Consultant: Provision of Consultancy Services to the Development of a Policy Catalogue for Women owned/led MSME Financing At Alliance for Financial Inclusion

1. Background:

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Currently, nearly 100 member institutions make up the AFI network including central banks, ministries of finance and other financial policymaking or regulatory institutions from over 85 developing countries and emerging markets. AFI empowers policymakers to increase the access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through sustainable and inclusive policies and an effective use of digital technologies.

Policies developed and implemented by the members of the Alliance contribute to a range of the Sustainable Development Goals. By setting their own agenda, AFI members harness the power of peer learning to develop practical and tested policy reforms that enhance financial inclusion with strategic support from both public and private sector partners.

AFI has seven Working Groups (WGs): which has become the key source of policy developments and trends in financial inclusion and as the primary mechanism for generating and incubating technical content in the network: The WGs are Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Group (CEMCWG), Digital Financial Services Working Group (DFSWG), Financial Inclusion Data Working Group (FIDWG), Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG), Global Standards Proportionality Working Group (GSPWG), Inclusive Green Finance Working Group (IGFWG) and SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG) and also serve as “communities of practice”.

Providing a platform for knowledge exchange and peer learning among policymakers to share, deliberate and deepen their understanding, the working groups offer leadership and expertise in their respective policy fields and support the network to monitor new developments in emerging fields.

The knowledge generated via the working groups is disseminated for implementation by a range of capacity building activities such as Joint Learning Programs, and Member Trainings, Trainings by Private Sector Partners. The practical experience members garner from engaging in peer learning based capacity building is then applied by members as in country implementation (ICI) projects which are supported by the provision of financial or technical support to AFI member institutions in conducting activities that aim to deliver financial inclusion policies, regulations, supervisory tools or enablers for the development of policies, such as national financial inclusion strategies.

The working groups receive strategic guidance and insight from the High-Level Global Standards & Policy Committee, while the Gender Inclusive Finance Committee, supports WGs in integrating gender considerations into all aspects of their work and support members in fulfilling their Denarau Action Plan (2016) commitment to promote women’s financial inclusion.

AFI members have made further commitments in a range of other accords which can be read here.

The AFI’s five regional initiatives support policy implementation in Africa (AfPI), Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), the Pacific Islands (PIRI), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECAPI) and the Arab Region (FIARI).

Rationale of Policy Catalogue for Women owned/led MSME Financing

MSMEs play a major role in the global economy, accounting for two-thirds of employment globally and between 80 percent and 90 percent of employment in low-income countries1. Women-led MSMEs make significant contributions to economic development and represent around 35 percent (eight million to 10 million) of MSMEs in developing and emerging markets. 2 Approximately 252 million women around the world are entrepreneurs and another 153 million women are operating established businesses.3 Despite their significant contribution to the economy, access to finance is a key constraint to MSME growth, as it is the second most cited obstacle facing MSMEs to grow their businesses in emerging markets and developing countries.4 This is particularly significant for women and is driven by a number of challenges including low business skills, lack of financial product awareness and lack of collateral requirements.5 In order to overcome barriers faced by women owned/led MSMEs, financial sector policymakers and regulators have a critical role to play in creating an enabling policy environment that consists of gender-sensitive policies and regulations that are relevant and helpful to MSMEs, especially women owned/led MSMEs. Putting in place a comprehensive catalogue for women owned/led MSME financing will provide AFI members with a practical reference of evidence-based and data-driven policies that have been implemented.

2. Objective :

The objective of this consultancy assignment is to provide financial regulators and policymakers with a practical resource to support the development and implementation of gender transformative MSME policies that can help bridge women owned/led MSME financing gap. The catalogue will showcase policies that have been successfully implemented by AFI member institutions, covering both supply and demand side elements, for the development of women owned /led MSME access to financing. Further, it will provide practical, high-impact recommendations based on holistic MSME financing ecosystem, which can then be used as a one stop reference for those that intend to develop and implement gender-sensitive MSME financing policy.

3. Job Scope :

The SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG) Gender Subgroup has started outlining and compiling the parameters and relevant regulatory interventions for women owned/led MSMEs from six countries namely Zimbabwe, Egypt, Palestine, Solomon Islands, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. The consultant will be required to provide insights, analysis and policy recommendation of women owned/led MSME financing policy interventions for the six listed countries and other selected countries from all AFI regions. The consultant will work with AFI management, members and other key stakeholders towards coming up with the deliverable. The assignment entails the following:

  1. Preliminary consultations/inception meeting with AFI Management Unit on the scope, expected deliverables and related timelines.
    2.Conduct a comprehensive desk review for the listed six member countries and other selected AFI member countries, representing from all AFI regions. Identify member countries that have developed and implemented comprehensive women owned /led MSME financing policy.
    3.Conduct analysis based on the given parameters and categorization, but not limited to (which means the consultant can add any parameter/categorization that it deems fits).
    4.Cross reference the findings with AFI existing knowledge products and global standards.
    5.Develop a policy catalogue on women owned/led MSME financing based on the AFI Knowledge Product Guideline note.
    6.Develop a power point presentation highlighting the content of the policy catalogue.
    7.Develop a blog highlighting the content of the policy catalogue.

Proposed Content

The Policy Catalogue is meant to identify and document AFI member institutions that have developed and implemented women owned/led MSME financing policy interventions. Proposed categorizations will include but not limited to the following policy interventions:

  1. Definition of MSME and women owned/led MSME
  2. Profile of MSME Sector and Gender Situation Analysis
  3. Legal & Regulatory Framework for MSME/women owned/led MSME
  4. Prudential regulations that cover risk management aspects and areas concerning corporate governance, operations and Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)
  5. Participation National Gender Machinery/Initiatives
  6. Role of Central Bank
  7. Role of Commercial Banks and Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIs) Recommendation Analysis on policy scope that member institutions need to enhance.
  8. Success stories from AFI member institutions and other countries (developed countries)
  9. Conclusion

Gender considerations should be considered as a cross cutting theme throughout the report and treated as such. The above list of policy interventions is indicative, details on the content and format of the policy catalogue will be discussed and agreed upon with the Consultant at the inception meeting.

Branding and Presentation Style

The Policy Catalogue will be branded with the logos of AFI, SME Finance Working Group (SMEFWG) and Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) on the front page of the document.

4. Timeline and Submission :

The consultancy work will begin in July 2021 until August 2021. The consultancy is expected to take at most 30 person hours. The final draft of the document should be completed no later than 31 August 2021.
The format and presentation of the Knowledge Product, including acknowledgements and references/footnotes, shall follow the AFI Style Guide (provided) and the information contained in the Knowledge Product fact sheet for Consultants (provided).

  • Inception meeting (July : Week 1)
  • Comprehensive review and desk research (July : Week 1-2)
  • Conduct analysis based on the given parameters and categorization (July : Week 2-3)
  • Develop draft policy catalogue on women owned/led MSME financing (July : Week 3-4)
  • Circulate the draft policy catalogue to SMEFWG members (August : Week 1)
  • Finalize the draft policy catalogue (August : Week 2-3)
  • Develop a power point presentation and blog (August : Week 4)

5. Qualification

The consultant undertaking this assignment should have the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in a field related to Economics, Public Policy, International Development or another related discipline.
  • A minimum of five years knowledge and experience in MSME development and financing policies.
  • Hands on experience working in the field of women related businesses to access and usage of financial services.
  • Previous experience working with global and national institutions involved in financial inclusion policy and regulation, particularly in developing and emerging countries.
  • A basic understanding of Gender Inclusive Finance and related terminologies
  • Fluency in English (oral and writing) is compulsory. Working knowledge of French and Spanish will be an added advantage.
  • Writing experience. Submit related reports/working papers or research related to access and usage of financial services.

6. Reporting :

The consultant will work closely with the SME Finance Unit (Policy Programmes and Regional Initiatives (PPRI) Unit and Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF) team. The consultant will report directly to both Head of the PPRI Unit with technical support from Senior Policy Manager, SME Finance and Head, Gender Inclusive Finance (GIF).

7. Criteria Of Evaluation

The proposals submitted will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic Qualification; 10%
  2. Experience and technical competence of the key staff for the assignment; 50%
  3. In MSME development and financing policies
  4. Global experience in qualitative and quantitative research
  5. Hands on experience working in developing gender perspective policy
  6. Interview experience & reporting/working papers related issues on women owned/led MSME finance
    1. Adequacy of the proposed work plan and methodology in responding to the Terms of Reference;
  7. Technical approach and methodology; 10%
  8. Workplan; 10%
    1. Quality of the submitted sample work; 20%

Total : 100%

How to apply

How to Apply

Interested applicants are expected to submit a proposal with updated CV and using template given (Download the RFP document here) by email to AFI’s Procurement & Contracts Office at by 7th July 2021.

The final decision on selection of a consultant/consulting firm for this project rests with AFI management team and with the Inquiry. Only shortlisted and successful consultants will be contacted

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