Job Opening

Posting Title: International consultant for the development and delivery of an online training course and the associated course material on “Green technologies for African Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises”
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Africa
Duty Station: DAKAR
Posting Period: 09 March 2022 - 07 April 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-Economic Commission for Africa-174082-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

ii. EXPECTED RESULTS

The following deliverables are expected from the consultant:

t. On-line training materials on “Green technologies for African MSMEs” for entrepreneurs, SMEs, the business sector, policy makers in Africa and others with a proven interest in technology, innovation, environment and green economy issues.

The training materials package shall include:

• (i) a training manual structured in modules with twenty quizzes per module (in word and pdf format).
• (ii) animated (video or voice based) powerpoint presentation per module;
• (iii) additional readings and forum/group activities.
• (iv) tests-quizzes (QCM, twenty per module).
• opinion survey per module.
• Forum per module.
• Final exam.
• Presentations for the Webinar.

u. on-line courses with four hours on-line presence during the day; two in the morning and two in the afternoon coordinated;

Work Location

African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP).

Expected duration

5. Duration of the assignment and time lines

The assignment will be for six(06) months from May to October 2022.

-1 week after the signature of the contract: Consultant submits to ECA an inception note, detailing the methodology, conceptualization of the module development plan and course delivery strategy.

-1 week after the submission of the inception report: The inception report is reviewed by ECA updated by the consultant and approved.

-4 weeks after signature of the contract: Consultant submits to ECA the full main training content and materials: The content manual in word and pdf formats, the powerpoint presentation per module, twenty quizzes per module; final exam; opinion questions; forum per module-webography, bibliography,
additional readings.

-5 weeks after signature of the contract: ECA reviews and provides comments on the module and training materials.

-6 weeks after the signature of the contract: Consultant submits revised module and training materials for entrepreneurs, SMEs, the business sector, policy makers in Africa and others with a proven interest in technology, innovation, environment and green economy issues.

-7 weeks after the signature of the contract: Consultant work closely with IDEP to develop and test the on-line modules with interactivity, quizzes and certification options.

-Consultant delivers the course in-class from 8-13 weeks after the signature: The course delivery will cover five weeks

5. Duration of the assignment and time lines

The assignment will be from May 2022 to October 2022.

-1 week after the signature of the contract:

Consultant submits to ECA an inception note, detailing the methodology, conceptualization of the module development plan and course delivery strategy.

-1 week after the submission of the inception report:
The inception report is reviewed by ECA updated by the consultant and approved.

-4 weeks after signature of the contract:
Consultant submits to ECA the full main training content and materials: The content manual in word and pdf formats, the powerpoint presentation per module, twenty quizzes per module; final exam; opinion questions; forum per module-webography, bibliography,
additional readings.

-5 weeks after signature of the contract:
ECA reviews and provides comments on the module and training materials.

-6 weeks after the signature of the contract:
Consultant submits revised module and training materials for entrepreneurs, SMEs, the business sector, policy makers in Africa and others with a proven interest in technology, innovation, environment and green economy issues.

-7 weeks after the signature of the contract:
Consultant work closely with IDEP to develop and test the on-line modules with interactivity, quizzes and certification options.

-Consultant delivers the course in-class from 8-13 weeks after the signature:
The course delivery will cover five weeks

-A week after the on-line course the consultant produce the course report.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Background and Rationale for the Course

Covid-19 has had adverse effects on the African continent and in particular businesses and Micro, Small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) as early as April 2020 conducted the first online survey among businesses in Africa to assess the impact of Covid-19 on African businesses. A second-round survey, that also involved ECA Subregional office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) was conducted in June 2020. Results from the first-round survey in April (ECA and IEC, 2020 ) revealed a few salient interesting observations for the continent, namely four fifths of the surveyed firms indicated being significantly affected by the current COVID-19 crisis (rating the effect as highly severe or severe). The proportion was relatively uniform across the size of enterprises and the kind of business. The rate of capacity utilization ranged from 30-40 per cent (for small-sized enterprises) to 50-60 per cent (for large-sized enterprises). It also tended to vary depending on the sector in which the business operates, with the average of respondents indicating rates of capacity utilization of around 30-40 per cent for goods, and 40-50 per cent for services. Within these broad sectors, there were quite large differences. In general, manufacturing operations, travel/hospitality and transportation services appeared to be operating at their lowest capacities.

However, when asked whether they had identified/reacted to any new business opportunities that might have been made possible with the new situation, the majority of companies responded by the affirmative; with the proportion increasing considerably with the size of the enterprise. Among the specific areas identified, and in similar proportion across company size, the increased use of technology and the possibility to conduct business remotely came back the most frequently among the respondents (around two thirds of the total for each), followed by online selling as well as shift to new products related to COVID-19 or entirely new product/service lines.

The second-round survey conducted in June 2020 confirmed the role of technology and innovation as a strategy used by businesses to address the impact of Covid-19. For instance, in the July 2020 survey for Southern Africa, it was found that in an attempt to overcome the crisis nearly 69 per cent of the companies surveyed operating in Southern Africa had identified new opportunities in reaction to the crisis. Businesses operating in the goods and services sector, had both identified potential growth in markets as one of their top priorities. What was notable was that online selling and shift to new technologies had also been considered as an opportunity to focus on. Digital technologies had allowed employees to remain in employment and allowed firms to maintain continuity in their business activities, therefore avoiding drastic reductions in capacity utilization by having their employees working remotely.

In the first April survey, when asked about “How does your company cope with current challenges?”, the first answer (for about 20 per cent of respondents) was by “working remotely”. The proportion was relatively higher for businesses dealing with goods (27 per cent of the respondents) than for those working in services (17 per cent) and also for larger companies (33 per cent) as compared to smaller ones (around 20 per cent). In the second July survey, again it was noted that during the lockdown, many companies managed to maintain operations and revenues as well as limiting lay-offs, owing, in particular, to employees able to work remotely. However, the role of technology and innovation in supporting businesses address the impacts of economic shocks such as Covid-19 should and can go beyond enabling remote working and e-commerce. Technology and innovation can be critical drivers for enhancing workers’ and factor productivity and firm’s competitiveness at a micro-level while enhancing economic growth through total factor productivity growth at a macro-level. It is inevitable that technology and innovation will play an important role in the economic recovery of firms and countries post-Covid.

In a report titled “How South African SMEs can survive and thrive post COVID-19”, McKinsey points out that in South Africa for instance small businesses were already facing significant headwinds prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 and that Covid-19 was going to aggravate the precarious financial situation of small businesses in a country where SMEs represent more than 98 percent of businesses, employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector. The same report identifies four areas where SMEs can take action to mitigate the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis. One such area relates to leveraging technology to reach new customers or provide a distinctive value proposition. Government support for innovation, research and development is considered as a critical area where support is needed. The report states that “digital and new technologies create an opportunity for SMEs to enhance their reach and efficiency at lower costs, overcoming the scale disadvantage they have relative to larger players. SMEs can focus on key areas of competitiveness in their value chain, product, and/or operations and identify the best technology levers to enhance competitiveness” (McKinsey, 2020).


In order to support member states in addressing the impacts of Covid-19 on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), along with the five regional economic commissions including UNECA are implementing jointly a UN Development Account-funded project titled “Global initiative towards post-Covid-19 MSME sector”.

The objective of the project is to develop and implement capacity building tools for governments and MSMEs to facilitate resurgence and strengthen resilience of MSMEs in developing countries and economies in transition to mitigate the economic and social impact of the global Covid-19 crisis and to facilitate the contribution of MSMEs to the implementation of SDGs. The project is structured in five clusters addressing most critical areas of the MSME recovery:

1- Mobilize entrepreneurial ecosystem and strengthen business skills
2- Simplify business registration and facilitate formalization
3- Improve access to finance/financial literacy
4- Increase access to technology and innovation
5- Enhance access to markets

ECA SRO-SA is the entity at UNECA participating in this project and is the lead agency under cluster 4 - the thematic cluster on technology and innovation. The intended outcome under cluster 4 consists in strengthening the capacities of policy makers and MSMEs on access to technology. One of ECA SRO-SA’s programmed outputs under this cluster to achieve the intended outcome consists in delivering online training courses targeted at entrepreneurs, MSMEs owners and operators and policy-makers on the role of technology and innovation in addressing impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs in Southern Africa.

In July-August 2021, the Sub-regional office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) and the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa collaborated to develop and deliver jointly an online course targeted at entrepreneurs, SMEs, the business sector, policy makers in Africa and others with a proven interest in technology and innovation issues, with the objective of sensitizing them on the role that technology and innovation can play in times of crisis in supporting firms to survive and wither the impacts of economic shocks. The course titled “The role of technology and innovation for African businesses in addressing the impact of Covid-19” was successfully delivered in July-August 2021 and was accompanied by a Webinar that was held on August 4, 2021. The Webinar gathered technology experts and participants of the course to discuss further on the role of technology and innovation for MSMEs in Africa.

As a sequel to this first online training course, ECA (SRO-SA and IDEP) are partnering again to deliver a second online training course targeted at entrepreneurs, SMEs, the business sector, and policy makers in Africa and other African stakeholders with a proven interest in technology, innovation, environment and green economy issues on the theme “Green technologies for African MSMEs”. ECA Division for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management (TCND) is also a collaborating partner.

At the last Intergovernmental Committee of Experts and Senior Officials (ICSOE) Meeting of ECA SRO-SA held in October 2021, member states and stakeholders endorsed recommendations to foster the development of blue, green and digital economies in Southern Africa as part of building back better post-Covid. ECA in its report “Building forward for an African Green Recovery” published in May 2021 advocates for an economic recovery post-Covid that places the combat against climate change at its heart owing to the debilitating effects that climate change impacts will have on African economies in the future, including compromising on the sustainability of Africa’s natural resources. The report notes for instance that countries should draw up plans for kick-starting their recovery and that there is a strategic opportunity for African countries to adopt alternative growth models that prioritize value addition in order to leapfrog technologically to a sustainable, inclusive, job-rich future. Both the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the renewable energy sector are identified as critical levers to harness in order to achieve potential economic gains from building greener economies.

The Report highlights a case study on green investments in South Africa whereby green investments are deemed to provide a stronger gross value added and jobs creation pathway than “traditional” fossil fuel-based investments. Up to 250 per cent more jobs could be created in the short term and as much as 420 per cent greater economic value generated in the long term compared with traditional fossil fuel-based alternatives. The potential return on energy, nature-based solutions and clean transportation investments in South Africa suggest that other countries could generate similar returns, particularly if they make use of the job creation toolkit developed by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (see ECA, 2021) .



2. Objectives of the course

The overarching objective of the course is to build awareness and capacities of entrepreneurs, MSMEs and policy makers in Africa on the role that green technology and green innovation can play in assisting MSMEs address the impacts of economic shocks such as Covid-19, build resilience against future shocks and engage in avenues of growth and sustainable development. This is to be placed as part of building back better through blue, green and digital economies. The course is intended to be practical rather than academic in content and to make use of case examples to highlight how technology-based and innovative applications in the green economy can help MSMEs in Africa survive, grow and remain competitive in times of crisis and be better prepared at addressing the impacts of future economic shocks. The course will endeavor to showcase best practices from other regions that can have useful applications for African businesses. Challenges that firms can face to access green technology and engage in green R&D and innovation will be discussed, while recognizing that technology and innovation on their own are not panaceas to addressing firms’ problems in times of crisis and should be complemented by other policy tools.

Specific sub-objectives of the course include:

- Motivate the case for building green economies in Africa, using the UNECA 2021 report and other relevant reports as reference documents and explain the role of technology, R&D and innovation in this process through a sectoral based analysis;
- Elaborate on the role of trade (national, regional and global) and investment in facilitating the development of green economies in Africa, using Southern Africa and other subregions as examples;
- Articulate a case as to why and how the AfCFTA and Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) including SADC and COMESA can advance the building of green economies in Africa with reference to relevant protocols and provisions;
- Explain to MSMEs owners and operators, policy makers and relevant stakeholders concepts that should be of relevance to African MSMEs in the area of green economies such as circular economy principles, environmental sustainability, green competitiveness, green innovation, green trade, learning by doing, learning by exporting, environmentally sound technologies, green technology transfer, etc;
- Take stock of the readiness of African MSMEs to harness opportunities from the green economy and discuss potential barriers/constraints they may face at a national, regional and global levels;
- Demonstrate how green technologies are aiding MSMEs in other parts of the world to achieve competitiveness and increased profitability and growth;
- Illustrate how MSMEs in Africa can harness green technologies to build competitiveness in the global, regional and national green economy, using case examples/hypthothetical illustrations from all sectors;
- Illustrate the areas where opportunities for trade, growth and development may be harnessed by African MSMEs in the national, regional and global green economy, with case examples;
- Analyse challenges that SMEs can face in accessing green technologies and engaging in green R&D and innovation and the support that governments and public-private partnerships can provide to address such challenges;
- Analyse the range of supporting policy tools, institutions, incentives and reforms that may be put in place to ensure the effectiveness of green technology and green innovation as drivers of competitiveness for MSMEs in Africa;
- Discuss potential recovery strategies for African MSMEs post-Covid and how green technologies and green innovation can facilitate the implementation of and reaping of benefits under such recovery strategies (distinguishing between national and regional strategies and across economic sectors); illustrate with concrete examples;
- Discuss the drivers of green entrepreneurship and the constraints to be relieved in the African context to develop green entrepreneurship in multiple sectors, with particular attention to the participation of women and youth in this process;
- Integrate a youth and gender dimension and rural development component to the analysis;



DUTIES AND RESPONSABILITIES

Under the general guidance of the Director of IDEP, and the supervision of the Head of Training and Research Division of IDEP, the Consultant is expected to :

Tasks:

General:
h. Prepare and produce course materials based on the TOR which also draws and fully incorporates relevant content from various UN and non-UN published reports and studies as well as the state-of-the research publications in the field (journals, books and private sector reports);
i. Prepare and produce the training materials for the course which includes full reading list, power point presentation slides, lecture notes, guidelines for discussion sessions, and assignments;
j. Provide any necessary and timely substantive services to ensure the success of the course;
k. Organize and deliver a Webinar on the theme of the course before Module 6 gathering experts and participants to allow for interactive discussions and exchange of ideas.

Specific

l. Develop/update the course modules and propose other additional resources to support the training such as bibliographies, web links and optional readings.
m. Develop/update the implementation plan and/or roadmap for the programme, including training materials, training modules, training delivery with agreed training outputs.
n. Develop training material for decision-makers, senior and middle careers government officials, entrepreneurs and SMEs.
o. Serve as Subject Matter Expert and work closely with SRO-SA and IDEP for the on-line development platforms by ensuring that the platform is engaging with interactive lessons per module and user-friendly.
p. Be able to effectively facilitate training for groups of trainees, work with individuals and teams.
q. Provide individual assignment to assess participants’ understanding of the modules.
r. Provide an end of course assignment to assess participants’ understanding of the training.
s. Act as the person-in-charge to ensure quality control of the online module and training materials.

The consultant is also expected to assume the following roles /aptitudes:

a. Pedagogical or intellectual roles: Under this responsibility the course Director is supposed to use questions and probes for participants’ responses that focus discussions on critical concepts, principles and skills. These involve a number of tasks such as: opening the discussions, focusing on relevant content and issues, intervening in order to promote interest and productive conversation, guiding and maintaining learners' involvement in discussions, and summarizing debates. Additionally, these roles may encompass directing and focusing discussions on vital points, synthesizing points made by the participants and providing summaries and interpreting on-line discussions if need be.
b. Social roles: These include the promotion of friendly and comfortable social environments in which learners feel that learning is possible through guaranteeing opportunities for participants to introduce themselves; identifying and dealing with learners who are reticent and sometimes reluctant to participate; ensuring that appropriate communication takes place; taking into consideration cultural and ethnic backgrounds, offensive and disruptive behaviour; promoting interactivity between students; and finally, dealing with flaming, should this occur, by reminding participants of the appropriate etiquette.
c. Managerial or organisational roles: It involves setting learning objectives; establishing agendas for the learning activities; timetabling learning activities and tasks; clarifying procedural rules and decision-making norms. These roles also include: encouraging participants to be clear, responding to the participants' contributions, being patient, following the flow of the conversation and encouraging comments, synchronizing, handling overload of information, encouraging participation, and ending the sessions.
d. Technical roles: work closely with IDEP IT e-learning expert to becoming familiar, comfortable and competent with the ICT systems and software that compose the e-learning environment; supporting the participants in becoming competent and comfortable themselves by providing technical guidance such as: offering study guides, directions and feedback on technical problems, ensuring that time to harness the ICT systems is made available and encouraging peer learning.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: Communication:
The consultant must possess excellent teaching, presenting, facilitating, and module development capabilities and have proven abilities to prepare and deliver courses in a clear, engaging, and interactive manner. The consultant should ideally possess considerable experience in designing and delivering online courses.

Other skills:
The consultant shall also have good publication record, including in the fields of science, technology and innovation or related fields. Good computer skills for course presentation are required.
Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in economics, technology, or a related discipline is required. A first-level university degree with combination of 2 years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum of 05 years of progressively responsible experience at the national and/or international level in research and teaching on Science, technology and innovation and/or applying technology in a business context with focus in Africa and /or green economy issues is required.

Experience in research/analytical work as well as teaching on science, technology and innovation and/or green economy issues is desired.
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge in French would be an asset.

Additional Information

ASSESSMENT METHOD
Qualified candidates might be invited to take part of a competence-based interview and a discussion to assess their methodology proposed for the country-case study.

Application:

Candidates interested in this position shall submit their PHP on Inspira (inspira.un.org), along with copies of degrees and a research proposal of 3 pages which will allow assess the relevance of the methodology proposed for the study.


NB : Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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