UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa Research Consultant
Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and has benefitted from two decades of impressive economic growth. As the continent with the largest youth population in the world with 60% of population under age 25, Africa has significant potential for digital transformation and entrepreneurial activity, which could also help the continent in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, Africa’s bulging youth population is also a responsibility which, if not responded to adequately, will present an additional challenge for a continent already struggling with widespread youth unemployment.
Digital transformation presents an opportunity to achieve sustainable development by providing faster, better and previously unavailable methods for solving problems. These opportunities can also support entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa and help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to harness the opportunities and respond to the challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). For example, Africa has the highest mobile money accounts in the world with more than 300 million accounts and more than 500 companies providing fintech services. These options in Africa’s digital ecosystem, such as mobile banking and financial services solutions, support innovative business models as well. Specifically, digital entrepreneurship provides opportunities and a new model for the continent to use the potential of the youth and diminish youth unemployment and underemployment. Besides, digital entrepreneurs are seen as the catalyzers to bring digital revolution with groundbreaking technological products.
In this direction, Africa’s progress over recent years has manifested itself in the emergence of notable digital and e-commerce entrepreneurs and significant improvements across a number of socioeconomic indicators. The increasing number of digital platforms and opportunities in digital entrepreneurship provide new livelihoods opportunities for the youth in Africa. Gig-matching platforms created new employment opportunities for youth in various sectors such as ICT, and online free lancing (eLancing). ELancing platforms, for example, generated a 77% growth in 2020. ?? Although Africa has the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world with 22%, African businesses are not fully successful in scaling up and innovating in the digital era. Only 17% of new businesses are expected to create six jobs, which is the lowest rate at global level. Moreover, COVID-19 affected SMEs that operate in different sectors. In Africa, two out of three businesses affected from the pandemic with 75% faced reduced sales. On the other hand, the effects of COVID-19 strengthen the role of digitalization and boost certain sectors, such as health or banking and financial services sector. Each sector differs in terms of their potential contribution to growth and sustainable development. Therefore, a sectoral approach is necessary to understand the ecosystem in Africa, identify the potential of different sectors and to conclude recommendations for private and public sector actors.
Overall objective of the consultancy is to conduct research with a structured methodology (i) to identify the most promising sectors for digital entrepreneurship in Africa to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), (ii) to map the important actors in the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa, (iii) identify the effects of COVID-19 on digital entrepreneurship and how it changed the sectoral directions for digital entrepreneurship. Specific focus should be on vulnerable demographic groups such as youth, women, migrants and the disabled. The Consultant will review existing materials on previous public-private sector interventions in advancing digital entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills development. In addition, the effects of COVID-19 on promising sectors, skills development and overall, on digital entrepreneurship should be considered.
This position is home-based. The Consultant will report to the IICPSD Technical Specialist based in Istanbul. The activities will be carried out in collaboration with IICPSD Digital Transformation and Skills team.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the supervision of the Technical Specialist, the consultant is responsible for the following tasks:
- Develop and finalize a research methodology;
- Develop a pool of case studies and good practices;
- Develop and finalize a case selection methodology and ranking system to select the cases;
- Conduct a literature review of existing work around the issue of digital entrepreneurship and skills development in Africa;
- Map out existing research, tools, and resources that indicates current situation, including (i) the most promising sectors for digital entrepreneurship in Africa (including challenges and advantages) to achieve SDGs (ii) the effects of COVID-19 on digital entrepreneurship and on different sectors; (iii) the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa;
- Map out policy interventions of public organizations; (i) incentives that leverage or practices that discourage private sector engagement and (ii) incentives provided for certain sectors for digital entrepreneurship;
- Map out private sector interventions and public private partnership practices conducted to advance digital entrepreneurship in Africa;
- Map out and create a pool of good practices and case studies on digital entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills development in Africa;
- Map out the effects of COVID-19 on digital entrepreneurship in Africa and on the most promising sectors.
- Collect and analyze relevant data (statistics, figures, etc.)
- Develop a comprehensive report in English including case studies, good practices, recommendations for private and public sector, local authorities and civil society organizations;
- Ensure better interpretation of the findings, data visualization is important;
- The consultant shall consider comments of UNDP to the draft report. If needed, UNDP has the right to comment on the second draft report and expect that the consultant incorporates the comments in the final version.
Expected outputs and deliverables
Under the supervision of the IICPSD Technical Specialist, the consultant will be responsible for the following deliverables:
- A research and case selection methodology approved by the Technical Specialist;
- An analytical report in English, containing research findings (including good practices and recommendations), methodology description, and data visualization in the Microsoft Word format (10,000 words excluding front and back matter).
- A concise visual description and interpretation of the findings in the PowerPoint format (approx. 10 slides).
Deliverables are indicated in detail below:
A meeting with UNDP conducted and collection of relevant background materials completed.
2 working days
27 October 2021
Documents reviewed and a draft research methodology, a case study selection methodology and ranking system, and report’s outline developed and approved by UNDP
4 working days
11 November 2021
A research methodology finalized according to UNDP feedback and approved by UNDP; report’s final outline approved
1 working day
18 November 2021
A literature review conducted; relevant data gathered
3 working days
25 November 2021
Data analyzed and visualized
2 working days
28 November 2021
Draft report prepared as per the methodological approach agreed and discussed with UNDP
5 working days
15 December 2021
UNDP comments gathered and reflected in the report and final report produced and approved by UNDP
2 working days
29 December 2021
Study findings prepared and submitted in the PowerPoint format and approved by UNDP
1 working day
13 January 2021
Basic characteristics of the report:
- The structure of the report shall include a cover page, executive summary (400 words), pull out summary (1200 words), contents, introduction, report body (methodology and analysis of the research findings), recommendations, conclusion, and appendices.
- All appendices should be numbered; all tables and illustrations should have citations referring to the sources and have references within the text of the report.
- All tables should be presented in the Microsoft Excel format or be easily converted hereinto. The consultant shall not embed external editable Excel images and tables into the Word documents.
- The results of the work shall include but not be limited to: the electronic version of the report (*.docx), baseline materials (*.docx, *.xls, formats).
- The report should be written in English and not exceed 10,000 words, excluding front and back matter.
4. Consultant reporting requirements
- The Consultant shall report to the Technical Specialist based in Istanbul.
- The Consultant shall be ready to undertake international travel during the assignment period if required and the travel expenses will be covered following UNDP rules and procedures.
- The assignment is home-based for the duration of the contract.
- Commitment to UNDP mission, vision and values;
- Sensitivity to cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age differences.
- Strong communication skills, including writing, speaking, non-verbal and visual communications;
- Strong analytical skills, including ability to produce high quality reports and knowledge products with a focus on entrepreneurship, digital transformation and skills development;
- Experience in entrepreneurship programmes, digital transformation with particular focus on Africa;
- Strategic sense for understanding multiple audiences;
- Experience in knowledge management and global development issues;
- Familiarity and experience of UN Agencies;
- Ability to function in a diverse, multicultural team environment;
- Flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit to deliver outputs under sometimes tight deadlines.
- Productive and efficient worker, highly motivated;
- Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize tasks;
- Performance-oriented and focused on results;
- Persistence and willingness to follow through;
- Strong interpersonal skills and flexibility;
- Ability to take instructions and to learn on the job;
- Curiosity and desire to work a complex, international environment.
 Front matter is the information about the publication which precedes the main text. It may include title pages, writers name, logo, copyright details, testimonial, disclaimer, acknowledgement, contents page, foreword, preface, and introduction. Back matter is the information about the publication which includes notes, references, and appendices.
Required Skills and Experience
- Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Economics/Management, Development Studies, or related field. Master’s degree in these areas with a specific focus on Africa will be an added value.
- Minimum 5 years of experience (3 years with Master’s Degree) in development work and research development on Africa, out of which at least 2 years are related to private-public sector programmes and 3 (1 year with Master’s degree) in entrepreneurship and digital transformation related work.
- Experience in writing research papers/development reports with ability in editing and writing in English is required;
- Experience on conducting research and good knowledge on the digital transformation, (digital) entrepreneurship and skills development, especially on development and policy issues in Africa, the trends, effects of COVID-19 is highly desirable;
- Experience in working with international organizations is an asset.
- Excellent written and verbal skills in English.
7. Evaluation of applicants
Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a cumulative analysis taking into consideration the combination of the applicants’ qualifications and financial proposal. The award of the contract should be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:
a) responsive/compliant/acceptable, and
b) having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical (P11 desk reviews and interviews) and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.
Only candidates who will get min. 70% of points in desk review (criteria A-F) will be invited for interviews. Only candidates who get min. 70% of points in technical evaluation (includes desk review and interview, criteria A-I) will be scored in financial evaluation.
Technical Criteria - 70% of total evaluation (includes desk review and interview) – max. 70 points:
- A – Desk review – Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Economics/Management, Development Studies, or related field. Master’s degree in these areas with a specific focus on Africa will be an added value (Max. 5 points)
- B – Minimum 5 years (3 years with Master’s Degree) of experience in development work and research development on Africa, out of which at least 2 years are related to private-public sector programmes and 3 (1 year with Master’s degree) in entrepreneurship and digital transformation related work (Max points 15).
- C - Desk review -. Experience in writing research papers/development reports with ability in editing and writing in English (Max points 15)
- D – Desk review - Experience on conducting research and good knowledge on the digital transformation, (digital) entrepreneurship and skills development, especially on development and policy issues in Africa, the trends, effects of COVID-19 (Max points 10)
- E – Desk review – Experience in working with international organizations (Max points 5)
- F – Desk review – Excellent written and verbal skills in English (Max points 5)
- G – Interview - Communication skills (Max points 5)
- H – Interview - Experience in working with international organizations. (Max points 5)
- I – Interview - Flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit to deliver outputs under sometimes tight deadlines. (Max points 5).
Please ensure that your experience related to criteria A-F and above-mentioned competencies is very well documented in your P11 and cover letter.
Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation (max points 30).
8. Application procedures
The application submission is a two-step process. Failing to comply with the submission process may result in disqualifying the applications.
Step 1: Interested candidates must include the following documents when submitting the applications (Please group all your documents into one (1) single PDF attachment as the system only allows upload of one document):
- Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position. Please paste the letter into the "Resume and Motivation" section of the electronic application.
- Filled P11 form or CV including past experience in similar projects and contact details of referees(blank form can be downloaded fromhttp://www.eurasia.undp.org/content/dam/rbec/docs/P11_modified_for_SCs_and_ICs.doc).
- Offeror Letter
Individual Consultants are responsible for ensuring they have vaccinations/inoculations when travelling to certain countries, as designated by the UN Medical Director. Consultants are also required to comply with the UN security directives set forth under dss.un.org
General Terms and conditions as well as other related documents can be found under: http://on.undp.org/t7fJs.
Qualified women and members of minorities are encouraged to apply.
Due to large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process.
Further information to get a better understanding of the hiring unit and the work can be found from this link.