Afghanistan Landscape Analysis Consultant, USAID INVEST

  • Senior-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 15 August 2019
  • Afghanistan
  • Closing on 14 September 2019
  • Current

Job Description

Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge for Development (GCD) Landscape Analysis – Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator: Afghanistan

Position Tite: Afghanistan Landscape Analysis Consultant

Contract Name: INVEST Project

Contract Number: AID-OAA-C-17-00090

Period of Performance: September 2019 - November 2019

Place of Performance: Afghanistan; other, as needed

Total Level of Effort (LOE): 50 days

Evaluator: INVEST Strategic Investment Advisor



INVEST Project

USAID seeks to unlock the potential of private capital to drive inclusive growth. Increasingly, private investors and businesses are looking to emerging markets for better returns and new market opportunities. Specifically, USAID can leverage its resources – grants, technical assistance, guarantees, and convening power – to help raise awareness of investment opportunities, lower transaction costs, and mitigate the risk of investments that generate positive social, economic, and environmental impact.

In support of its efforts to promote blended finance within the agency, the USAID Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise (USAID/PCM) awarded the INVEST contract to DAI in September of 2017. Through INVEST’s flexible buy-in mechanism, USAID Missions and Operating Units are able to access an unprecedented network of firms and individuals that have the range of technical expertise needed to identify opportunities and effectively mobilize private capital toward development priorities. Using a lean approach tailored to high potential opportunities, relevant parts of the network will come together to research, develop, and build specific solutions that align private capital with development needs.


The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge for Development (GCD) will scale innovations that impact the nexus (water, energy, food) primarily through the private sector to increase the sustainability of agricultural food value chains in developing countries and emerging markets – with a particular focus on the poor, youth and women. The WE4F GCD is funded by USAID, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), DST, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA-NL). This consultancy will support the rapid creation and operationalization of the Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator by specifically focusing on Afghanistan, its innovators and the ecosystem to support them.

WE4F is a follow on to two previous Grand Challenges for Development – Securing Water for Food and Powering Agriculture. Its structure is deeply informed by learnings from these two previous GCD on: how to pair funding with acceleration support services; the role private capital can play in addressing the challenges of achieving scale and sustainability; and, a better understanding for how local context impacts innovation and investment.

WE4F will establish Regional Innovation Accelerators in East Africa, West Africa, South Africa, and Southeast Asia (covering South Asia and Southeast Asia).[1] The Regional Innovation Accelerators will be responsible for identifying potential new innovators and providing innovators with both financial and non-financial support in form of a brokering unit and technical assistance unit. The integration of these functions is expected to support innovators more holistically, facilitate quick feedback loops, agile management and mutual learning processes. The WE4F Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator will be based in Bangkok, Thailand and will focus on 17 countries covering both South Asia and Southeast Asia.[2]

  • Technical Assistance Unit: In addition to providing technical advice to innovators themselves, more specialized training or advisory work will be sourced from service providers through a vendor system on the local markets. This structure not only allows for more flexibility and a greater range of advisory activities, but also provides the opportunity for performance-based management of service providers by setting clear targets, monitoring results and adapting strategies (e.g. adapting services or changing service provider).
  • Brokering Unit:This unit’s key function is to support innovators in accessing capital for scaling-up during or at the end of going through the program of the challenge fund. Its activities are crucial from the beginning of the selection phase, when it can play an advisory role in identifying financial needs and challenges of applicants. Moreover, by connecting innovators with potential investors from the start, it can identify areas of needed support (e.g. further refinement of a business model). For this purpose, the challenge fund will form regional and global partnerships for financing with different financial institutions.

This consultancy will focus on supporting the rapid operationalization of the Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator by providing the Accelerator staff with a current investment opportunity pipeline and landscape assessment in Afghanistan focusing on potential innovators working at the nexus (water, food, and energy), the capital and technical/advisory services needed to grow and scale these companies, and who is best positioned in the market to provide these services.


The consultant will be responsible for developing the Afghanistan Landscape Analysis that will facilitate the ability of the Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator to support potential WE4F companies in Afghanistan, by determining the appropriate type of capital, technical advisory services, availability of service and capital providers in-country and/or in-region. Note, particular focus should be made on gender lens investing.

The consultant will target WE4F companies operating at the nexus of food, water, and energy with a current customer base and plans to scale to a minimum of 100,000 customers over a five-year period.[3] All enterprises must have a clear financial model and must also be looking for debt or equity financing. Additional business criteria will be established as a collaborative process with USAID and other funding partners once the consultant reviews the list of enterprises from partners.

The consultant will develop an analysis that will include identification and evaluation of:

  • Prospective enterprises operating at the nexus of water/food, food/energy, or water/food/energy businesses based on enterprises identified through networks/landscape assessment process.
  • Types of capital, appropriate terms, and financial products needed by current innovators and/or prospective enterprises to grow their operating capacity and attract/raise growth capital.
  • Potential Financial Institution partners and investors (local, regional, diaspora, and global) interested in investing in water/food, food/energy, or water/food/energy businesses in the region andwith the ability to offer capital and financial products identified in the above bullet point.
  • Technical and investment advisory services needed by current innovators/prospective enterprises to grow their operating capacity and attract/raise critical growth capital.
  • Potential technical assistance (TA) and business advisory service (BAS) providers (local, regional, and global) linked to the needs identified in the above bullet point.


  • A landscape analysis catalogue that identifies and evaluates the most promising prospective enterprises for scaling over a 4-year period, including capital and technical/investment advisory services needed for each (see Annex A: Sample Enterprise Data Collection Template);
  • A summary report that:
    • Maps capital providers, technical assistance, and business advisory service providers that correspond with list of companies and that are active in the region and/or demonstrate intentions of working and/or investing in the region.
    • Profiles financial sources to focus on and work with providers to develop financial product(s) based on the needs of the identified companies (see Annex B: Sample Investor Data Collection Template).
    • Lists of technical/investment advisory service providers, and which providers are best suited to act as transaction facilitators (see Annex C: Sample Service Provider Data Template).


INVEST will work closely with USAID’s Center for Development Innovation (CDI) and the consultant during all stages of this work. DAI will engage the selected consultant directly and provide review and oversight throughout the life of the consultancy in accordance with INVEST’s lean management approach. DAI will administer weekly check-ins (as needed), reporting, deliverable review prior to client presentation and approval, and manage an ongoing ME&L framework.

  • DAI will work closely with USAID CDI, relevant mission staff, WE4F partners, and Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator Staff to provide the consultant with all necessary context, avoid duplication of efforts, and work with USAID CDI and the successful consultant to develop deliverable(s).
  • Project Implementation: The selected consultant will implement the work as prescribed by the scope. DAI will provide management support and ensure regular check-ins/reporting.
  • Ongoing Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: DAI will define indicators in the Independent Consultant Agreement, collect and review M&E data from the consultant for requisite reporting to USAID. DAI will conduct data quality assessments as necessary.


Up to 50 days of LOE from September 2019 to November 2019, with option to extend. Place of Performance will primarily be consultant’s home of record in Afghanistan. If not based in Afghanistan, the consultant will complete a minimum of one trip of 14 days to Afghanistan. There will be significant interaction with USAID staff based in Washington, DC but this can all be done remotely.


The consultant will report to the INVEST Strategic Investment Advisor or her designee, who will be responsible for technical supervision and acceptance of all deliverables.


Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree and 5 years’ experience or bachelor’s degree and 10 years’ experience in relevant field;
  • Demonstrated regional familiarity, networks, and/or presence;
  • Relevant technical qualifications and experience in frontier and emerging markets, growing and scaling businesses, and facilitating investment transactions;
  • Experience working with private sector;
  • Experience working with both donors and investors;
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, and the ability to multi-task;
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision, and as a part of a complex team;
  • Ability to prioritize effectively in an environment where prudent judgement in essential;
  • Experience working in Afghanistan, including demonstrated networks.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with USAID;
  • Based in Afghanistan;
  • Market familiarity at the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) nexus.

Please apply to this job via the following link:

[1] The hubs will be guided by a steering committee and a secretariat co-managed by German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and USAID. The secretariat will be responsible for the management and coordination of the Regional Innovation Accelerators.

[2] The WE4F Asia Regional Innovation Accelerator will focus on the following 17 countries: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Afghanistan, and Timor Leste.

[3] Current customer base will be variable depending on the product or service providing, the price point, and the market within which the company operates. As an initial guideline, enterprises with a unit cost of more than $100 must have a minimum of 2,500 customers, enterprises with a unit cost of between $100-$500 must have a minimum of 500 customers. Criteria will be further refined during the post-award process in collaboration with USAID.

About the Organization

DAI is an employee-owned global development company. For 40 years, we have worked on the frontlines of international development, tackling fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governments, and instability. Currently, DAI is delivering results that matter in some 60 countries. Our integrated development solutions turn ideas into impact by bringing together fresh combinations of expertise and innovation across multiple disciplines—crisis mitigation and stability operations, democratic governance and public sector management, agriculture and agribusiness, private sector development and financial services, economics and trade, HIV/AIDS and disease control, water and natural resources management, and energy and climate change. Our clients include international development agencies, international lending institutions, private corporations and philanthropies, and national governments.

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