UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and localized investments that show how fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the SDGs call for more resources to be mobilized to fill the SDG financing gap. Many development actors are increasing the amount of public and philanthropic concessional funding they are dedicating to catalyze additional commercial investments into development projects. Much of the focus of research to date is in effect looking at how blended finance is being deployed in middle income countries, though it is not always clear what the potential of blended finance is, and how or under what conditions or in which sectors or localities it can best be applied, in least developed countries (LDCs) contexts. Examining such questions and filling data and evidence gaps are increasingly important as blended finance plays a growing role in helping countries mobilize the resources they need to meet the SDGs. Indeed, while ODA is often the largest source of eternal finance in LDCs, leveraging effectively those and other resources is highly relevant in order to get finance flowing to where it is needed most and as LDCs seek to tackle their development challenges and overcome the various constraints they face in mobilizing the resources they need.
Starting in 2018, UNCDF will prepare a series of knowledge products on the application of blended finance in the LDCs, with a specific focus on the application of this type of finance at the local level. Through these knowledge products, UNCDF aims to a) contribute to the policy debate on blended finance by developing empirical evidence and original research on how blended finance is being and can be used in LDCs to mitigate risk and attract investment for the SDGs and b) create a community of practice that can help shape the actions of investors and practitioners with regard to how the risks and opportunities of applying blended finance at the local level in LDCs are seen. Indeed, many stakeholders are wary of investing in LDCs in general, given concerns over absorptive capacity, risk, low returns, and sustainability. The risk then is that resources will continue to be allocated in ways that entrench exclusions and inequalities between and within countries rather than overcoming them.
The first knowledge product will be launched in summer 2018, providing an overview of the landscape of how blended finance is currently being deployed in LDCs. This report will be followed by additional knowledge products on specific topics and themes related to UNCDF’s core areas of competence– eg clean energy or municipal finance. This focus on specific themes will help bring out details on which tools, instruments, and types of institutions work best in which settings and sectors and why.
Informed decision-making on the potential role of blended finance in LDCs requires data and evidence. At present, judgments on the usefulness of blended finance in LDCs, let alone the so-called last mile in LDCs, are hampered by the quality and consistency of data available on such investments.
The first report on blended finance in the LDCs aims to help fill this data and evidence gap. It also aims to respond to the following overarching question: What are conditions that make blended finance an appropriate instrument in the development toolbox to mobilize commercial investments for sustainable development in the LDCs? To this end, the report will be guided by the following questions:
For this first report, UNCDF is looking to collaborate with established players in the field of blended finance and to work with a wide range of relevant actors, building where appropriate on other research underway or about to be completed, in order to ensure that it is adding value; maximizing visibility of the end product; avoid duplication with research already planned by others; and generating wider buy-in for the end product. These partnerships may or may not continue for any subsequent report; any partnerships for further reports will be renewed or developed as relevant to the specific topic at hand.
UNCDF is looking to recruit an international consultant to support and contribute to the development of the first knowledge product on blended finance in LDCs. By responding to the overarching question - “what are conditions that make blended finance an appropriate instrument to mobilize commercial investments for sustainable development in the LDCs?” - the report aims to contribute evidence and knowledge on the application of blended finance in the LDCs. It will include three main sections: an overview of blended finance in the LDCs with an analysis of data and contextual factors; a sample of key case studies which illustrate different ways of applying blended finance and the use of different instruments; and external contributions (op-ed style pieces) from key players in the field.
UNCDF is looking to collaborate with established players in the field of blended finance and to work with a wide range of relevant actors.
The consultant will work under the supervision of the policy cluster in the Partnership, Policy and Communication (PPC) unit of UNCDF, and will interact closely with other key contributors to the knowledge product as well as the key actors in the area of blended finance.
The consultant will perform the following major tasks:
The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the UNCDF Policy Adviser and Policy Specialist, and will remain in regular contact with the Policy Adviser on progress made, providing weekly updates.
The consultant will work full-time work from the UNCDF offices. He/she will have access to the relevant UNCDF programme and other documents; the Policy Adviser can assist in this regard.
The consultant will need to conduct his/her own research as well as (telephonic) interviews as required. No mission travel is envisaged for this assignment.
Payment will be made via two, all-inclusive lump sums. 50% of the payment will be made after 25 days of work (of satisfactory quality) and supporting documents (e.g. timesheet, invoice).
The balance of payment (50%) will be made upon completion of the remaining 25 days of the assignment once all agreed outstanding deliverables are completed to a satisfactory quality.
Minimum post-graduate degree in the field of public administration, economics, development, finance, business or public administration, or related field.
Evaluation of Applications:
The candidates will be evaluated through the Cumulative Analysis method. The award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:
Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points in the technical evaluation would be considered for Financial Evaluation.
Technical Evaluation Criteria (Total 70 marks):
Financial Evaluation (Total 30 marks):
If there is any approved travel, UNCDF will pay separately travel expenses (economy airfare, terminal expenses and per diems which include hotel and food expenses) according to standard UN rates based on evidence of approved and actual travel.
Individual Consultants are responsible for ensuring they have vaccinations/inoculations when traveling 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
UNDP’s Individual Consultant’s General Terms and Conditions are provided here: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/documents/procurement/documents/IC%20-%20General%20Conditions.pdf