REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL – TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR A MID TERM EVALUATION (MTE) FOR THE REACT SSA PROGRAMME INCLUDING THE END TERM REVIEW (ETR) OF THE REACT KENYA RELIEF FUND JULY 2021
The AECF is a leading development finance organization that unlocks the potential of the private sector to positively impact lives of rural and marginalized communities in Africa by supporting businesses to innovate, create jobs and leverage investments. Launched in 2008, AECF has invested in businesses across 26 Sub Saharan countries, in more than 40 value chains. AECF focusses on agribusiness, renewable energy, and adaptive climate technology sectors, while addressing the crosscutting themes of gender, youth, and fragile contexts with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs.
Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies in Sub Saharan Africa (REACT SSA)
REACT SSA is a SEK540m (approximately US$60m) Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) funded programme implemented by AECF that provides matching grant financing and technical assistance (TA) to catalyse investment into innovative renewable energy businesses / business ideas across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Its objective is to improve access to renewable energy for low-income off-grid households, increase incomes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in eight target countries. The broader outcome is to catalyse private sector investment and innovation in low-cost clean energy and climate change at scale.
The specific objectives of the programme are to:
- Support transformational business models adapt to target markets in order to accelerate access to low cost, clean energy i.e. cleaner fuels, cook stoves, alternatives to grid power.
- Support commercially viable companies and markets in the target countries, out of which 25 percent will be women owned and/or managed.
- Support innovative ideas that stimulate next generate approaches in the renewable energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Capture and disseminate lessons on how increased access to clean energy can deliver positive impact on the rural poor, especially women, through: i) business models, and ii) improved business environment, through policy influencing and advocacy, iii) improved business environment through crowding in, replication and copying best practice.
- Stimulate stakeholder engagements for an improved policy, legal and regulatory environment for renewable energy businesses within the target countries.
Main programme components:
The programme uses a range of country and regional level components to address the development needs of enterprises in the renewable and clean energy sector. These comprise:
· The provision of investment capital in the form of grants. Innovative and early-stage enterprises and business ideas are high risk and therefore face challenges in accessing investment capital at reasonable cost. The most substantial component of REACT SSA is the provision of grants up to US$ 1.5 million to existing revenue generating enterprises operating in nascent markets where capital is either not available or is too expensive. AECF awards grants to achieve a series of expected impacts, including increasing the number of households able to access energy but also savings in the purchase of fuels and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the use of clean energy technologies. It uses a competition-based challenge fund model to select innovative or early-stage companies that have significant potential to improve access to energy through distributed energy systems, principally solar home systems. To date, 55 enterprises have been contracted, including four from the results-based Burkina Faso Efficient Electrification Programme (EEP).
· Part of the Investment Facility also includes a (see table below) results-based payment mechanism to reach lower risk scaling enterprises with more established businesses. These enterprises either need funding to scale proven technologies or are larger and need less support to engage in new areas. Whilst also grant based, this financing includes a proportion of payment that is only made when the investee achieves specific results targets.
· The provision of capital is accompanied by a range of Technical Assistance (TA) support to address operational difficulties and improve business performance. Small or early-stage enterprises, often owner managed, face significant challenges in both organisation and operation and need assistance to build the systems and tools that will enable them to scale. AECF provides a wide range of demand driven training and advisory services ranging from one-to-one mentoring to specific advisory assignments to more general self-learning through on-line tools. Provision of training is ongoing.
· At the other end of the innovation scale are very early-stage concepts which have yet to be proved to the market, but which offer significant potential. These ideas form the start of the investment pipeline. Beneficiaries of the innovation fund are offered small (US$ 100,000 to US$ 200,000) grants to test concepts and move them to market, where they will be able to be funded from more mainstream concessional financing or grants from AECF and others.
· Further advisory support is provided for preparing investees for raising follow on investment financing. AECF operates within a financing continuum and a critical part of the long-term success of its investees is to support them in accessing more commercially costed forms of capital as their businesses scale and thrive. The investment advisory services include both preparing investees for attracting investment by strengthening their operational structures and systems as well as linking them to potential financing sources and assisting in negotiations.
· REACT SSA also provides support for advocacy, supporting regional institutions and engaging with local authorities to address specific regulatory challenges facing investees.
· Under the umbrella of REACT SSA financing, SIDA Kenya has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing grants under the Kenya Relief Fund in 2020 for working capital financing to energy access enterprises in Kenya. These businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic either through the loss of markets or the inability to buy in stock.
The REACT SSA programme commenced in November 2017 with the first disbursements to investees in 2020. It will run until December 2023 in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Somalia.
Summary financing components:
Financing available (US$)
Included in the evaluation
Main Investment Facility
· Burkina Faso EEP payments (Results based)
· Kenya Results Based Financing (RBF) payments
· Innovation Facility
· Kenya Covid-19 Relief Fund
2.0 Purpose and scope of the assignment
The assignment consists of two components:
· Component 1, Mid Term Evaluation (MTE) of the main REACT SSA (the ‘Investment Facility’); and
· Component 2, End Term Review (ETR) of the Kenya Relief Fund
2.1. MTE of the Investment Facility
The MTE of the Investment Facility is geared towards promoting programme performance improvement, accountability, learning and evidence-based decision making and management. In particular, the review will assess results achieved to date in comparison with the performance indicators outlined in the programme Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning framework. It will also draw lessons and make recommendations for enhancing programme implementation and performance. It is expected to concentrate on the administrative and operational processes put in place by the AECF to manage implementation and cover the main investment facility (where funds have already been committed), associated training and technical assistance (TA).
The programme has supported activities that demonstrate how new renewable energy technologies can benefit the poor, particularly women. This is expected to generate an evidence-base to address challenges concerning the uptake of renewable energy in the 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, limited relevant skills and expertise.
REACT SSA through the initial six target countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Mali, Liberia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia as well as the Kenya Relief Fund is expected to reach 3,200,000 (640,000 households) rural and peri-urban people with low cost, clean energy products and services; enable installation of 5.8 MW off-grid clean energy; create 3,760 new jobs directly; support 33,000 SMEs; and raise US$ 20million in additional funding.
In 2020, 57 companies in all six SSA countries have been awarded funding of which 55 have so far been contracted. Of these, 54 investee companies received funding by June 2021, at least the first disbursement of their grant finance on contract signing. An additional ten companies in Kenya received funding under the Kenya Relief Fund (see below).
Number of investees
Amount contracted (US$)
Amount disbursed (US$)
Burkina Faso EEP
A key element of the package of support to the private sector is the provision of TA. Services have been provided to the contracted companies with focus on strategy development and execution, financial management, and building business resilience. This support is provided through different approaches, including one on one mentoring with business experts, provision of tailored advisory support and access to more generic self-directed information and learning. Investment advisory support has begun for companies ready to raise additional capital while all companies have undergone analysis and evaluation to assess their readiness for investment.
By June 2021, the following TA services had been provided:
Business diagnostics for in-depth needs assessment
Customized TA on specific needs
Group/wholesale interventions on cross-cutting needs (Covid-19 response)
2.2 Kenya Relief Fund
The Kenya Relief Fund is a project under the REACT SSA programme, funded by SIDA in Kenya. The overarching objective of the Kenya Relief Fund is to sustain access to clean energy as an essential service (lighting and cooling in homes, and health facilities) during the COVID-19 emergency by ensuring business continuity and safeguard gains made by early-stage enterprises in facilitating energy access and job creation in Kenya. This will be achieved through the provision of emergency working capital and targeted technical support to companies that are providing clean energy products and/or services to cushion them against the economic impacts of the pandemic.
The specific objectives of Kenya Relief Fund are to preserve the development impact for 30,000 people benefitting from products and services that would otherwise have lost access to energy in the absence of emergency funding (target of 50% women, 60% Youth, 80% rural). It also intends to preserve 2,000 direct jobs and 7,500 indirect jobs and generate USD 5 million retained in investor commitments.
Number of investees
Amount contracted (US$)
Amount disbursed (US$)
Kenya Relief Fund
Financing has so far been disbursed to all the 10 companies with the first advances made between October and December 2020. Subsequent disbursements are dependent on the achievement of specific milestones agreed with each company and following verification by AECF through site visits.
3.0 Scope of Work
The scope of this assignment is to review the performance of the REACT SSA programme, including the main investment fund and associated TA; and, separately, the REACT Kenya Relief Fund. It is expected that the selected contractor will provide two evaluation outputs covering both of these components.
The MTE will cover the period from 1 November 2017 to 30 June 2021. It is expected to assess whether the programme outputs have been achieved as planned; whether costs and timeliness have been in line with expectations and the extent to which impact and sustainability can be expected to be achieved. The MTE will identify corrective management actions that can improve the REACT SSA for the remainder of its implementation as well as strengthen the general fund management of the AECF.
The MTE will assess the achievements so far, of the programme against its stated outcomes, including a re-examination of the validity of the programme design. It will also identify significant factors that are facilitating or impeding the delivery of outcomes. The review is expected to lead to recommendations and lessons learned that can be applied to improve the performance of the programme in the future. It will also address the underlying causes and issues contributing to targets that are not being adequately achieved.
The scope of the MTE includes all 55 investees contracted as part of the main Investment Facility of the REACT SSA and the associated technical assistance and investment facilitation support as these components have sufficiently progressed.
The ETR review of Kenya Relief Fund is intended to assess the performance at the end of the one-year programme of working capital support to determine the effectiveness of the mechanism and define additional funding needs to support companies during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It will form the basis for the development of future emergency working capital funds that can be mobilized to address short notice challenges facing the private sector in countries which lack the capacity for national emergency financing support.
The scope of the ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund includes all ten of the investees that have been contracted.
The review will use the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) assessment criteria of Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, and to the extent possible in a mid-term evaluation, consider the potential Impact and Sustainability of the programme. An Evaluation Matrix will be completed by the consultant and included in the MTE inception report. The matrix should include key evaluation questions, evaluation sub-questions, indicators, sources of information and methodology.
Key evaluation questions that should be integrated into the evaluation matrix are provided below. Applicants are invited to propose additional questions that they feel necessary to generate a complete picture of the implementation of the programme. The MTE of the main Investment facility and the ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund should be considered separately and specific evaluation questions are included below for each component.
Evaluation Questions for the MTE:
Does the programme theory of change show whether what was implemented will lead to the outcomes and impact expected and provides the most effective route towards expected results?
Has gender been effectively included in the design of the programme?
What aspects of the programme have already been successful and how these can be scaled? What elements have not yet been successful and is there a need for redesign to realize intended objectives?
Were there any significant unintended or unexpected effects, whether beneficial or detrimental?
What changes has the core funding made to business performance of the supported companies? What changes have the supported companies made to their business processes as a result of the technical assistance received? How did this contribute to improvements and potential long-term effects to the business, its operations and products/services offered. Where possible, quantify the value of benefit. Are there any changes needed to the TA approach?
Are the programme management arrangements – as well as effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, financial management, risk identification and management system, and communication – adequate and generating accurate and timely reporting information for Sida?
Has the programme been able to commit investment resources to target enterprises in a timely and cost-effective manner?
Is the competition-based selection process of the challenge fund (from initial market landscaping through due diligence to investment committee decision) leading to the timely and cost-effective selection of innovative and potentially impactful companies?
How has Covid-19 impacted on this programme implementation?
What are the other main challenges facing AECF investees? Were these identified during the design phase?
How cost effective has the programme been comparing the amounts disbursed, the management charges from AECF and the net development impact generated (and expected to be generated over the lifetime of the financing)?
To what extent is REACT SSA likely to achieve its outcomes and impacts, with particular reference to gender-based performance?
Does the impact reporting accurately capture the benefit generated from the programme?
Is the programme reaching poor households?
To what extent are REACT SSA investees likely to succeed without further intervention from concessional finance providers?
Evaluation Questions for the ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund
To what extent did COVID-19 affect the renewable energy sector in Kenya, including both those supported and those who applied but were not supported? Was the Kenya Relief Fund designed appropriately to address these effects?
Were there any significant unintended or unexpected effects, whether beneficial or detrimental?
What was the effect of the working capital funding received on the companies? Did the funding enable the companies to overcome the challenges they were facing when the applied?
changes have the supported companies made to their business processes as a result of the technical assistance received? How did this contribute to business continuity and improvements and potential long-term effects to the business, its operations and products/services offered. Where possible, quantify the value of benefit. Are there any changes needed to the TA approach?
Has the programme been able to commit investment resources to target enterprises in a timely and cost-effective manner?
Did the competition-based selection process of the challenge fund (from initial market landscaping through due diligence to investment committee decision) leading to the timely and cost-effective selection of innovative and potentially impactful companies?
How cost effective has the programme been comparing the amounts disbursed, the management charges from AECF and the net development impact generated?
Did all the companies who received the funding actually need it?
How did the AECF funding of working capital support the beneficiaries? What other investor commitments were retained as a result of this AECF funding?
With the Kenya Relief Fund coming to an end, what are the remaining potential risks to investee survival?
How replicable is the Kenya Relief Fund, both within Kenya or in other countries of the region? What, if any, major design changes should be considered in any future emergency working capital programme?
4.0 Approach and Methodology
The consultant will be required to comprehensively explain the approach that will be used in both the MTE and the ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund showing the value of each component. The proposal should sufficiently address the preliminary issues and questions outlined within the ToR, detailing the specific review issues, questions, methods of data collection and analysis that will be undertaken. The assignment is expected to be undertaken entirely at the home base of the consultant due to the ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions, however the successful consultant is expected to illustrate deep knowledge of the African context and operating environments of the components of the programme.
The methodology will encompass a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods and allow for wide consultation with investees and other key partners. It is suggested that the methodology should include, but not be limited to the following:
a) Document review: The consultant will review relevant programme documents including:
i. The Programme Financing Agreement
ii. Annual work plans
iii. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework
iv. Programme activity reports or deliverables including strategy documents and operational manuals etc. Programme Annual reports (both narrative and financial)
v. Investee agreements
vi. Minutes of meetings including programme management and implementation team meetings, programme Steering Committee meetings etc.
vii. Programme Audit reports
b) Interviews and surveys: Interviews will be carried out remotely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Appropriate questionnaires, surveys and interview guides shall be developed by the consultant and discussed with the Programme Management Team for approval. Key informants will be drawn from the key programme stakeholders including the investees and external stakeholders such as government officials.
The contractor is expected to be a firm including team members with a variety of competencies as shown below. One of the team members should be the designated team leader of both pieces of work, with other team members organized to be able to respond to both pieces of work. An indicative allocation of work is provided below, but tenders can propose any combination of staff input that aligns with their methodology:
Team Leader – 40 working days
Lead researcher (s) – 50 working days
Junior researcher (s) – 40 working days
The minimum competencies to be provided from across the team members must include:
· Prior experience in managing or evaluating at least five concessional finance programmes of a similar nature and scope.
· At least 10 years’ experience in conducting programme evaluations including demonstrated experience in evaluation report writing.
· Significant (at least 10 years) experience in the Renewable energy sector in the sub-Saharan Africa context, with demonstrable competence in private sector investments directly linked to increase access to low cost, clean energy for rural businesses and households.
· The Team leader will have expertise in one of the technical areas listed above as well as expertise and demonstrated experience in designing evaluation methodology and data collection tools and demonstrated experience in leading similar reviews/evaluations.
· Fluency in written and spoken English. REACT SSA is also implemented in English, French and Portuguese speaking countries therefore fluency in these languages will be an added advantage.
6.0 Deliverables/Expected Outputs
It is envisaged that each of the two outputs will be treated independently even though they may be implemented by the same team. They will be performed through four phases – inception, research, reporting and follow-up and dissemination.
The key deliverables of the review will be:
i. Inception report
The consultant is expected to produce an inception report within one month of contract signature detailing the following, for both the MTE of the Investment Facility and ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund:
a. Confirmation of the methodology and scope of work;
b. Validated theory of change, reconstructed intervention logic and evaluation matrix;
c. Initial interview lists and interview guides, surveys and other data collection tools;
d. Schedule of implementation;
e. Final report template.
ii. Draft report
The consultant is expected to generate the first draft report within two months after the approval of the inception report. This draft report will be presented and discussed with key stakeholders including the AECF and SIDA. Inputs from these discussions will be incorporated into the final reports for both the MTE of the Investment Facility and ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund.
iii. Final Report
The final report shall be submitted within one month of receiving comments on the draft report. This report will include separate elements for the detailed MTE of the Investment Facility and ETR of the Kenya Relief Fund covering items outlined in the scope of this TOR with special attention to the main findings and conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations. Issues requiring management response should be clearly outlined. The contractor will be expected to make a virtual presentation of the report to AECF and SIDA.
Comments will be provided within ten working days on the draft of each report.
7.0 Schedule of the Assignment
The two reviews will be carried out over a period not exceeding six months, indicatively starting on 30th July 2021. In their proposal the consultant shall develop and submit a detailed schedule for assignment and distribute the days accordingly among the different tasks.
The AECF Knowledge and Insights Team Lead will be the focal point for the mid-term review, supported by the REACT SSA Programme Team Lead in the overall co-ordination role of the review including facilitating the logistical requirements for consultants and setting up interviews and field visits.
9.0 Proposal submission
Interested firms are requested to submit their application including both technical and financial proposals. The technical proposal should clearly demonstrate their skills and experience for the review process, methodology and approach and a detailed work plan. The financial proposal should include cost breakdown such as daily fee rate, daily allowances, direct costs/reimbursable expenses, and any applicable taxes.
The technical proposal should include:
a) A comprehensive description of the consultant’s understanding of the Terms of Reference and indicating any major inconsistency or deficiency in the Terms of Reference and proposed amendments.
b) A detailed methodology for the review including the tools to be used in the review.
c) The proposed team members and a description of their respective roles
d) A complete work plan for the entire review period
e) Technical and Financial proposals must be submitted as separate documents. . Financial proposals will not be opened until the conclusion of the technical evaluation. ONLY financial proposals for candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points of the total technical points would be opened. The Financial proposals shall include all applicable taxes quoted separately. If taxes are not mentioned in the financial proposal, The AECF shall consider that they are included in the prices provided.
The AECF is obliged by the Kenyan tax authorities to withhold taxes on service contract fees as well as ensure VAT, at 16%, 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.
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 event, the evaluation committee may consider such clarifications in evaluating proposals. In deciding the final selection of qualified bidder, the technical quality of the 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 in terms of total points scored.
The mandatory and desirable criteria against which proposals will be evaluated are identified in the table below.
The following criteria will be used for the evaluation:
Criteria for Assessment
Understanding of the terms of reference
Description of the service to be provided
Understanding of what AECF is expecting from the work
Methodology and work plan
Relevance of the methodology proposed to the needs of the assignment
Adequacy of the work plan, including key deliverables and capacity to deliver within a realistic timeline based on the consultancy days designated for the task
Technical experience of staff offered
Relevant tertiary level qualification and years of professional experience of the proposed team; and demonstrated Team Leader’s expertise in one of the technical areas as well as expertise and demonstrated experience in designing evaluation methodology and data collection tools and demonstrated experience in leading similar reviews/evaluations.
Prior experience in evaluating programmes of a similar nature and scope; including reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments.
Experience in conducting programme evaluations for donor-funded programmes including demonstrated experience in evaluation report writing.
Evidence of similar previous experience, at least 10 years, in the Renewable energy sector in the Sub-Saharan Africa context, with demonstrable competence in private sector investments directly linked to increase access to low cost, clean energy for rural businesses and households.
Clarity, relevance, reality to market of value/value for money of cost for the assignment (inclusive of any applicable tax)
AECF reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, 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. In case you do not hear from us in 30days please consider your application unsuccessful. Incase you do not hear from us in the 30 days after your application, kindly consider your application unsuccessful.
 OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
 Uncontracted applicants have no obligation to take part in the evaluation but an approach should be proposed on how to engage with them
How to apply
The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Organization. The AECF considers all interested candidates based on merit without regard to race, gender, colour, national origin, religion, age, marital status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law**
Interested applicants should send their proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org* by 5:00 PM E.A.T on 30th July 2021. For enquiries, please email email@example.com *.*The Subject of the email should read “Provision of Mid Term Review of the REACT SSA Programme-2021” Please visit our website for more details on the TOR.