Request for Expression of Interest - Digitizing Agricultural, Trade and Light Manufacturing Value Chains

FSD Uganda

In its new five-year programmatic strategy (2021/2022-2025/2026) FSD Uganda will, in addition to investing in the growth to access of financial services, also invest in understanding and testing how the financial sector can more effectively serve the needs of real economy sectors like agriculture, agro-processing and trade, as well as social sectors like education, health, and housing. The focus of the strategy will be on building back better from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic while laying strong foundations for future resilience and sustainability.

Through a market-systems-led approach FSD Uganda will continue to facilitate an inclusive, competitive financial system that is pro-poor and responds to the needs of FSD Uganda’s target segments – women, youth, forcibly displaced people, smallholder farmers (SHFs), and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

FSD Uganda is going to take a platform approach in the execution of its strategy, seeking to leverage the economies of scale and scope possible with such platforms and their capacity to mobilize and support various actors in different value and supply chains.

Research has shown that to sustainably reach and profitably serve SHFs and MSMEs, it takes a multi-partner approach. FSD Uganda considers that digital platforms are well-placed to efficiently bring together different partners to serve these market segments better and more affordably. In supporting this approach, FSD Uganda recognizes the perceived gender neutrality of digital platforms and intends to work with selected partners to build inclusive platforms which recognize the barriers and opportunities they present for low-income market segments particularly women. Such an approach is intended to enable women to take full advantage of the economic opportunities platforms create and strengthen platforms’ business models.

It is against this background that FSD Uganda seeks Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from digital platforms to co-design program interventions that will scale the provision of inclusive financial services to SHFs and MSMEs. From the EOIs submitted, FSD Uganda plans to select at least two digital platforms, one focused on agricultural value chains and the other focused on supply chains in either Trade/services or light manufacturing sectors.

The two successful applicants will receive up to USD 300,000 in grants and technical assistance over a period of three years. The assistance will cover program interventions in any or a combination of the following areas:

i) Developing appropriate inclusive value and supply chain financing business models and financial solutions which address the needs of SHFs and MSMEs.

ii) Building strong and sustainable partnerships in the platform economy to deliver profitable, affordable, and inclusive quality financial services to SHFs and MSME owners.

iii) Developing appropriate bundled/embedded financial products/solutions to enhance agricultural productivity, business revenues and profitability and to increase access to quality education and health care for women and men.

iv) Developing strong and sustainable Agency Networks (Cash-in, Cash-out infrastructure, Village/Digital Agents/Entrepreneurs etc..) to reach the remotest of areas with financial services, financial and digital literacy.

v) Developing sustainable Big Data business models and products/solutions to increase access to and utilization of gender-inclusive financial services. Focus will be on how data from the technology platforms is collected, validated, authenticated, analyzed, transformed into digital profiles, and shared across platforms and how this can help understand the behaviour and choices of women and men users.

If interested, kindly submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Your EOI should cover the following details and any other information that you may deem valuable in line with the objectives of the Program:

        1. Legal Status: (Certificate of Incorporation and any statutory licenses and or registrations where applicable)
        2. Year of the Platform commenced operations
        3. Number of Staff
        4. Collective experience of senior management (i.e., the number of years of experience for the senior management and broadly in which areas of expertise)
        5. Services/Products/Solutions provided, including any products tailored to FSD Uganda’s strategic priority segments (women, youth, refugee populations)
        6. Size of customer base/Participants
          - Number of Platform partners (e.g., Off-takers, Input providers, distributors, Financial Service Providers, Digital Payment Service Providers etc.)
          - Estimated number of customers (e.g., Small Holder Farmers, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises etc.) with sex-disaggregated data where available
          - Extent of outreach (i.e., Regions/Districts Served) across the country
        7. Predominant Agricultural Value Chains/ Trade/ Service/ Light Manufacturing Supply Chains on the platform
        8. Does the platform use agents to support its operations and to on-board SHFs and MSMEs? If yes, what is the current number of agents deployed?
        9. List of current and past donor partnerships with specific details of the partnerships (i.e., Name of Donor, nature, and size of support)
        10. In not more than 2500 words provide a summary of your work to date or strategy to increase service provision to women.
        11. In not more than 2500 words provide a brief on the area (s) where you would require support to scale the provision of financial services to SHFs and MSMEs.

Digital platforms will be selected in accordance with FSD Uganda Investment guidelines.

EOI Timelines

Activity Date
Publication of Notice of expression of interest 10th June 2022
Closing date for receipt of expression of interest 1st July 2022

Submit your EOIs by email to not later than 5:00 PM, 1st July 2022.