1. About the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)

AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) is a leading non-profit development organization 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.

Over the course of 15 years, we have supported 425 businesses in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 31 million lives, created over 29,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $808 million in matching funds. More about AECF can be found on www.aecfafrica.org

  1. About the Investing in Women program in Benin and Burkina Faso

The Investing in Women in Benin and Burkina Faso (IIW-B&BF) is a six-year gender transformation and economic inclusion programme implemented by AECF with funding from Global Affairs Canada. The programme aims to economically empower women as entrepreneurs in sectors of activity with a high positive impact on the climate in the fields of technological innovation, digital technology, agriculture, production, processing, crafts and trade in order to remove the obstacles preventing them from contributing to the development of their activities.

The programme aims to improve the participation and economic resilience of women entrepreneurs in a greener economy in Benin and Burkina Faso. These include access to finance for women-owned SMEs, women’s cooperatives and emerging women entrepreneurs emerging women entrepreneurs; improving the capacity of women owners and managers of of SMEs and women’s cooperatives to sustainably develop the value chains in which they primarily value chains in which they mainly work, using climate-smart approaches; and overcome entrenched social and cultural resistance to women’s empowerment at national, sectoral and community levels.

The expected results of the programme are:

  • Improved performance, climate resilience and sustainability of women-owned micro, small and/or medium enterprises in a greener economy
  • Improved policy, legal and regulatory environment for effective participation of women entrepreneurs in a greener economy.

The IIW-Benin & Burkina program includes the following main elements:

  1. Window 1 part 1: Investment in SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises)

For SME concessional loans

  • Allocation of a minimum fund of 50,000 Canadian dollars
  • And a maximum amount of 750,000 Canadian dollars

For grants to SMEs (non-refundable)

  • Allocation of a minimum fund of 50,000 Canadian dollars
  • And a maximum amount of 750,000 Canadian dollars

The funding provided must have a grant/participation ratio of at least 1:0.5 (100% grant/50% participation). The AECF may, in exceptional circumstances, provide lower matching funds (1:0.25) to highly innovative or high-impact businesses, owned and led by women, who request smaller entry tickets, less than 200,000 Canadian dollars. For invested companies, counterpart contributions, which can be made in cash, can also be made in kind (up to a maximum of 75% of their counterpart for very innovative companies)

  1. Window 1 part 2: Investment in FIs (financial institutions and financial services intermediaries)

For FI concessional loans

  • Allocation of a minimum fund of 150,000 Canadian dollars
  • And a maximum amount of 750,000 Canadian dollars

For FI audited grants (non-refundable)

  • Allocation of a minimum fund of 100,000 Canadian dollars
  • And a maximum amount of 500,000 Canadian dollars

For financial institutions and financial services intermediaries (FIs), the financing range which can be a mix of grants and loans, or 100% loan is contained between a minimum of 100,000 to 1,000,000 Canadian dollars.

  • Duration of the financing agreement: 4 years

The funding provided is accompanied by a grant/participation ratio of at least 1:1 (100% grant/100% participation).

  1. Window 2: Investment in Cooperatives and Women’s Organizations
  • Allocation of a minimum fund of 75,000 Canadian dollars
  • Maximum fund amount 300,000 Canadian dollars

The funding provided has a minimum grant/participation ratio of 1:0.25 (100% grant / 25% participation).
All matching contributions may be in kind and may also be made in cash.

  • Duration of the financing agreement: 4 years

Technical assistance– IIW-Benin & Burkina will provide technical assistance on gender equality, women’s rights, business and management, climate-smart agriculture. The program will promote partnership and close coordination with multiple stakeholders. These include professional organizations, community organizations, women’s rights organizations (WROs), financial institutions (FIs), and government ministries and agencies including agriculture, gender, environment, commerce, industry among others.

  1. Purpose of the assignement

The terms of reference are developed to define the scope of work and services for the recruitment of a technical assistance provider (firm or individual consultant) who will work with the AECF team in Benin and Burkina Faso to implement specific activities to achieve the overall objectives of the project. The innovation Expert in climate smart agriculture (CSA) is expected to support also AECF in carrying out due diligence on applicants for the programme’s various funding windows.

  1. Scope of work

Under the general supervision of the Program Manager and in close consultation with the Head of Agribusiness Program, the Gender Officer and Portfolio Officers, the innovation Expert in climate smart agriculture (CSA) will undertake the following activities:

  1. Literature Review of the program documents for a better understanding of the program background and rationale
  2. Undertake the assessment of SMEs and cooperatives applying through the competition windows based on the assessment model and scoring guides developed by the program.
  3. Carry out due diligence with applicants to, among other things, verify the details provided in their applications. This due diligence will be specifically tailored to climate-smart agriculture.
  4. Identify technical support for applicants who have technical gaps.
  5. Draft the investment memorandums with all the supporting documentation attached.
  6. Draft the report on the due diligence mission to SMEs and cooperatives.
  7. Deliverables

The innovation Expert in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) will need to prepare and provide the following:

  1. Assessment of SMEs and cooperatives applying through the competition windows based on the assessment model and scoring guides developed by the program.
  2. Due diligence report for SMEs and cooperatives.
  3. Recommendations on technical support required by the investees.
  4. Investment memorandums for submission to IIRC and IC.
  5. Insight report summarizing the entire process, lessons learned, and recommendations.
  6. Duration of service

Two (2) competitions are expected to be hosted by the program in 2024. The contract to be signed will be an initial one-year contract based on the “opt-out” days required for each competition. The contract may be renewable annually based on performance against agreed milestones and deliverables.

The first due diligence assignment for window 1 will be carried out over the indicative period from 29 July to 09 August 2024.

  1. Qualifications and Experience

Interested candidates must, at a minimum, possess the following qualifications and experience:

  1. Have graduate and post-graduate diplomas in agriculture, agronomy, environmental sciences or any other relevant field of study.
  2. Have at least 10 years of experience on climate-related projects.
  3. Mastery of CSA concepts, principles and emerging technologies.
  4. Have a thorough understanding of the context of Benin or Burkina.
  5. Excellent communication and collaboration skills.
  6. Having a professional certification will be an added value.
  7. Having a good level of English would be an asset
  8. Practical Knowledge of gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in agricultural sector.
  9. Proposal submission
  • Technical and financial proposals must be submitted as separate documents.
  • The financial proposal must be submitted in CAN (Canadian Dollars).
  • Technical proposal including understanding of the mission, the country chosen for the mission, the proposed methodology, the work plan, diplomas and certifications, the up – to-date CV, reference letters (certificate of successful completion) signed for similar work carried out (in Benin and/or Burkina Faso), references from two clients served regarding the areas of experience described.
  • Financial offer including the number of working days, fees, reimbursable expenses (logistical costs) for one SME or cooperatives.
  • As per the evaluation criteria
  1. Evaluation criteria

An evaluation committee will be formed by AECF. All members will be bound by the same standards of confidentiality. The consultant must ensure that he/she fully meets all criteria to be comprehensively evaluated.

AECF may request and receive clarification from any consultant when evaluating a proposal. The evaluation committee may invite all or some of the consultants to appear before the committee to clarify their proposals. In such a case, the evaluation committee may take these clarifications into account when evaluating the proposals.

Upon final selection of a qualified bidder, the technical proposal will receive a 80% weighting based on the evaluation criteria. Only financial proposals from technically qualified bidders will be opened. The financial proposal will be assigned a weighting of 20% and proposals will be ranked based on the total points scored.

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



Weighted reward



An understanding of the terms of reference


Demonstrate an understanding of the mission and expected results (Max 1 page)


Methodology and work plan that will provide the best value for the mission


Robustness and feasibility of the proposed technical approach and methodology that provides comprehensive assessments, reviews, recommendations, conclusions, and implementation analysis, meeting the needs of the investment beneficiary, in accordance with each element of the scope of work (Max 3 pages).



Realistic and well-structured schedule, clear identification of deliverables and milestones, and consistency with the planned scope of work (Max 1 page).


Qualification and experience


Consultant/team qualification and experience and proof of relevant certification



Demonstrated experience and relevant services provided by the candidate in previous assignments with evidentiary links to previous work performed/certificate of completion. Experience must be related to the scope of work and target regions (Benin and Burkina Faso). Provide a set of skills and experience commensurate with the scope of work. Please provide details on at least three (3) similar projects completed in the last ( 5) years.



All required registration and certification documents and at least 3 signed reference letters (certificate of successful completion) signed from similar work carried out.


  1. FINANCIAL PROPOSAL: Detailed showing the level of effort of the Consultant / team, clarity, relevance and reality in relation to the market value / value for money of the cost of the mission ( any refundable expenses and travel if applicable).


Total score


How to apply

  1. Application

The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. AECF considers all interested applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, colour, 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 aecfprocurement@aecfafrica.org by July 19 ,2024, 5pm (EAT).
  • All questions should be directed to the procurement email by July 12, 2024
  • The subject of the email should be CONSULTANCY FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR INNOVATION EXPERT IN CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE (CSA) FOR THE INVESTING IN WOMEN IN BENIN AND BURKINA FASO PROGRAMME. The AECF shall not be liable for not opening proposals that are submitted with a different subject or responding to questions that did not meet the deadline as indicated.
  1. Disclaimer

AECF reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, the number of pre-selected participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, the right to modify this timeline at any time without notice and reserves the right to withdraw this submission at any time without notice and without any obligation to indemnify 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.

For more information visit our website as per links below, English and French Versions.



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