy briefs.
  • A proposal on how to carry out the assignment and indicative timelines to deliver the assignment (Not exceeding 5 pages).
  • A financial proposal to deliver this assignment.
  • Technical and financial proposals must be submitted as separate documents in English.

8.0 Pricing

AECF is obliged by the Kenyan tax authorities to withhold taxes on service contract fees as well as ensure VAT, at 14%, is charged where applicable. Applicants are advised to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their tax position with regards to provisions of Kenya tax legislation when developing their proposals.

9.0 Evaluation Criteria

An evaluation committee will be formed by the AECF and shall include employees. All members will be bound by the same standards of confidentiality. The consultant should ensure that 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 such clarifications in evaluating proposals.

In deciding the final selection of qualified bidders, the technical quality of the proposal will be given a weighting of 75% 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 25% and the proposals will be ranked in terms of total points scored.

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


1.      An understanding of the terms of reference
Demonstrate understanding of the assignment and expected outcomes.10
1.2Demonstrated RE policy and advocacy experience in Mali10
2.      Methodology and work plan that will deliver the best value on the assignment 
Demonstrate the capacity to deliver the task in a timely and efficient manner.

Demonstrate access to relevant sources on the ground (local/regional databases and human intelligence) that are credible, reliable, and independent.

Demonstrate the best and most practical approach to the assignment.

Provide a work plan on the key deliverables.

3.      Qualification and Experience 
The consultant shall demonstrate past relevant experience to be evaluated based on the quality and appropriateness of previous related assignments.10


Demonstrate relevant experience in conducting similar engagements. Provide evidence of similar previous experience including a reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments; specification of reporting capabilities; provide samples of reports previously developed.30
B.     FINANCIAL PROPOSAL: Clarity, relevance, reality to market value/ value for money of cost for the assignment (inclusive of any applicable tax, reimbursable, and travel).30
 Total Score100


10.0 Application

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

  • AECF invites qualified consultants/firms to send a proposal presented in English to, clearly marked “Terms of Reference for an AECF Mali Policy Liaison Advisor” to be received no later than 3rd June 2022 at 1700 Hrs East Africa Time (GMT +3) addressed to: The AECF, Procurement Department.
  • All clarifications and or questions should be sent to


11.0 Disclaimer

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.


[1] Accessed in April 2022

[2] Accessed in April 2022

[3]  Accessed in April 2022

[4] Accessed in April 2022

[5]   World Bank, Promoting Access to Finance and Income Generating Opportunities in Mali Project, April 2020

[6] Accessed in April 2022

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid,3.

[9] Quartey et al. University of Ghana. Financing the growth of SMEs in Africa: What are the constraints to SME financing within ECOWAS? Review of Development Finance 7 (2017) 18–28.

[10] Raihan A. and Tuspekova A. (2022) Energy Nexus Vol 6 (2022). The nexus between economic growth, renewable energy use, agricultural land expansion, and carbon emissions: New insights from Peru.

About AECF

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a leading development finance organisation that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs and leverage investments in order to create resilience and sustainable incomes in rural and marginalised communities in Africa. Launched in 2008, AECF has invested in 292 businesses across more than 40 value chains and 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We focus specifically on agribusiness, renewable energy and climate technologies, while also addressing the cross-cutting themes of gender, youth and fragile contexts. In just over a decade, we have impacted more than 27.7 million lives, created close to 24,000 jobs, and leveraged over US $740 million in matching funds. AECF is headquartered in Kenya, with offices in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.