DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE (PART-A)
Feasibility Study of Sharia-Compliant Islamic Finance Products in Afghanistan
Organization : MUTAHID Development Finance Institution Ltd.
Location : Kabul
Duration : Short Term
No. of Post : 01
Sex : Male/Female
1.0 Objectives of the study :
This study has two main objectives. First, the feasibility study of Sharia-compliant Islamic finance products, that aims to identify the Islamic microfinance products that can be offered in Afghanistan’s microfinance market in order to reach the maximum number of microfinance clients. In order to do so, the consultant must make sure that awareness and familiarity with the landscape of the industry particularly the legal and regulatory space, state of demand for this class of services as well as the market supply of Shariah compliant products are conducted extensively. And second, the study also aims to evaluate the current Islamic microfinance product offered by Mutahid, its effectiveness and ways to improve the product further. Since Islamic microfinance in the country is still mostly limited to offering Murabaha products, this study is being conducted to identify the most applicable Islamic products to be offered in order to reach more clients in Afghanistan.
MUTAHID’s expectations from this study are as follows:
- Analyze the current Sharia-compliant Islamic finance products and refine them to meet the needs of the microfinance clients.
- To analyze whether the current Islamic product is in line with the Sharia rules and regulations.
- Scoping study to know the potential for Islamic MF products currently not offered by the MF providers in Afghanistan.
- A detailed demand and supply side survey to identify the needs of more Shariah compliant products in Afghanistan
- The suitability of each Islamic finance product with different MF clients of different age groups and gender
- To measure the level of satisfaction towards the Islamic MF products currently offered by the MF providers in Afghanistan
- Upon finalizing the final draft of the study, and under the supervision of an authorized Islamic committee in Afghanistan, the consultant should provide a detailed report suggesting which products can be piloted in Afghanistan. The suggestions must be based on the findings within Afghanistan and the results of such products in other countries having similar socio-religious environment.
2.0 Duties and responsibilities of the consultant
In order to achieve the study’s objectives, although not limited to, the consultant’s tasks
will be as follows:
- Kick-off workshop with the key stakeholders to better understand the whole landscape, followed by a wrap-up workshop at the end of the study to share the findings
- Develop an action plan that includes a detailed work plan timeline
- Review and collect relevant secondary information.
- Design research methodology and develop research instruments that will meet the study objectives
- Design the selection methodology of sample prospect/existing microfinance clients, identifying focus groups and key informant interviews and structure/semi-structured questionnaires.
- Conducting a detailed demand and supply side survey, and providing a detailed report on the findings.
- Prepare and present the final report to the Mutahid’s Senior management team
- Final study should include findings, analysis and recommendations on Islamic microfinance products which would be most suited for Afghanistan within respective provinces/geographies. The consultant will work with the relevant Mutahid staff throughout the process.
3.0 Expected output
The consultant is supposed to provide a narrative report providing details of the study methodology: whether the objectives of the study has been met or not, and a conclusion with recommendations on proposed Islamic finance products based on the outcome of the feasibility study. The consultant is expected to present the draft of the final findings through a Power-point presentation to the Mutahid management and based on the discussion and evaluation, the final report has to be finalized and shared with Mutahid management.
All the deliverables shall be submitted within the time frame shown in the table below:
The study is for a total of 25 working days.
All the study papers and surveys and related tools are to be submitted to Mutahid
Towards end of the assignment
Pre testing report (before initiation of field work)
Data collection /cleaning/Validation Report
Draft report, including the detailed demand and supply survey and its findings
Final Report & Presentation
A complete guide for recommendations over Islamic microfinance products which would be most suited for Afghanistan within respective provinces/geographies.
Required Skills and Experience
Skills Required :
- At least 8-10 years of development finance experience, particularly in the field of designing microfinance and Sharia compliant financial product. Experience with a wholesale financer or Technical Assistance supplier is a plus.
• Knowledge of financial sector regulatory regimes preferred.
• Ability to work under pressure and adapt to the rapidly changing security and work environment.
• A confident and capable communicator, both in writing and speaking. Strong knowledge of English language.
• Strong proficiency with computer applications such as MS Word and Excel.
• Strong interpersonal skills.
- Master’s degree from a reputed university required; degree in development finance preferred.
Location of the Assignment
Afghanistan – Kabul with travel to provinces for field work.
Line of Reporting:
The consultant would be reporting to Chief Executive Officer, Mutahid DFI.
The application package, only acceptable in English language, should comprise up-to-date résumé and a cover letter explaining your interest and suitability for the position.
Interested candidates should submit their application package only by e-mail with the subject “Vacancy –Consultant (Feasibility Study of Sharia-Compliant Islamic Finance Products)”. Due to the expected large number of applications, only shortlisted candidates would be contacted.
About the Organization
Afghanistan is a Muslim-majority country, with a large section of the population that is very religious in its beliefs and deeply conservative in nature. While the microfinance industry had been offering traditional interest-based loan products in the past, the industry could not reach out to a significant section of the population that viewed traditional interest-based loans as un-Islamic and against the precepts and core principles of the religion. Mutahid saw this as an opportunity to fill this gap and extend access to finance to a newer segment of the market in a sustainable way. Currently Mutahid is offering a Sharia-compliant Murabaha loan product to its clients through its branches in the Herat, Balkh, Kunduz, Badakshan and Kabul provinces since 2013.
Currently, most of Mutahid’s loan portfolio is either urban or semi-urban based. However the medium-/long-term strategy of Mutahid is to expand its portfolio to rural areas too, where most of the people are engaged in agriculture and other agri-allied activities like animal husbandry, livestock rearing, and other rural activities and enterprises. Since, this is a very specialized and niche market segment, there is a need for specially designed and customized Sharia-compliant loan products that meet the specific financial needs, especially for loans, of this market segment. In addition, there are many other market segments and kinds of enterprises and income-generating activities that we are not able to finance as Murabaha is not the most ideal product for such transactions; and there are more specialized and specific financing mechanisms available under Islamic financing that we can employ to meet the needs of these segments. While the types of financing mechanisms available under the broad rubric of Islamic finance is quite varied, to begin with at least Mutahid would like to explore the feasibility of introducing Mudaraba, Musharaka, Ijarah and Salam.