World Bicycle Relief (WBR)
Seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI)
Request For Proposals to Partner in the Development of Asset Financing Scheme:
Improving Access to Quality Bicycles
World Bicycle Relief (WBR)—a prime implementer of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Bicycles for Growth Project (BFG)—is soliciting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from qualified, legally registered, and operating financial institutions and Value Chain players in Malawi to partner in developing a financial product for purchase of fit-for-purpose bicycles. The selected firm will partner with World Bicycle Relief (WBR) to develop a consumer financial product targeting qualified lower-income individuals, particularly women, to purchase bicycles. The product will be available through formal partnerships between community-based organizations (e.g., cooperatives) in the USAID Growth Poles Project’s Macadamia, tea, and groundnut value chain catchment areas.
Bicycles for Growth
Countless communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa struggle to access markets, economic opportunities, and social services due to long distances and limited transportation options. Launched in October 2021, the BFG project aims to increase mobility in rural and peri-urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa by rapidly increasing bicycle access and uptake through a functional bicycle market system. The Project targets communities that cannot easily afford or do not have access to other means of transportation. BFG is implemented in Malawi by World Bicycle Relief, WBR mobilizes people through the Power of Bicycles. WBR envisions a world where distance is no longer a barrier to education, health services, and economic opportunity.
A comprehensive market assessment conducted by BFG in 2021-22 generated insights into the bicycle market system in Malawi. The assessment focused on supply, demand, and systems components of the bicycle market and captured key drivers to bicycle ownership, gender and cultural dynamics surrounding bicycle ownership and use, the economic viability of owning a bicycle, bicycle usage, and access. Study findings uncovered that affordability was the biggest barrier to bicycle ownership. For a summary of the assessment findings, please visit https://worldbicyclerelief.org/bicycles-for-growth/.
Addressing the Affordability of Bicycles Through Access to Finance
With many lower-income consumers unable to afford a new or quality used bicycle, WBR intends to offer targeted individuals access to financing for bicycles. WBR, through the Bicycles for Growth project, is seeking a partnership with a private financial institution in Malawi to develop and roll out an asset financing loan scheme targeting smallholder communities in the Macadamia, tea, and groundnut’s value chains. BFG seeks financial services providers who can offer interested, vetted individuals the capital needed to purchase a bicycle. BFG/WBR will facilitate linkages between partner financial service providers, value chain players and member-based organizations—such as farmers’ cooperatives—capable of vetting interested buyers. BFG anticipates partner financial institutions to provide finances to individual buyers over up to three years.
Together with the financial service provider, the BFG project will co-create the product, facilitate the launch, and monitor uptake through the financial service provider’s adopted business model.
A successful launch of the financial product would provide early indications of commercial viability and consumer demand for quality, fit-for-purpose bicycles through the financial product.
Anticipated role of the selected firm:
- Co-create the loan scheme with the BFG technical team, targeting lower-income individuals and women in the macadamia, tea, and groundnut value chains
- Lead the evaluation of project participants for bicycle loans
- Co-develop and lead community engagement sessions
- Co-develop and disseminate marketing materials related to the scheme
- Finance consumers to procure fit-for-purpose bicycles
- Co-develop an M&E system for the initiative
- Jointly monitor and facilitate loan scheme implementation
Place of Performance: Malawi, to focus on the target geographies of Mulanje, Thyolo, and Mchinji districts and potentially others with tea, Macadamia, and groundnut value chains.
Experiential competency and footprint:
- Demonstrated experience in managing smallholder grants and loan schemes in Malawi
- Physical local presence, including the ability to operate in the designated districts
- Track record of oversight and demonstrated capacity to manage the financial scheme
- Proof of compliance with government financing regulations
- Past and current portfolio of services inclined to the asset financing and business development services delivery
- Knowledge of financing services and financial inclusion schemes in the Sub-Saharan Africa context
Submission Format and Timeline
The EOI is due close of business on 6 March 2024. BFG expects a detailed proposal including the company’s profile, past/present similar assignments, proposed approach, and a clear concept for partnership (the proposal should not exceed ten pages). Shortlisted firms will be contacted by 15 March 2024. Please send all submissions to email@example.com
N.B: We invite all interested company representatives and other interested parties to a pre-bid information session, including a BFG project overview, a summary presentation of the market assessment findings in the target locations, and a question and answers session. The meeting is scheduled for February 29, 2024. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your company, the name of the representative who will attend, and contact details by 20 February 2024. For further details will be shared.
Questions and Answers
You may submit questions/requests for clarifications in writing to email@example.com with BFG Financial Inclusion Partnership EOI in the subject line until 1 March, 2024.
NB: Respondents will not be reimbursed for any costs incurred in connection with the preparation and submission of their EOI.