Job Opening

Posting Title: SRO-SA International Consultant–Development of an online course for MSMEs on technologies for trade, industry and the SDGs in Southern Africa
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Africa
Duty Station: LUSAKA
Posting Period: 01 June 2023 - 10 June 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-Economic Commission for Africa-209518-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

An online course ready to be delivered in the form of a video series, focusing on technologies for MSMEs
in order to promote the participation of MSMEs in trade and industry and enhance their contribution to the
achievement of the SDGs in Southern Africa.

Work Location


Expected duration

Four Months

Duties and Responsibilities

In light of the critical role that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can play in the development of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to enable them to be effective drivers of industrialization and industrialization through trade, 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 Sized 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).


Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) could invest in or explore innovative approaches, either independently, with governmental support, or through public-private partnerships, taking into account the sector and country-specific context. Examples of such innovative approaches include the utilization and implementation of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), including digital technologies. Additionally, other innovative approaches may involve the adoption of locally-generated solutions to address particular competitiveness and trade-related challenges.

Against the foregoing, the ECA Sub-Regional office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA), through its Sub-Regional Initiatives Section (SRIS) is implementing the production of an online course focused on strengthening capacities of MSMEs (through knowledge and awareness) on how to apply technology to address their productive constraints (with a focus on access to energy, access to markets and access to finance) while contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on SDG7, SDG9, SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15 and SDG17.

In order to reach out to a larger number of MSMEs, the online course will be delivered in the format of a series of 8-10 short videos that will be disseminated directly to MSMEs through business associations, REC business councils and government entities across the 11 member states of SRO-SA: namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and

Zimbabwe. The online course should feature successful technological and other innovations, that can be deployed by MSMEs in the Southern African region that are contributing to relieve specific productive constraints of MSMEs with a focus on access to energy, access to finance and access to markets.

Under the direct supervision of the Economic Affairs Officer, Subregional Initiatives Section, and the overall guidance of the Chief, Subregional Initiatives Section (SRIS), SRO-SA, the Successful Consultant will have the following list of duties and responsibilities:

1. The consultant will develop the substantive contents and course materials of no less than 8 modules for the course that will be structured around the themes of (1) access to energy for MSMEs to promote achievement of SDG7 (2) access to finance for MSMEs to promote their participation in industry and trade (SDG 9 and 17) (3) access to markets for MSMEs to promote their participation in national, regional and international trade with a focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Area and (4) contribution of MSMEs in Southern Africa to green industry and green trade.
2. The modules could be structured as follows:
a. Module 1: Access to energy for MSMEs in Southern Africa and how technology can address this constraint (e.g. use of renewable energy technologies)
b. Module 2: Access to finance and business services for MSMEs in Southern Africa and how technology can address this constraint (e.g. digital finance)
c. Module 3-4: Access to markets for MSMEs in Southern Africa and how technology including ecommerce can address this constraint (tariff reductions, Nontariff barriers, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, connectivity and logistics etc)
d. Module 5: Technology for manufacturing for MSMEs (role of 3D printing, FabLabs etc)
e. Module 6: Contributions of MSMEs to greening trade and industry in Southern Africa and role of technology (e.g. use of recycling technologies, production of biodegradable products etc)
f. Module 7-8: How can MSMEs access support to utilise technology and engage in innovation in Southern Africa, constraints faced and potential solutions to bottlenecks with relevant information on regional and country level policies, supporting institutions, funding sources and supporting available instruments.
g. Each module should analyse the major constraints faced by MSMEs in Southern Africa in the relevant thematic area (nature and source of challenge), how technology and innovation can unlock the constraint, and feature examples of innovative (technological and non-technological) solutions that are being developed and deployed by MSMEs to address the constraints.
h. At least one module should feature how MSMEs can contribute to addressing environmental challenges in the Southern African region by promoting or engaging in green industry and trade.
i. At least one module should consider the role of technology for enhancing productivity in the manufacturing sector and the digitalisation of industry such as 3D printing
j. The modules should also examine how government can support access of MSMEs to energy, finance, business services, markets etc and the role of government regulations in facilitating or impeding access of MSMEs to the aforementioned.

3. The modules should contain case examples of technological and other innovative solutions that have been developed by MSMEs and /or are being deployed by MSMEs in Southern Africa and other regions of the world to relieve their productive constraints and promote their contribution to the building of green trade and green industry.
4. The consultant will work closely with the Economic Affairs officer of SRIS, SRO-SA, the video producer and the Communications Team of SROSA to convert the course materials into video scripts that will be used by the video consultants to produce the videos. Each video is expected to last for around 50 mins max.
5. The consultant will support the production of the videos by providing any additional inputs that the video producer may need including questions to interview entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, list of MSMEs and stakeholders to interview (e.g. technology incubators etc), data and graphics to support production of visuals etc.
6. The consultant will support the organisation of missions to be undertaken by the video producer and team to produce relevant footage for the video (e.g. interviewing innovators on the ground) as well as any meetings that may be required to facilitate consultations with stakeholders and validation of the course materials.
7. The consultant will be expected to organise a Curriculum Validation Workshop with a group of selected experts to present, discuss and validate the course structure and contents.
8. The consultant shall be responsive to any ad-hoc requests as submitted by the SROSA Economic Affairs officer.
9. The consultant shall be receptive to comments and ideas from stakeholders and work collaboratively with the team that consist of SRIS staff, the video consultant and his team and the UNDA13th tranche project steering committee members.
10. The consultant shall be able to refer to the publications on MSMEs that have been produced under the UNDA 13th tranche Global MSME Surge Project and this current project and liaise with the relevant consultants of these two projects in order to enhance the quality of the course materials produced.

Qualifications/special skills

Advanced University Degree (Master’s Degree or Equivalent) in either of international trade, international development, economics, technology, innovation or any relevant social sciences fields is required. A first-level University Degree in combination with two additional years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of the Master’s Degree.
A minimum of 7 years of relevant work experience in trade, regional integration, international development, technology and innovation, business management or relevant field is


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consultancy assignment, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of the other is an advantage. Knowledge of another UN Language is an advantage.

Additional Information

Deliverables should include:

1. A 15 max page inception report outlining the understanding of the task, structure of the course, description of the contents of each module, methodology and sources of information; an annotated outline of the course and a list of references;
2. Course materials
3. Scripts for the videos

No Fee


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