Job Opening

Posting Title: SRO-SA International (secondary) consultant for the conceptualization and development of a study on ‘’MSME and Value chains and trade development in Southern Africa: Case studies -Selected Countries
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Africa
Duty Station: LUSAKA
Posting Period: 06 January 2022 - 20 January 2022
Job Opening Number: 21-Economic Commission for Africa-171386-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Objectives of the consultancy and of Study

In view of the above, a study has been conceived within the UNDA 13th tranche project that focuses on value chains and trade development in the 6 targeted countries (Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia). The report shall identify opportunities for MSMEs in the 6 countries to integrate in national, regional and global value-chains, and trade at higher levels, in line with the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap and to build back better post-Covid. It will also propose concrete actions and initiatives, to be implemented at national levels, on how MSMEs can develop and apply innovative approaches such as digital technologies and e-commerce to relieve their constraints to integrate in value-chains and to trade. The study will in particular analyse the constraints faced by MSMEs to take advantage of regional and global trade agreements and the potential role that STI/innovative approaches can play to address these constraints.

Work Location


Expected duration

The assignment will be completed and delivered in 5 work months


The total fees for the assignment will be US$15,000 to be paid in two instalments. The first payment of US$7,500 will be made after the submission of a satisfactory first draft report. The second and final payment of US$7,500 will be made after the submission of a satisfactory final report incorporating the comments/updates and all other mentioned deliverables.

Duties and Responsibilities

THEMATIC AREA: Private sector development, trade, value chains
GENERAL EXPERTISE: Trade, value-chains, private sector development
CATEGORY: Research and policy analysis


The United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) is currently implementing a technical assistance project, funded under the UNDA 13th tranche, titled “Innovative approaches for MSME competitiveness to promote trade and inclusive industrialization in Southern Africa in the Post-COVID context”. The objective of the project is to strengthen capacities of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in six selected Southern African member states (Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia) to design and apply innovative approaches to enhance their competitiveness so that they can be effective private sector enablers of trade and inclusive industrialization and build resilience to unexpected shocks such as COVID-19. This project will focus on how MSMEs can leverage innovative approaches to address competitiveness challenges during and after adverse shocks. There are two components to this project: the first component focuses on strengthening capacities of MSMEs in the private sector to address competitiveness challenges that impede them from participating effectively in inclusive industrialization processes (COVID and Post-COVID); the second component focuses on strengthening capacities of MSMEs in the private sector to address challenges that impede them to trade effectively (COVID and Post-COVID).
What are innovative ways? MSMEs could be investing or could invest in innovative approaches, either on their own, with Government support or through public-private partnerships, depending on the sector and country context. Examples of such innovative approaches are the development and application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), including digital technologies. Other innovative approaches may refer to locally-grown, endogenous solutions to address specific competitiveness and trade-related challenges.
Industrialization is widely recognized as the key source of growth for the future of the Southern African economy. Promotion of industrial growth is at the core of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The African Development Bank also prominently features industrialization at the core of its recommendations for Africa’s growth. The SADC included industrialization as the first pillar of its vision and roadmap for 2050. Lessons from the development path of South-East Asia, among others, indicate that industrialization could be a pathway out of poverty. The cross-sharing of experiences and best practices within the region and across regions and continents can serve to accelerate the effective implementation of national and regional industrialization strategies.
However, industrialization cannot succeed unless buttressed by the harnessing of trade opportunities whether nationally, regionally or globally, and leveraging science, technology and innovation that afford opportunities for upgrading, increased product and process discovery and productivity growth. As stated in the UNDA 13th tranche project document “Trade and industrialization are two sides of the same development coin”. In order to build industries that can sustain economies by creating jobs and generating incomes over the long-term, market opportunities have to be created on a sustained basis. The leveraging of regional and global trade through a full utilization of trade preferences should be fostered. Most international trade occurs not as finished goods but mostly as intermediate products.
For Southern African MSMEs to make the most of preferential or free trade agreements, whether the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, regional trade agreements such as the SADC and COMESA Free Trade Agreement and other trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs), the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP), Southern African MSMEs will need to develop capabilities,among others, to integrate into regional and global value-chains and become trusted suppliers to regional and global firms, in addition to exploiting market opportunities on their own. The profiling of national, regional and global value-chains in which MSMEs can integrate can provide valuable market information to Southern African MSMEs as they position to compete and develop their business strategies.
Building capabilities of Southern African MSMEs to comply with the provisions and protocols of the trade agreements is another area where analysis and recommendations are warranted. How can Southern African MSMEs integrate these value chains successfully, in the face of global and continental competition in a post-Covid context, is an area that merits attention. Leveraging of Science, Technology and Innovation, including digital trade technologies such as e-commerce platforms shoud be explored, in addition to the traditional barriers faced by MSMEs to participate in value-chains such as compliance with Non-tariff measures and technical standards. In a second-round online business survey, in which SRO-SA was a collaborating partner along with the ECA African Trade Policy Center (ATPC) and International Economics Consulting (IEC), the resort to technology and innovation by African firms as a lever for addressing the economic impact of Covid-19 was confirmed . However, while nearly half (i.e. 47 per cent) of the companies surveyed indicated that they are moving or planning to move towards innovative solutions through collaboration/partnerships, e-commerce was found to account for only about 16 per cent of surveyed firms. There is significant scope for Southern African MSMEs to develop opportunities to integrate in value-chains in addition to leveraging innovative tools and technologies to increase their market share of global and regional trade.
As Southern Africa aims to build back better from post-COVID, an analysis of the national, regional and global value chains that can be leveraged by Southern African MSMEs to create opportunities of growth and development is considered timely and pertinent. Additionally, an understanding of the constraints faced by MSMEs to fully and efficiently utilize global and regional trade agreements is necessary, in order to help identify gaps in existing legislative, policy and regulatory frameworks and in current industrialization and trade strategies. How can STI be leveraged to relieve these constraints and assist MSMEs to identify and exploit opportunities for survival, growth and development as they aim to build back better from Covid-19 is another area where more research and policy analysis is needed.
In view of the foregoing, the ECA Subregional Office for Southern Africa wishes to secure the services of a secondary consultant, who will work closely with a principal consultant to undertake a study, under the guidance of on value chains and trade development in the six targeted countries, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, conceived within the framework of the UNDA 13th tranche project.

Duties and Responsibilities

The secondary consultant will work under the direct supervision of the SROSA Economic Affairs Officer (project manager) and under the overall guidance of the Chief of the Sub-regional initiatives Section. The consultant will also work closely under the guidance of the principal consultant other members of the project team and project steering committee members to ensure a successful and timely delivery.

Tasks of the Secondary consultant

The secondary consultant will:

 Work with the principal consultant to establish an annotated outline of the study that indicates a division of tasks in the team based on their respective terms of reference; the annotated outline will be submitted to ECA for approval.
 Work under the supervision of the principal consultant and submit the analytical written inputs (based on the agreed annotated outline), in a timely manner to ensure a timely completion of the study;
 Research, prepare and develop the case studies to be included as sections of the study report;
 Design and implement questionnaires needed to facilitate the collection of data and qualitative information, as well as identify relevant stakeholders to interview in each country;
The work on the study will include literature review and desk research on the theme. A questionnaire survey covering government officials, representatives of MSMEs, MSMEs and relevant stakeholders is to be conducted in each of the countries covered by the project. The secondary consultant will take the lead in designing the questionnaires and customize the questionnaires for each country and per type of stakeholder. He or she will also be responsible for implementing the questionnaires in the 6 target countries and analyzing the results.
The specific deliverables of the secondary consultant are as follows:
 A compilation of at least three case studies per project country, complementing the conceptual analysis with practical examples of:
o successful entry into national and regional value-chains by MSMEs, highlighting best practices and lessons to be learnt in this regard;
o entry into Global Value Chains by the MSMEs;
o utilization of trade agreements, highlighting constraints and opportunities faced;
o lessons learned from the experiences of the analysed MSMEs for other entrepreneurs;
o policy learning to be highlighted for the attention of national and regional authorities.
 A critical and analytical presentation of the case studies/case examples and such a critical presentation should identify factors of success or otherwise, best practices and lessons that can be learnt in an African context;
 Design and Implementation of questionnaires in the target countries and analysis of the results;
 Preparation of all the tables, charts, figures and annexes needed to support the substantive analysis as identified by the Principal consultant;

The secondary consultant is expected to support the principal consultant on the following:
• A literature review from relevant academic and institutional sources;
• A review of available, renowned methodologies for assessing value chain participation, simulating possible entry into value chains, and generating export opportunities;
• Desk research using available secondary data for compiling the export and value chain participation profile of each target countries;
• Analysis of trade and value chain participation data to inform the country profiles;
The secondary consultant is expected to engage in the following:
• Case studies of MSMEs which successfully joined national, regional or global value chains, including (where applicable) mentions of the government policies which supported them in doing so;
• Case examples of how STI can facilitate the integration of MSMEs in such value chains and enhance their effective utilization of trade agreements;
• Interviews underpinning the development of the case studies.
The study is a part of a wider project aimed at enhancing the capacity of industrial MSMEs for rolling out process and product innovation, combatting competitiveness bottlenecks, and overcoming the negative impact of COVID-19. As such, the consultants selected for preparing this study are also expected to assist the SRO-SA team in field missions, training seminars, and other project activities, based on a planning agreed in advance.
Additional tasks:
 The secondary consultant is expected to undertake a one week mission in 3 of the 6 targeted countries (Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa), organize the mission and lead the mission team. The objective of the missions is to gather data, statistics and qualitative information (case examples etc) based on surveys and conduct interviews with the stakeholders who should be identified ahead of the mission, in close coordination with the SROSA project team and the members of the project steering committee;
The consultant will also be expected to assist in the planning and organization of a regional workshop where the study will be presented, discussed and validated and serve as a resource person at the workshop.

The study will cover the six countries targeted by the project, namely, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. It will entail a desk research, questionnaire survey, non-structured interviews, case studies, field missions to the target countries, and the organization and substantive servicing of a validation meeting.

.a. Issues to be analyzed and discussed

In terms of literature review and theoretical framework, the study shall include, but not be limited to the following:
• Methodological approaches to measuring value chain participation and trade flows (including export potential indicator (ITC), product diversification indicator, Trade in Value-Added (TiVA), etc) – a review of literature should result in a discussion of the challenges for measuring value-chain participation and proposal of a methodology to be adopted for the purpose of the study;
• Role of regional and global value chain participation in upgrading the economic performance of developing countries and in creating opportunities for MSMEs;
• Case examples of successful integration of MSMEs in national, regional and global value chains in Southern Africa, Africa and the Global South and best practices and lessons applicable that can be learnt from these success stories;
• A review of the support measures for promoting MSME involvement in value chains in the six selected countries and an evaluation of their effectiveness to the extent possible;
• A list of policy measures at national and regional level that can facilitate the development and integration of MSMEs in the six countries in national, regional and global value chains, including an analysis of the role of spatial economic zones and corridors, industry clusters etc;

The report should contain analysis for each of the six target countries, and should contain for each target country, key elements including:
• Economy, trade and investment profiles, analysis of main trading partners and main tradable goods;
• Participation of MSMEs in national, regional and global value chains in the countries’ key sectors;
• Export opportunities and dynamics for MSMEs, including sectors noting significant growth and/or decline;
• Challenges and opportunities for MSMEs to integrate into national, regional and global value chains;
• Barriers faced by MSMEs to take advantage of existing trade agreements;
• Implications of the post-Covid context on the development of national, regional and global value chains and integration of MSMEs into such chains;
• Role that STI and innovative approaches can play to facilitate the integration of MSMEs into national, regional and global value chains and in better leveraging existing trade agreements for the purpose of their growth and development;
• Case examples of how STI can facilitate the integration of MSMEs into such value chains and enhance their effective utilization of trade agreements;

.b. Main questions to be addressed.
The findings of the literature review, desk research, survey and non-structured interviews should allow for the following questions to be answered while addressing the issues to be analyzed and discussed as listed under Section 3.a.:
 What is the economic case for promoting the integration of MSMEs in national, regional and global value chains in Southern Africa and the six selected countries?
 How can successful participation by MSMEs in value-chains be measured and what are the existing methodologies for measuring such participation?
 What are the potential national, regional and global value chains that MSMEs in these six selected countries integrate in? What are the challenges and the opportunities?
 What specific support is provided by governments to facilitate such integration and how effective has it been?
 What are the constraints faced by MSMEs in the six selected countries to leverage regional and global trade agreements and comply with the provisions and protocols?
 How can STI/innovative approaches be harnessed to address constraints faced by MSMEs to take advantage of trade agreements and integrate in national, regional and global value chains? What are some examples that can be used to illustrate?
 What are successful case examples of MSME integration in value chains (in Southern Africa, Africa and the Global South)? What are the lessons learnt and best practices?
 What are the main policy measures at national and regional level that should be put in place to facilitate the integration of MSMEs in national, regional and global value chains, in the context of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap?
 How may the evolving global environment post-Covid affect the integration of MSMEs in value chains?
.c. Scope of Surveys and interviews.
The report should also include detailed case studies presenting “best practices” in relation to MSMEs integrating into national, regional and global value chains, as well as assess government policies which have provided effective support to facilitate such integration. The development of case studies should be based on desk research, complemented by interviews with relevant actors (entrepreneurs, government, state institutions etc).
A questionnaire survey targeting government officials, representatives of MSMEs, MSMEs and relevant stakeholders will be designed and administered in each of the six countries covered by the project in order to facilitate the collection of information for the study including identification of case studies. The findings of the questionnaire survey will be submitted to the ECA SRO-SA for feedback and comments.
On the basis of the study findings, the report will put forward policy recommendations and an Action Plan to facilitate the integration of MSMEs into national, regional and global value chains, and to effectively leverage trade agreements.


1. Inception report: The Consultant will submit to ECA an inception report detailing the conceptualization of the assignment that strongly demonstrates a clear understanding and interpretation of the objectives and tasks; includes a conceptual/analytical framework; the methodology, including data and information collection and analysis, and an annotated outline of the report and a work plan. The inception report should also contain a ist of proposed interviewees and survey questions for review by the ECA, and a clear division of tasks between principal and secondary consultants;
2. Draft report – A high-quality, analytical and well-researched report on ‘’MSMEs and Value chains and trade development in Southern Africa: Case studies from selected countries”. The report will be prepared using both quantitative and qualitative information. It shall cover the issues and questions as identified under Sections 3.a. and 3.b. It will include an executive summary, a list of acronyms, glossary of terms used, key messages, introduction, a section featuring the analytical/conceptual framework for the report, references and annexes. It will contain a literature review, definition of key concepts and terms and the outcomes of the desk research/survey, with specific chapters dedicated to each country; an aggregate analysis of the findings; policy recommendations and an action plan on how MSMEs can integrate into national, regional and lobal value-chains;
3. Final report – incorporating comments, inputs and recommendations provided at the regional workshop and by ECA, its partners and other stakeholders;
4. Completed Questionnaires with summary of findings/results;
5. Mission reports with action point items;
6. Report of the regional workshop and PPT materials to be delivered

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: An Advanced University Degree in any of the following: economics, international trade, industrial economics, regional integration or any of the relevant social science fields is required.
Experience: A Minimum of Seven ( 7) years’ professional experience in any of the following: industrialization, regional integration, international trade, international development, science, technology and innovation, economic development, preferably in Southern Africa with extensive knowledge and understanding of MSMEs is required.
• demonstrated knowledge of trade and trade support measures for industrial MSMEs and knowledge of the SADC region;
• sound language skills in English;
• proven record in drafting technical reports and presentation of technical papers.
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations .For this Post fluency in English is required

No Fee


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