RFA: Technical Assistance to Reach Scale and Increase Private Investment


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Technical Assistance to Reach Scale and Increase Private Investment

USAID Contract No AID-696-C-14-00002

1.    Program Description

Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth (PSDAG) is a 5-Year project funded by USAID Rwanda that started in August, 2014. The project is implemented Research Triangle Institute (RTI). The goal of PSDAG is to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by promoting private sector investments that contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s (GoR’s) Vision 2020 aim of “transforming agriculture into a market-oriented, competitive, andHigh-value sector.”

PSDAG has two main objectives: 1) Assist the GOR to Increase Private Sector Investment; and 2) Facilitate Increased Private Sector Investment in Upgrading Agricultural Value Chains. The project’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy is based on a facilitative, market systems approach to inclusive agriculture development that catalyzes investment in productivity-enhancing technologies, builds the capacity of partners to grow their businesses and contributes to improved livelihoods and economic opportunities for Rwanda’s farmers.

The PSDAG program is seeking to develop strategic partnerships with the private sector to increase investment in agriculture and to expand economic opportunities for smallholder farmers through more competitive value chain market systems.

As detailed in its Annual Program Statement (APS) No. RTI-APS-18-01, the PSDAG Value Chain Competitiveness Fund (VCCF) is a grant fund designed to leverage private sector investment by reducing risk in investing in innovative or new technologies or capacity building. PSDAG’sPrivate Sector Engagement Strategy works to ensure the sustainability of investments in value chain upgrades after project assistance ends by taking a facilitative approach. While PSDAG can play a key role in facilitating partners to capitaland market access and reducing risk to farmers or investors, PSDAG is committed to not taking on the direct role of any individual actor within the market system.

Under its Private Sector Engagement Strategy, PSDAG will scale its strategy by focusing on where the capital is looking to invest and aligning technical assistance and other activities to leverage these financial opportunities. PSDAG will build private partners’ capacity to attract available financing with grants and technical assistance. 

PSDAG is actively seeking committed partnerships with a wide range of private and non-private stakeholders and will select partners based on a competitive process.

2.    Objective of this RFA

The overall objective of this RFA is to provide technical assistance to committed agribusiness partners that will enable them to achieve long-term growth objectives. PSDAG will leverage VCCF funds to increase investment and facilitate value chain actors’ access mainly to finance either through debt or equity, access to new markets, and upgrade in food safety and quality certifications. PSDAG will work closely with its partners and financial service providers to companies to access finance they need to grow and reach new markets. PSDAG’s objective under this RFA is to facilitate private sector investment that is inclusive of smallholder farmers.

3.    Type of servicesto be supported

PSDAG’s goal is to facilitate private sector investment that is inclusive of smallholder farmers. PSDAG will mainly focus on the following investmentupgrades:(i) access to finance, (ii)access to new markets, (iii) food safety and quality standards.

Under this RFA, PSDAG is streamlining its process for identifying partners who are willing to investin securing loans or equity investment, expanding business to new markets and co-invest in certification in quality standards and certification process to meet market requirements, and upgrade and scale their business in terms of capital investment and geographic reach (ie. source from new districts or farmers).

Under this RFA, PSDAG willsupport upto50percent of the service over a period of 12 months with a total budget not to exceed USD$3,000-$25,000per grant. Awards for amounts greater than USD $25,000 will be considered on a case by case basis. All partnership activities must end before March 2019. The total value of funds available is not expected to be more than $150,000 USD and is subject to change in availability. Grants are to be disbursed in-kind to successful grantees, with RTI procuring goods and services on behalf of its partners. Cash grants may be awarded on a case by case basis.

The leverage requirement will be based on the following criteria:

  • The size of the investment;
  • The scope of the investment as regard the number of beneficiaries;
  • The financial sustainability and projected return on the investment;
  • Demonstratedcapacity or progress to obtain external private financing;
  • The innovation and sustainability of the business model; and,
  • Alignment with PSDAG objectives and Annual Program Statement.

More details on cost-share requirements are described on the table below.

The list of services to be supported shall include but not be limited to the following:

Type of technical support

Possible area of partnership with PSDAG

Minimum Partner Contribution

Access to Finance

(i)Partners will be supported to become investor-ready for either long-term debt or equity. This activity will both increase the private investment and volumes of loans.

(ii) Help private investors identified through MINAGRI and RDB investment units to make strategic investments.

  • Co-invest in business development services where there is a strong justification (high value of potential leverage compared to cost of technical assistance)
  • In partnership with investment funds, provide up-front technical assistance to prepare company for interested investors.
  • Help private investors identified through MINAGRI and RDB investment units to make strategic investments.

The applicant should be ready to cost share as follows:

-10-25% of consulting costs;

- 100% of private investment (ie PSDAG will not cost share any investments made by the company as a result of BDS)

- 100% on investor materials prepared for the applicant e.g. business plan

-50% of the cost to bring investors to Rwanda (if applicable and justified).

New Market Identification

PSDAG will provide partners with information on new markets market opportunities

  • Co-invest in market information tours and/or trade conferences.
  • Co-invest in bringing buyers or investors to Rwanda where it is more effective for investor forums where there is a strong market justification.

PSDAG will cover 100% accommodation while attending the study tours; may also cover conference fees.

Partner will cover 100% of their transport to-and-from destination; meals and incidentals outside the planned events will be covered by the partner.

-50% of the cost to bring investors to Rwanda (if applicable and justified).

Quality Standards and Food Safety:

  • Help companies complete an initial review and prepare for certifications or upgrades to improve food safety (e.g., Aflatoxin testing)
  • Design specifications for upgrades (including infrastructure, systems, and traceability), where the private sector is committed to making investments in the upgrades
  • Limited cost share on certification costs
  • Disseminate tools and materials developed for regional quality standards

The applicant should be ready to co-invest:

-25-50% of the cost for technical experts required for training and preparation for certification (internal audit), traceability and other designs.

-100% of investments required for certification based on internal audit reports (including infrastructure, technology and assets).

-50% for cost of fees related to obtaining certification audit.


PSDAG shall cover 100% for disseminating tools and materials to promote regional quality standards i.e. aflatoxin.

4.    Evaluation Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated on:

  • How well defined the investment upgrade is, how well the applicant presents the suitability of the investment to their business, and the return on investment analysis.
  • How well the investment aligns with PSDAG objectives to increase private sector investment that is inclusive of smallholder farmers.
  • To what extent the required investment will benefit women, youth and persons with disabilities.
  • Value for money; the number of beneficiaries and other expected results (see Section 6) relative to the size of the grant request.
  • The extent to which the requested technical service will provide impact on the applicant’s currentbusiness operations.

5.    Eligibility requirements

  • Submit a complete application per Section 8 and Section 9 of the RFA.
  • Be a U.S. and/or Rwandan or entity that is legally registered and recognized under Rwandan law. Types of eligible entities are:
  • Private enterprises or firms;
  • Agricultural based associations and cooperatives;
  • NGOs (non-profit);
  • Foundations, research institutes and universities; and
  • Legally-organized associations/syndications of the above organizations;
  • Investment contributes to PSDAG objectives under this RFA as detailed in Section 2;
  • Demonstrate willingness to contribute a minimum of cost-share as detailed in the section 3 above.

6.    Expected Results &Indicators of Performance

Prospective grantees are expected to track some of the following results as indication of performance of grant activities. The nature and extent of the monitoring will be: i) determined by the type of project/investment; and ii) negotiated prior to approval and/or disbursement of grant but may include any or all of the following:

  • Value of gross farm incomes of assisted farmers
  • Value of new private sector investment in the agriculture sector or food chain
  • Value of targeted agricultural commodities exported with USG assistance;
  • Value of domestic sales;
  • Value of incremental sales (collected at farm-level) attributed to FTF implementation
  • Number of beneficiaries with new market linkages as a results of USG assistance
  • Number of private enterprises, producers’ organizations, trade and business associations and community based organization (CBOs) that applied improved technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance
  • Number of people who have applied improved technologies or management practices to upgrade agricultural value chains as a result of USG assistance
  • Number of hectares under improved technologies and management practices as a result of USG assistance
  • Number of individual who have received USG supported short term agricultural sector productivity or food security training.
  • Number of micro, small and medium enterprises receiving USG assistance to access loans.
  • Value of agricultural and rural loans provided as a result of PSDAG grant
  • Number of micro, small and medium enterprises receiving business development services from USG assisted sources.Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs created with USG assistance
  • Number of persons trained by PSDAG to promote investment in agriculture
  • Number of institutions including public agencies and financial institutions receiving PSDAG technical assistance to promote investment in agricultural sector
  • Number of persons trained with USG assistance to advance outcomes consistent with gender equality or female empowerment through their roles in public or private sector institutions or organizations

7.    Application and Grant Award Process

The PSDAG project team will review Applications submitted in response to this RFA on a monthly rolling basis until April30, 2018, or until PSDAG allocated funding has been fully obligated. The process for reviewing Applications and subsequent Grant Applications is as follows:

  • Applications will be screened to determine if they meet the minimum eligibility requirements.
  • Eligible applicationswill be reviewed by aGrants Evaluation Committee (GEC); it is anticipated that applications will be reviewed starting on the first of each month.
  • Once all reviews are completed, the GEC will meet and select the most competitive applicants.
  • Whether approved or not approved, the applicant will receive written confirmation of the result from PSDAG.
  • Once shortlisted, PSDAG will conduct a detailed needs assessment to confirm type of services required. The results from this survey will assist PSDAG to determine which services will be supported by PSDAG with/or the applicant.
  • Where needed, PSDAG staff will complete due diligence and final budget negotiations, including site visits, interviews and evaluations to confirm eligibility and capacity of the applicant where applicable. This process will include financial viability and management capability of the organization, among other criteria.
  • Approved grantees will sign a Grant Agreement. PSDAG staff will then begin to work with the grantee to implement and monitor all activities.
  • PSDAG may offer its support in-kind or in Rwandan France (RFW), and the disbursement may be staggered based on milestones reached and/or agreed upon financing schedules.

8.    Request for Application (RFA) Instructions

Firms, Cooperatives or organizations (NGOs) which are interested by this specific grant opportunity and meet the eligibility criteria are required to request full RFA documents and application instructions by sending an email to: grants@psdag.org.

Applicants will need to complete and submit Attachment 1; Grant Application Template, Attachment 2; Budget and their registration documents.

9.    Submission of Applications

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come rolling basis. Applications may be submitted to PSDAG at any point up to the closing date of this solicitation. Completed application forms should be submitted on or before April 30, 2018 at 17:00 hours Local time. Applications should be submitted electronically to: grants@psdag.orgor delivered to the PSDAG offices located at KG 684 St, No. 19, Kacyiru, Kigali.

Applicants who are selected will be notified and will be informed on next steps of pre-award assessment.

10.    Bidders’ conference

The project will hold a pre-application question and answer conference on: Friday, January 5, 2018 and Thursday, February1, 2018, at the PSDAG training room located at the PSDAG offices in Kacyiru, Kigali, at 11:00am to 12:00pm. This conference will allow interested applicants the chance to ask questions about the RFA.

Interested parties that would like to attend this workshop must confirm their attendance by sending the participant’s name and the organization’s name to grants@psdag.org . Maximum of 2 representatives may attend from each organization. When confirming attendance, please indicate if the person has any special needs to access the conference. No reimbursement for costs of attendance will be met. This event will start promptly.

How to apply: 

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