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RFP for the Recruitment of a Firm to Design, Test, and Deploy iHuzo Digital Platform

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AFR began its operations in 2010 with the core objective of stimulating the development of the financial sector in Rwanda.

Advert for the Recruitment of a Firm to Design, Test, and Deploy iHuzo Digital Platform


Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) is a Rwandan Not for Profit Organization, established in March 2010 by the governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK) and is currently funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) former UK Department for International Development (DFID), MasterCard Foundation, USAID, and Sweden. Guided by the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach, AFR’s strategic focus is to stimulate financial sector development and address constraints that prevent the financial market from reaching Rwanda’s low-income population.

AFR supports the Government of Rwanda’s development objectives by aligning all its interventions to the national policy frameworks, including the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) II, the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), the National Employment Policy, and the National Investment Strategy.

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As part of its COVID-19 response initiatives, AFR partnered with Rwanda ICT Chamber through iHuzo Project to accelerate the growth of micro and small enterprises by expanding the e-commerce sector in Rwanda.

The Rwanda ICT Chamber is a member-based organization representing country-based ICT companies and a member of the broader business community as part of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF). The Rwanda ICT Chamber represents more than 214 fee-paying member companies and more than 100 non-fee-paying through its innovation and incubation programs. Many of these businesses are at different growth stages: startups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and Corporations. The Rwandan ICT Chamber offers to its member companies a wide range of tailored services, including access to markets, advocacy, access to finance, skills development, and many more. For more details visit: www.ict


The impact of COVID-19 on the Rwandan economy has been significant. There is an urgent need to connect sellers and buyers through e-commerce since social distancing is hampering the sale of goods and services in person. However, without enough Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on digital platforms, the platforms cannot drive the expected boost to e-commerce, as the market demand is simply not high enough for the supply side to respond. The GoR, development partners, and other stakeholders continue to implement several initiatives to cushion the pandemic’s effects and jumpstart the economic recovery process. These initiatives aim to support the recovery of the business hardest hit by COVID-19, including Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) and address other urgent needs brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic made clear the high-value propositions of digital adoption and digital commerce for society at large, by providing continuity of essential services and goods and by offering contactless, cashless transactions. AFR in collaboration with the ICT Chamber has identified the need for interventions that would speed up digital adoption and support productive livelihoods for young adults through digital commerce amid the response to the global pandemic and part of an existing national ICT growth strategy.

Thus, AFR initiated the project: iHuzo (Accelerating growth of MSEs through expanding the e-commerce sector in Rwanda) with ICT Chamber as on-ground implementing partner and BFA Global offering technical assistance for the project. The overall aim of the intervention is to spur the growth of livelihoods and employment opportunities through e-commerce, to address the barriers, and promote an enabling market system for e-commerce with onboarding MSEs into the digital economy at the core. By educating, driving, and facilitating how MSEs get onto platforms, the demand for onboarding to e-commerce will increase as MSEs experience revenue growth, and which will unlock growth along the value chain including expanding livelihoods iWorkers as MSEs’ need for services and workers to help their businesses grow online. By enhancing e-commerce growth, the project also hopes to contribute to solving the challenging issue of jobless growth in the country by creating more work opportunities, especially for the youth in Rwanda.

Specific project objectives include:

i.  Onboarding up to 1,500 non-digital local MSE  businesses and 2,000 iWorkers onto e-commerce and digital commerce platforms. 
ii. Establish a network of at least 100 e-commerce specific centers or cafes to support MSEs onboard onto e-commerce and digital commerce platforms to employ youths as iWorkers.
iii.  Increase trust and quality in the marketplace by addressing challenges of matching, reputation management, information that foster iWorker employment generation.
iv.  Enhance public-private dialog between government and the private sector to align priorities and address market gaps.
v. Create linkages and partnerships with lenders willing to test alternative methods of credit assessment and other development programs promoting the growth of MSEs.


 To achieve its project objectives, the project will build iHuzo, a platform that onboards MSEs and iWorkers and links them with e-commerce platforms and other partners (e.g., FSPs and logistics partners).  iHuzo is expected to catalyze the market system for e-commerce, attract partners, and create the knowledge and demonstration for e-commerce to be replicated and sustained by other Rwandan companies after this program ends.

AFR and ICT Chamber, thus, seek a firm with local presence, or a consortium that includes a partner with local presence in Rwanda, who can design, develop, test, pilot, and roll-out/deploy a software platform that meets or exceeds the technical requirements identified in the sections D and E below.

For this assignment, the firm is expected to employ an agile approach to perform the following activities

a. Design and develop iHuzo platform that is responsive and runs in the browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer) on common computing devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets for use by AFR and ICT Chamber, MSEs/iWorkers, e-commerce companies, financial service providers (FSPs), relevant government entities, and other parties such as logistics partners that may be included later. See table 1 below for a detailed description of users.   

b. Test, pilot, iterate and roll-out the platform to reflect as much user feedback as possible to the satisfaction of AFR and ICT Chamber.
c. Train AFR and ICT Chamber as well as other stakeholders deemed relevant on all aspects to the technology used to build the software platform. 

A usable first iteration (MVP) of the proposed iHuzo platform should be deployed and actively used by all relevant stakeholders within or less than 3 months after the contract enters force. After the release of the MVP, the firm will continue to iterate on the platform under the direction of the Project Manager for a period of at least 6 months.  Maintenance (bug fixing and security patching) will be conducted as needed throughout the contract.

The platform design, testing, deployment, milestones, and deliverables will be conducted in agreed upon sprints as determined during the project kickoff process. There is potential for extended maintenance support, to be determined at a later stage by AFR and ICT Chamber. 

The firm shall report to the ICT Chamber Program Manager who will coordinate Program Managers from BFA Global and AFR to ensure their input is considered at every sprint.


Below is a description of some of the tasks that the firm will be expected to perform under this assignment.

i. The firm will use an agile methodology to design, develop, test, pilot, iterate, and deploy a digital, secure software platform that allows for onboarding of MSEs/iWorkers and linking them with e-commerce platforms, FSPs and other relevant stakeholders.  Table 1 below provides a detailed list of users, their tasks (“jobs”), and the requirements they need to be able to perform their “jobs” on iHuzo. 
ii. The firm shall gather feedback on all prototypes resulting from the design process through user research with selected sample users. 
iii. The firm is expected to incorporate some level of test automation to increase user confidence in the platform.
iv. The firm must use Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) to deploy the code to a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment before the sprint ends.
v. The firm shall work collaboratively with the technical Project Manager and the Program Manager from BFA to effectively design, develop, pilot, iterate, and successfully deploy the iHuzo platform. 
vi. The firm shall provide on-site training (virtual or in person pending COVID-19 regulations) on the use of the software application for the purpose of technical knowledge transfer to AFR and ICT Chamber.   
vii. Once training on the software used and overall working of the platform is completed, the firm and AFR/ICT Chamber will organize day and time for a meeting (virtual or in person) during which the firm will transfer all knowledge necessary about the software, services, security components, etc. to AFR/ICT Chamber.  
viii. The firm shall include a list of any additional software, recommend minimum requirements for the hosting environment, or support local web hosting service providers required for successful deployment to include them in the iHuzo program procurement process. Additionally, the firm shall include diagrams demonstrating how all the software used works.  
ix. The firm shall work closely with AFR and ICT Chamber to determine the collection, storage and manipulation of all the data (e.g., information on MSEs and iWorkers, etc.) that are part of this assignment. 
x. All deliverables provided by the firm under this project must be reviewed, approved and signed off by the Project Manager as being fully accepted by AFR/ICT Chamber. After this process is completed, a milestone payment will be made accordingly. All the deliverables generated as part of this assignment will be under the sole ownership of AFR and ICT Chamber. 

How to Apply

All interested and qualified firms should submit their proposals (both Technical and Financial) separately, marked with clear subject line: “Recruitment of a Firm to Design, Test and Deploy iHuzo Digital Platform to; not later than Tuesday 11th May 2021 at 05:00 pm Central African Time (CAT).

KEY NOTE: Follow this link to the AFR website website information on this advertisement.