Close

RFP: Executive Secretary, ECOWAS Rice Observatory

Synopsis of the Request for Proposal (Individual Consultants)

Solicitation Reference No.RFP/046/RFT/2021  
Title of SolicitationExecutive Secretary, ECOWAS Rice Observatory  
Issuing Office & AddressAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Website: www.agra.org
Point of contact for clarifications, questions and ammendmentsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Email Address for submission of CandidacyAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Solicitation Issue DateJuly 14th , 2021
Deadline for submission questions and clarificationsAugust 14th, 2021 1700 hours, East African Time
Deadline for Answering questions and clarificationsAugust 20th, 2021 1700 hours, East African Time
Deadline for Submission of CandidacyAugust 28th, 2021 1700 hours, East African Time  
Please include the subject line “RFP/046/RFT/2021” of the email
Type of consultantIndividual Consultants Only
Anticipated Award TypeCONSULTANCY AGREEMENT
Submission and Evaluation CriteriaCandidates are encouraged to register(if not already registered) as a vendor via the link provided below and provide the listed information in the submitted proposal: https://ekjd.fa.em2.oraclecloud.com/fscmUI/faces/PrcPosRegisterSupplier?prcBuId=300000001758868  

Mandatory application documents:
1. Cover letter
2. Curriculum Vitae including at least 3 referees
3. Copy of National Identification Card or Passport
4. Copy of academic certificates  

Evaluation Criteria summary:
1. Relevant academic qualifications……………………………..15%
2. Key Personal Qualifications……………………..………………….15%
3. Experience of the candidate……………………..…………………40%
– Meets requirements as outlined under competencies  
– Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments carried out
4. Consultant’s understanding of the assignment in cover letter…………………………………………………………………………….20%
5. Relevant experience in the ECOWAS region and fluency in English and French ……………….………………………………………10%  

NB: Only the best candidate shall be considered for interviews

Terms of Reference

Executive Secretary, ECOWAS Rice Observatory

About the ECOWAS Rice Observatory (ERO)

In West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is mandated for the Implementation of the CAADP and the Malabo Declaration. The ECOWAS authorities has adopted a Strategic framework to accelerate the Development of the Rice Value chain in the Region (ECOWAS Rice Offensive) under the Comprehensive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI) and in support to the National Rice Development Strategies. AGRA is working with several partners, such as ECOWAS, CARD, GiZ, BMGF, etc. to address the needs in the rice sector with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency by 2030 in the ECOWAS region. The consumption of high-quality rice across ECOWAS Member States continues to outstrip local supply, leading to the continued growth of imported rice from Thailand, India, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia. No country in West Africa has achieved self-sufficiency despite having the right agro-climatic conditions and water availability to meet local demand.

Based on field research and recommendations from public and private sector partners across six ECOWAS Member States, a regional “ECOWAS Rice Observatory” (ERO) is being created by the stakeholders and will housed be The ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria. ERO will coordinate investments in rice and offer policy recommendations to key decision-makers. At the same time, national rice chapters will be established, comprised of stakeholders across the value chain, research, government, and civil society to ensure a focus on national priorities and alignment to global Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standards.

With support from AGRA and its partners, ECOWAS is seeking an Executive Secretary (ES) to lead the ERO Secretariat. The ES duty station will be Abuja, within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission. The consultant will report to a Board of Directors comprised of AGRA, ECOWAS, development agencies, national chapter representatives, and others in the rice sector. Working in collaboration with our partners—including African governments, researchers, development partners, the private sector, and civil society—ERO will be focused on implementing the recommendations made during the field research and workshop as well as directives of the board.

The consultancy will be for an initial term of two years, with the possibility of extension.

Position Summary

The ES will provide leadership, administrative and logistical support for the ERO Secretariat and its workings throughout the first two years. S/He will be responsible for supporting the Board of Directors, working with each of four technical committees, arranging general assembly meetings and organizing other conferences and events, as needed. S/He will also assist in the recruitment and hiring of technical consultants, as needed, to carry out the initiatives led by the technical committees.   

This position works closely with the program, administrative, and finance teams on all issues. Under the guidance of the ERO Board of Directors, the ES will play a key role in supporting and coordinating all activities of the ERO by aggregating, packaging, and tailoring information gathered through technical committees and disseminating it to stakeholders for the purposes of convening actors for partnership, scaling models, and mobilizing resources.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

A. Strategy development

  • Develops and recommends West African rice sector growth and import substitution strategies to the Board based on the input from Secretariat staff, technical committees, and national chapters.
  • Provides guidance and coordination to donor and government programs across the region to ensure a high degree of synergy and impact according to metrics approved by the Board.
  • Develops a gender equity strategy for women on rice farms and along the value chain to increase women’s agency and income (e.g., parboiling group support, leveraging irrigation infrastructure to cultivate and sell horticulture) with the support of the Equity, Resilience, and MLE technical committee.
  • Proposes and tracks key performance indicators and leads knowledge management efforts, including approaches to monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

B. Board and Technical Committee Management

  • Organizes and prepares virtual and ERO Board meetings on a regular basis (most likely quarterly).
  • Assists volunteer technical experts for each of the four ERO technical committees (1. Markets, Trade and Standards; 2. Finance, Mechanization, Donor Alignment; 3. Seed, Soil and Water management; 4. Equity, Resilience and MLE) to define priorities and develop action plans, including timelines and deliverables.
  • Organizes technical committee virtual meetings, drafts agendas, and takes meeting minutes outlining clear action items and recommendations to the Board.
  • Works with technical committees to prioritize key research studies and approved by the Board, based on available budget, on a rolling basis.
  • Conducts or sub-contracts these research studies and reports findings and recommendations.
  • Supports the establishment of the ECOWAS Rice Observatory SRP National Chapters at the country level.

C. Knowledge and Stakeholder Management

  • Develops and curates with the ECOWAS Commission a website and knowledge management system (with contractor support) of rice-related agronomic and market information, as well as best practices in rice sector development.
  • Acts as the primary liaison with other offices in AGRA.
  • Contribute to build and maintains relationships with major regional initiatives/programmes contributing to the rice value chains development (such as the World Bank & ECOWAS  West Africa Food System Resilience Program, the ECOWAS & GIZ CARI programs, etc.), and organizations regionally and globally such as CORAF, AfricaRice, CILSS, Regional Rice Stakeholders platform, the East African Community Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI-EA), the global SRP secretariat in Bangkok, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and others to exchange learnings and track best practices. 
  • Guides all business processes and relations between ERO partners and AGRA, as well as maintains an in-depth knowledge of ERO, responds and/or re-routes general requests for information.
  • Consolidates and maintains records of technical committee members, consultants, and service-providers.

D. Administrative Management

  • Oversees all office, operational and administrative activities of the ERO including recruitment of staff.
  • Documents and manages the activities and work plan for the Secretariat.
  • Verifies and tracks the ERO Secretariat’s budget and expenditure.
  • Processes the preparatory work required for procurement, contracting, administration, and validation & review systems of sub-contractors as well as make follow-ups to confirm service delivery.
  • Verifies that service-providers are contracted, supported, and paid according to AGRA policies and procedures within the timeframes agreed.
  • Reviews ERO legal registrations and maintains the organization’s good standing with national authorities.
  • Organizes for the Board special assignments, travel, visitor travel, and events administration including the semi-annual General Assembly meetings in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission.

Deliverables

The consultant is expected to provide the following outputs:

A. Strategy development

  • West African rice sector growth and import substitution strategies developed and recommended to the Board based on the input from Secretariat staff, technical committees, and national chapters.
  • Gender equity strategy for women on rice farms and along the value chain to increase women’s agency and income (e.g., parboiling group support, leveraging irrigation infrastructure to cultivate and sell horticulture) with the support of the Equity, Resilience, and MLE technical committee.
  • Proposed key performance indicators and approaches to monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
  • Quarterly MEL reports tracking identified key performance indicators.

B. Board and technical committee management

  • Organize and prepare virtual and ERO Board meetings on a regular basis (most likely quarterly).
  • Defined priorities and developed action plans, including timelines and deliverables with the assistance of volunteer technical experts for each of the four ERO technical committees (1. Markets, Trade and Standards; 2. Finance, Mechanization, Donor Alignment; 3. Seed, Soil and Water management; 4. Equity, Resilience and MLE).
  • Technical committee virtual meetings, drafts agendas, and takes meeting minutes outlining clear action items and recommendations to the Board (starting by September 2021 through December 2022).
  • Prioritized key research studies working with the technical committees and approved by the Board, based on available budget, on a rolling basis.
  • Research study reports detailing findings and recommendations.
  • Establish SRP National Chapters in Ghana and Burkina Faso
    – Registration and administrative structures
    – Recruit volunteer Board and Technical Committee members
    – Organize quarterly Board meetings – establishing priorities, timelines, and deliverables
    – Organize and facilitate monthly virtual meetings for four Technical Committees
    – Recruit SRP National Chapter Ghana and Burkina Faso secretariat staff
    – Organizing one conference/trade show for the Ghanaian and Burkina Faso rice industry in Accra and Ouagadougou (
  • Support the establishment of the ECOWAS Rice Observatory SRP National Chapters at the country level as determined by the Board.

C. Knowledge and stakeholder management

  • Website and knowledge management system (with contractor support) of rice-related agronomic and market information, as well as best practices in rice sector development developed and curated with the ECOWAS Commission.
  • Quarterly progress reports on:
    – Contribution to building and maintaining relationships with major regional initiatives/programmes contributing to the rice value chains development (such as the World Bank & ECOWAS  West Africa Food System Resilience Program, the ECOWAS & GIZ CARI programs, etc.), and organizations regionally and globally such as CORAF, AfricaRice, CILSS, Regional Rice Stakeholders platform, the East African Community Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI-EA), the global SRP secretariat in Bangkok, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and others to exchange learnings and track best practices. 
    – Guidance to all business processes and relations between ERO partners and AGRA, as well as maintains an in-depth knowledge of ERO, responds and/or re-routes general requests for information.
    – Records of technical committee members, consultants, and service-providers

D. Administrative management

  • Quarterly progress reports covering:
    – Operational and administrative activities of the ERO including recruitment of staff
    – Management of the activities and work plan for the Secretariat
    – The ERO Secretariat’s budget and expenditure
    – Procurement, contracting, administration, and validation & review systems of sub-contractors as well as follow-ups to confirm service delivery
    – Verification that service-providers are contracted, supported, and paid according to ECOWAS and AGRA policies and procedures within the timeframes agreed.
    – Review of ERO legal registrations and maintaining the organization’s good standing with national authorities.
    – Board special assignments, travel, visitor travel, and events administration including the semi-annual General Assembly meetings in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission.

Key Qualifications & Experience

  • A Masters’ degree in Management, Public Administration, Marketing or any business-related area
  • Minimum of 6 years managing a busy, high profile office, with at least 3 years of post-qualification experience in managing complex stakeholder policy platforms/alliances.
  • Experience in setting up and running conferences and public-private stakeholder events.
  • Experience working with a large multinational development agency in a management and coordination role is required.
  • Experience working in teams and managing processes that are dependent on cooperation with multiple actors.
  • Understanding of experience with financial and budget management.
  • Practical experience in negotiation and influencing.
  • Excellent report/proposal writing skills and dependable in meeting all deadlines and deliverables.
  • Experience in agricultural related programs is desirable.
  • Experience working with a multinational development agency in a management and coordination role is an advantage.
  • Understanding and experience with West African politics and ECOWAS preferred.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, to ECOWAS countries, as needed.
  • Fluent in English and French is required.  

Key Personal Characteristics

  • Passion for the vision and mission of the ERO for the development of the West African the rice sector.
  • Self-starter who is a highly motivated natural leader.
  • Excellent communication skills, which are necessary to build relationships and credibility with both the private and public sector and to build bridges between the two.

Reporting

The Executive Secretary will be reporting directly to ECOWAS and AGRA but also take direction from the Board of Directors and technical committees.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Relevant academic qualifications…………………………………………………………………..15%
  2. Key Personal Qualifications as required in (E) above……………….………..…………………15%
  3. Experience of the candidate……………………..…………………..…………………………………….40%
    – Meets requirements as outlined under competencies 
    – Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments carried out
  4. Consultant’s understanding of the assignment in cover letter………………………………20%
  5. Relevant experience in the ECOWAS region and fluency in English and French is…10%

NB: Only the best candidate shall be considered for interviews.

Application Submission Requirements

  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae including at least three referees
  • Cover letter  providing an understanding of the position, qualifications, and interest (no more than 1 page)

Application Review Process

All candidates will be reviewed by a taskforce of ERO Board members which will include AGRA and ECOWAS. The final decision on candidate selection will be made by the ERO Board of Directors.

Guidelines for Preparations and Submission of Proposals

  • The Curriculum Vitae, and other mandatory documents, SHALL be submitted to procurement@agra.org by deadline indicated in the synopsis
  • The Curriculum Vitae and all attachments submitted via email SHALL NOT exceed 10MB

Download full RFP:
https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/RFP-046-RFT-2021-Executive-Secretary-Ecowas-Rice-Observatory-July-2021.docx