Request for Proposal Improving Capacity of Zambian Agricultural SMEs to Use Digital Technology

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Improving Capacity of Zambian Agricultural SMEs to Use Digital Technology



Enterprise Development and Growth Enhanced (EDGE) Activity

Funded By


Contract No. 72061120C00006

RFP Release Date: October 6, 2021
Performance Period (tentative based on conditions): November 1, 2021- October 31, 2023
Proposal Submission Deadline: October 20, 2021, 5:30 pm Lusaka time
Question/Inquiry Submission Deadline: October 14, 2021

Table of Contents

I. Introduction. 1

A. Company Background. 1

B.  Program Background. 1

II.  Purpose. 1


B.  Deliverables. 2



A. Instructions for Proposal Preparation. 2

1. the performance based work statement/Technical approach. 2

2. Staffing plan and Key personnel 3

3. Institutional Capacity/Past Experience 3

4. Cost Proposal 3

B. Instructions for Submission of Proposal 3




A. Late Submissions. 5

B. Modification of RFP Requirements. 5

C. Withdrawal of Proposals. 5

D. Right of Negotiation and Acceptance of Proposal 5

E. Validity of Proposal 5

F. Minimum Offeror Qualifications. 5

G. Intellectual Property Rights. 5


APPENDIX A. Technical Proposal Submission Sheet. 8

APPENDIX B. Cost Proposal Template. 9

I. Introduction

A. Company Background

Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA is a nonprofit international development organization that delivers technical and management assistance in agribusiness, financial services, enterprise development, community development and food security in order to promote broad-based economic growth and vibrant civil society. For more information, go to

B. Program Background

The USAID Enterprise Development and Growth Enhanced (USAID EDGE) Activity is a five-year activity implemented by ACDI/VOCA. USAID EDGE is designed to develop jobs, increase the profitability of Zambia’s small- and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, and help Zambia as it progresses on its journey to self-reliance. Many Zambian agricultural enterprises currently struggle to access loans and financing, lack business management and technological resources, or have limited access to economic markets. Over the next five years, through USAID EDGE, ACDI/VOCA aims to boost their competitiveness by addressing these key constraints. USAID EDGE uses a facilitative approach and works closely with and through local partners to drive lasting systemic changes that produce sustainable impact at scale. ACDI/VOCA is applying inclusive market systems approach, which addresses the root causes, rather than the symptoms, of a poorly performing market. Using this approach, USAID EDGE focuses on agricultural value chains with the most potential for long term growth and sustainability.

Zambia has seen impressive momentum in the areas of mobile money and fintech. A diverse range of actors, including banks and mobile network operators, have seized upon the market opportunity to improve financial products through digital channels. For example, MTN, Absa, and JUMO have formed a partnership to offer the KASAKA short-term mobile savings product. EDGE will build upon this work, partnering with mobile money providers, banks, and MFIs to adapt and deploy fintech solutions that are suitable for Zambian SMEs. EDGE will focus on solutions that solve key Zambian SME pain points, including solutions that improve SMEs’ ability to qualify for loans by capturing business data and performing alternative credit assessments. EDGE will support and facilitate the introduction of new and improved mobile money products, including mobile credit, to ensure improved financing options flow down to smallholder farmers. EDGE will also help SMEs unlock digital sales channels including their websites, social media and other such channels.

II.  Purpose

To improve the capacity of up to 450 Zambian agricultural SMEs to use digital technologies to increase sales, reduce expenses and improve access to information, finance, inputs and services.


An external firm will be hired through a competitive process to:

1.      Carry out a rapid assessment of the participating SMEs to understand their need and current level of use for digital technology. Some data has been previously collected during the baseline study in early 2021. The Offeror is required to analyze this data and carry out any additional surveys if any data is missing. There are currently 309 SMEs in the EDGE portfolio. The portfolio will grow to 450 SMEs by the end of 2022.

2.      Based on the results of the assessment, train the SMEs that are interested in and capable of using digital technologies to unlock new sales channels, get better access to information, and build connections with input, finance and service providers.

3.      Setup and rebrand the SMEs’ websites and social media pages to build their digital footprint by creating online pages.

4.       Help SMEs to subscribe to and make use of other appropriate digital technologies, such as mobile money, e-commerce, multi-lateral network support, etc.

5.      Automate digital content to enable SMEs to use least effort for the most return in revenue on digital platforms through content automation. Create product catalogues and FAQ sheets for each participating SME.

6.      The assignment will require travel to Eastern, Central and Lusaka provinces where the SMEs are located.

These activities are expected to be carried out over two years during the Performance Period indicated on the first page of the RFP.

B.   Deliverables
The following deliverables are expected from the Offeror:

1.      An assessment tool for the rapid assessment of the participating SMEs

2.      A report on the rapid assessment of 450 participating SMEs complete with filled out questionnaires

3.      Training module(s) and materials

4.      Websites and social media pages of interested SMEs have been built and rebranded

5.      Interested SMEs are assisted to subscribe and make use of appropriate digital technologies

6.      Digital content is automated, product catalogues and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheets are created


ACDI/VOCA anticipates issuing a Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee (CPFF) completion-type of subcontract  to an Offeror consistent with Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.306(d)(1). The Contractor must provide the outputs and deliverables as described in Section II. The Contractor is responsible for choosing the types of labor necessary to implement its solution and to work toward achieving the milestone outputs and deliverables.  The estimated cost for the performance of the work required hereunder, inclusive of fixed fee, if any, is not to exceed $110,000. Funding for this contract will be on an incremental basis, subject to the availability of funds.


A.   Instructions for Proposal Preparation

The selection committee will evaluate the Offerors based upon their written technical and cost proposals. Each section will be evaluated according to the criteria for evaluations in Section V. Offerors are expected to examine the specifications and all instructions in the RFP. Failure to do so is at the Offeror’s risk. Interested Offerors must provide the following:

1.  the performance based work statement/Technical approach

The Performance Based Work Statement (PBWS)/Technical Approach will be evaluated based on the Offeror’s proposed soundness of the proposal detailing how best the Offeror intends to achieve the requirements stated in Section II, Purpose. The offeror must submit a detailed technical understanding and approach that shows evidence of achieving results as stipulated in Section II. Provide a tentative schedule of activities.

2.    Staffing plan and Key personnel

The Staffing Plan and Key Personnel will be evaluated based on:

  • The appropriateness of the staffing plan, mix of personnel including key personnel, to sufficiently manage and implement project activities under this award. The Offeror will be evaluated to the extent of the quality and appropriateness of the proposed Key Personnel.
  • The extent to which the Offeror demonstrates an organogram that reflects the Offeror’s PBWS, appropriate staffing scheme for the technical approach and outputs, reporting relationships, and where any overlap may occur and if/why it is necessary.
  • The extent to which the Offeror clearly articulates the division of responsibilities between staff and offices, and engagement with sub-contractors and other stakeholders to implement the Offeror’s PBWS and achieve the objectives outlined in Section II.
  • Include no more than a half-page bio sketch for each individual considered essential for the successful implementation of this award.

3.    institutional capacity/PAST EXPERIENCE

The extent to which the Offeror proposed to implement the activity possesses relevant technical capacity and experience; and the extent to which the institutional responsibilities of each partner (if multiple partners are proposed) to the program are clearly described in the proposal. The extent to which the partners’ proposed capacities and experience(s) are complementary and not duplicative. Provide the Offeror’s website, if available. Please include three client references and contact information. References should have worked with your organization within the past two years in connection with the subject matter applicable to this RFP.

4.    Cost Proposal

The Offeror will submit a cost proposal via email in a document file separate from the technical proposal and labeled “Cost Proposal.” The proposed budget will have sufficient detail to allow evaluation of the elements of costs proposed. Budgets should be submitted in the currency in which the Offeror operates and will be paid; please label your budget with the name of the currency. ACDI/VOCA reserves the right to request any additional information to support detailed cost and price.

The budget should include all costs necessary to implement the Offeror’s solution to the scope of work including transportation and perdiem for travel to the regions, as well as office supplies, communication and other expense related to staff and consultants performing the work. This RFP includes an annexed cost proposal template for ease of reference, however, Offeror’s cost proposal composition should reflect its unique cost/price details considering the associated costs of implementing its solution.  ACDI/VOCA can pay for printing of the training materials out of its separate budget.

No cost evaluation will be performed on proposals determined to be non-responsive or technically unacceptable. The evaluation will be based upon the cost proposal and the supporting narrative provided by the Offeror. ACDI/VOCA will evaluate the proposed costs in accordance with the terms of this RFP. The evaluation of cost will include a determination of cost realism, completeness, and reasonableness. An analysis of the proposed cost will be conducted to determine the validity and the extent to which it reflects performance addressed in the technical proposal.

B.   Instructions for Submission of Proposal

The technical and cost proposals shall be sent via email. Each volume shall be clearly identified with the RFP number and the Offeror’s name. Faxed offers are not acceptable.

1. All responses to this RFP must be received no later than the submission deadline on the cover page of this RFP. Offerors must submit the proposal to:


Attention: Zambia EDGE Procurement
Email: [email protected]

2.  All inquiries and requests for information regarding this RFP must be submitted by email to the following individuals no later than the question/inquiry submission deadline on the cover page of this RFP.  Reference the RFP number in all questions/inquiries.

Zambia EDGE Procurement
Zambia EDGE Procurement
[email protected]
[email protected]

3. ACDI/VOCA will not compensate Offerors for their preparation of responses to this RFP.


ACDI/VOCA will evaluate proposals and make the award decision to the Offeror that presents the best value to ACDI/VOCA, all technical and cost considerations taken into account.  The closer the competing technical scores are, the more significant cost/price becomes as a deciding factor for the award decision.  Therefore, bidders are encouraged to offer their best price and terms on initial cost proposal submission. Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

Evaluation criteria / Maximum Score

The performance-based work statement/technical approach = 35
Staffing plan and key personnel = 35
Institutional capacity/past experience = 30

Total = 100

The evaluation committee will review the proposals based upon the evaluation criteria listed above. A contract will be offered to the responsible Offeror whose proposal follows the RFP instructions and is judged to be the most advantageous to ACDI/VOCA.


Once the RFP is released, the Offerors must prepare a formal proposal to be sent to the contact person at ACDI/VOCA as indicated in Section IV (b) (1).  The submitted proposals will be reviewed against the criteria for evaluation defined in Section V above and rated on their ability to satisfy the requirements stated in this RFP document.  A preferred Offeror will be chosen and formally notified.  A formal contract will be negotiated with the selected Offeror and, if endorsed, the Offeror will begin work on the project.


A.  Late Submissions

Proposals received after the submission deadline stated in the cover page of this RFP may not be considered. Offerors will be held responsible for ensuring their quotations are received according to the instructions stated herein. A late offer will be considered if the cause was attributable to ACDI/VOCA or its employees/agents, or if it is in the best interest of ACDI/VOCA.

B.  Modification of RFP Requirements

ACDI/VOCA retains the right to terminate the RFP or modify the requirements upon notification to Offerors.

C. Withdrawal of Proposals

Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice via email at any time before award. Proposals may be withdrawn in person by an Offeror or authorized representative, if the representative’s identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal before award.

D.  Right of Negotiation and Acceptance of Proposal

This RFP represents a definition of requirements and is an invitation for submission of proposals. ACDI/VOCA reserves the right to fund/award any or none of the submitted proposals. No commitment is made, either expressed or implied, to compensate Offerors for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of their proposal.

ACDI/VOCA may reject any proposal that is nonresponsive. A responsive proposal is one that complies with all terms and conditions of the RFP. A proposal must be complete, signed by an authorized signatory, and delivered no later than the submission time and date indicated on the cover sheet of this RFP. ACDI/VOCA may reserve the right to waive any minor discrepancies in a proposal.

ACDI/VOCA reserves the right to issue an award based on the initial evaluation of proposals without discussion. ACDI/VOCA also reserves the right to enter into best and final negotiations with any responsive Offerors for all or part of the proposed scope.

E. Validity of Proposal

Proposals submitted shall remain open for acceptance for 90 days from the last date specified for receipt of proposals. This includes, but is not limited to, pricing, terms and conditions, service levels, and all other information. If your organization is awarded the contract, all information in the RFP and negotiation process is contractually binding.

F. Minimum Offeror Qualifications

Offerors submitting proposals must (1) be officially licensed to do such business in Zambia, (2) be able to receive USAID funds and (3) not have been identified as a terrorist. In addition, Offeror may be required to provide the following information:

  • Documentation to verify licensure (e.g., tax id, registration certificate, etc.)
  • Demonstration of adequate management and financial resources to perform the contract
  • Satisfactory records of performance history, integrity and business ethics

G. Intellectual Property Rights

All tangible or intangible property created or acquired under this contract shall be the exclusive property of ACDI/VOCA and USAID. The term “property” includes all data and reports associated with this engagement. Reference is made to Sections 12 and 13 in the business terms and conditions attached in Appendix A.


Please follow Link to attachments 

Appendix A:  Technical Proposal Submission Sheet

Appendix B:  Cost Proposal Template

To apply for this job email your details to [email protected]

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