Regional: EU/EBRD DCFTA Programme for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - Project Consultant



Business sector:

Financial institutions

Funding source:

EC Neighbourhood Investment Facility ("NIF")

Contract type:

Consultancy Services

Notice type:

Invitation for expressions of interest (CSU)

Issue date:

18 May 2015

Closing date:

01 Jul 2015   at  23:59   London

Access eSelection

Clarification: The submission deadline has been revised and shall read:

Closing Date: 01 July 2015 at 23:59 London time.


Project and Assignment Description:
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the "EBRD" or the "Bank") in conjunction with the European Commission ("EC") has developed a 3-year EU/EBRD Deep and Comprehesnive Free Trade Area ("DCFTA") Programme for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (the "Programme"). The EBRD DCFTA Programme will assist the development of the SME sector through a variety of investments supported by grant funding from the EU for risk mitigation for PFIs, investment incentives to SMEs and technical assistance ("TA").

The overall purpose of the Programme is to support DCFTA-related priority improvements in SMEs operating in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine following the signing of the Association Agreements ("AAs") in 2014. Specifically, to increase the number of investments that enable SMEs to respond to challenges and opportunities created by the DCFTA, improve the availability and terms of long term funding for businesses in the three beneficiary countries and facilitate cross-border trade operations. In order to make use of the opportunities presented to them by the DCFTA, the businesses in the three countries will face challenges such as increased competitive pressures from better equipped enterprises, adhering to more demanding EU product standards, meeting health and safety standards of their workers and introducing more efficient and less polluting plant equipment and practices that comply with EU and international environmental legislation.

The EBRD’s Programme will consist of 4 windows:
• Window 1 – Facilitating DCFTA-related investment through enhanced SME access to finance;
• Window 2 – Enhancing short- and medium-term trade financing access for businesses to facilitate cross-border trade and domestic distribution operations;
• Window 3 – Business advice for SMEs to enhance their technical, managerial, market knowledge and investment project development capacity;
• Window 4 – Policy dialogue to improve the domestic operating environment for SMEs.

The EBRD will provide senior debt financing to selected Participating Financial Institutions ("PFIs") committed to the overall objectives of the DCFTA for on lending to sub-borrowers ("SMEs") under Window 1 and guarantees and short term loans through its Trade Finance Programme under Window 2.

TA under all the windows will be provided throughout the life of the Programme, while the risk mitigation and investment incentives will be tailored to the individual circumstances in each country and will follow consistent criteria and choice of instruments as well as key terms agreed in the investment legal documentation. Investment incentives to sub-borrowers will be made available on verification by an independent verification consultant (the "Verification Consultant" or "VC") that sub-projects have been successfully implemented. The VC will be subject to a separate procurement notice.

In this context the EBRD seeks to engage a Project Consultant (the "PC" or the "Consultant") to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the Programme (with a focus on Window 1 but will also be the platform for coordination and the collaboration across windows and stakeholders within the broader EU DCFTA Facility (the "Assignment").

The PC shall be familiar with relevant EU Directives and Regulations in the areas of environmental protection, occupational health and safety and product safety and quality, the respective transposition processes in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, the acquis for these three countries.

The objectives of this assignment are to support the EBRD’s investments and to:
• Prepare the ground for the implementation of the EU/EBRD DCFTA Programme and subsequently assist in its implementation.
• Ensure that there is a pipeline of investment projects that meet the eligibility criteria embedded into investment projects.
• Provide support to
o PFIs by evaluating technical proposals of their sub-borrowers and potential sub-borrowers which have been assessed for compliance with the eligibility criteria;
o sub-borrowers (depending on the type and/or size of the investment) by helping them to formulate the investments technical proposals.
• Ensure that the widest range of stakeholders is informed about the Programme and more generally with respect to raising awareness of implementation of EU standards in order to ensure a prompt uptake of the financing and the related benefits, including by working with Visibility Consultants, managing the Programme’s website and “help desk” with dedicated phone lines in each country, participating (as observer) to Steering Committee ("SC") meetings if and when required.
• Coordinate activities related to implementation and monitoring of the Programme, including collecting and analysing data and prepare reports for the various stakeholders (via the EBRD’s Operation Leader) as well as presenting them at the Steering Committee meetings (if required).

The PC will also coordinate the activities across all the DCFTA windows, manage the Programme and assist with coordination with other relevant stakeholders including through meetings with the EU.

Specifically, the Consultant shall:
• Prepare the grant component allocation methodology with monitoring and reporting arrangements and clear this methodology with the EBRD. In particular, in consultation with EBRD, the Consultant will prepare a matrix establishing the most appropriate amounts of investment incentive to SMEs in each country based on the investment relevance in regards to the DCFTA priorities. This matrix will be discussed and made available to the EC so that it can potentially be used by other participants in the Programme.
• Prepare methodology for the assessment and monitoring of additionality of EU grants.
• Produce and place marketing materials.
• Assist with preparations of sub projects, including origination and screening.
• Prepare and organise SC meetings/reports and observe/present at SC meetings.
• Provide guidance and appropriate training materials/sessions for the PFIs personnel to ensure dissemination of the Programme’s procedures into the branches (when applicable).
• Validate eligibility for each individual sub-loan request and calculate appropriate grant amount based on applicable criteria.
• Assist PFIs with preparation and monitoring of Grant Release Requests (for on-payment to SMEs).
• Administer payments of grants within the procedure pre-agreed with the EBRD.
• Establish a List of Eligible Materials and Equipment ("LEME") on the basis of performance requirements set by national standards and regulations, energy performance of new equipment and systems, etc.
• Present annual Programme progress reports and the final report.

Status of Selection Process: Interested firms or groups of firms are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest.

Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in Q3 2015 and has an estimated overall duration of 36 months.

Cost Estimate for the Assignment: EUR 2,500,000.00 (exclusive of VAT). Subject to availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank the Assignment may be extended beyond the current scope.
The Consultant must determine whether any VAT would be chargeable on the services and the basis for that determination, without taking into consideration the special status of the Bank as an IFI and state this to the Bank in their response to the Invitation for Expressions of Interest. To the extent that a Consultant incurs input VAT on goods and services purchased in connection with the provision of services (e.g. VAT on airline ticket) which is not otherwise recoverable by the consultant from the local tax authority, the gross cost to the consultant of such expenses shall be treated as a reimbursable expense.

Funding Source: It is expected that the Assignment will be funded through the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility ("NIF"). Please note selection and contracting will be subject to the availability of funding and the EBRD’s internal approval of the credit lines.

Eligibility: There are no eligibility restrictions.

Consultant Profile: Corporate services are required. The Consultant will be a firm or a group of firms with previous project experience in:
1. implementing similar assignments, focussing particularly on SME investments through commercial banks in transition economies, preferably with IFIs (or similar), including tasks as described above;
2. implementing relevant EU Directives and Regulations in the areas of environmental protection, occupational health and safety and product safety and quality, the acquis communautaire, as well as the transposition process preferably in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova;
3. in the financial sector of the Eastern Partnership ("EaP") countries.

The Consultant’s expert team is expected to include a Project Manager and a Project Director as well as key experts covering the following technical fields:
a) Marketing, sales and communications
b) Environment and social issues
c) Health and safety
d) Product safety and quality
e) Banking
f) MIS
g) Risk Management
h) Credit Scoring

It is expected that the consultant will engage local short-term experts to implement particular tasks within teams working with respective PFIs. All experts, including local project staff will have to be approved by EBRD.

Submission Requirements: In order to determine the capability and experience of Consultants seeking to be selected for this Assignment, the information submitted should include the following:

1. Company/group of firms’ profile, organisation and staffing (max. 2-4 pages).
2. Details of previous project experience or similar assignments particularly undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contract value, contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided (if different from duration) , main activities, objectives.
3. CVs of key experts who could carry out the Assignment detailing qualifications, experience in similar assignments, particularly assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, main activities, objectives.
4. Completed Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet, the template for which is available from the following web-link:

The above information should not exceed 20 pages excluding CVs and Consultant Declaration and Contact Sheet.

The complete expression of interest (including CVs, Consultant Declaration and Contact Sheet) should be submitted, in English, electronically through e-Selection, to reach the Bank not later than the closing date. The expression of interest shall be one file (pdf). The EBRD reserves the right to reject applications of firms submitting more than one file. Only if the permissible file size is exceeded (4MB), the Consultant may split the expression of interest into further files.

In addition, 2 hard copies of the above information, in English, should be submitted to the Bank in an envelope marked "Expression of Interest for Project Consultant for DCFTA Programme", to reach the Bank not later than the closing date, marked for the attention of the Bank’s Contact Person.

Bank Contact Person:
Sophie Medert
Technical Co-operation
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
Tel: + 44 20 7338 7371
(electronic submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address. The above address should be used for the submission of the hardcopies.)

1. Following this invitation for expressions of interest, a shortlist of qualified firms will be formally invited to submit proposals. Consultant selection and contracting will be subject to availability of funding from an appropriate donor.
2. The evaluation criteria are as follows:
a. Firm's experience relevant to the assignment, focussing particularly on SME investments through commercial banks in transition economies, preferably with IFIs, as well experience with EU Directives and Regulations (40%);
b. Firm's experience in comparable assignments in EaP region (40%);
c. Proposed Team composition and CVs (20%).
3. The firm being awarded the contract for the Project Consultant assignment will not be eligible for contract award for the Verification Consultant Assignment and vice versa, although interested firms are free to apply for both assignments.