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Call for Africa Food Security & Resilience Partnerships

ANNUAL PROGRAM STATEMENT (APS)*

USAID AFRICA TRADE & INVESTMENT (ATI) PROGRAM

 

Funding Opportunity Title:                              ATI Partnerships in Food Security and Resilience

Announcement Type:                                       Annual Program Statement

Funding Opportunity Number:                        APS-ATI-02

Issuance Date:                                                 July 18, 2022

Deadline for Questions:                                   N/A – accepted on rolling basis 

Closing Date Concept Papers:                        March 31, 2023 5:00PM EDT

APS Closing Date:                                            March 31, 2023 5:00PM EDT

Submit Questions on the following link:        APS ATI-02 Questions

Submit Concept Notes to:                               Concept Notes must be uploaded to USAID ATI Partnerships in Food Security and Resilience (Concept Note Submission)

This APS is issued as a public notice to ensure that all interested and qualified organizations have a fair opportunity to qualify for funding. To be considered for award, applicants must respond to all the requirements and instructions of this APS. DAI will review concepts on the basis of the criteria and instructions set forth in this APS. DAI anticipates reviewing and accepting concepts on a rolling basis starting in September 2022. Please note that the APS is subject to change, any of which will be updated and reposted.

Issuance of this APS does not constitute an award or commitment on the part of DAI, nor does it commit DAI to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a concept. DAI reserves the right to fund any or none of the concept papers or applications submitted. Further, DAI reserves the right to make no awards as a result of this APS.

* An Annual Program Statement is a type of solicitation used by USAID and USAID implementers to solicit grant concept papers for potential funding.

SECTION I – FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

Project Background:

The USAID Africa Trade and Investment (ATI) program is designed to bolster the U.S. Government’s ability to boost trade and investment to, from, and within the African continent. The continent-wide program is USAID’s flagship effort in support of the Prosper Africa initiative and will expand and accelerate two-way trade and investment between African nations and the United States.  

Driven by market demand, ATI embraces innovative approaches to achieve its goals. The program is designed as a small, core set of centrally coordinated technical and institutional support activities, and a large, flexible performance-based subcontracting and grants under contract facility designed to support the needs and opportunities that USAID Missions and the private sector identify. 

Purpose:

This Annual Program Statement (APS) is written in response to the current global food crisis' impact on Africa. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has had a severe impact on African food security and economies. Russia and Ukraine have long been key exporters of agricultural commodities and crude oil worldwide. Many countries on the African continent are particularly reliant upon Ukrainian and Russian food, fertilizer and fuel. For example, in 2021, Kenya imported almost 30 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. That same year, Cameroon imported 44 percent of its fertilizers from Russia[i]. However, when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it sparked a series of economic consequences that have left nations worldwide scrambling to address rising food insecurity and fuel shortages. 

The impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict are already being felt on the African continent. Currently, food shortages caused by the closure of vital port operations in the Black Sea have caused unprecedented increases in the price of wheat, sunflower, and crude oil[ii]. This rampant inflation, coupled with climate-related shocks and the longer-term socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, is expected to have devastating effects on food security across the continent. As many African countries enter their next planting cycles, the Russia-Ukraine conflict will cause stark impacts on the availability of fertilizers for African farmers—further exacerbating food insecurity. Finally, skyrocketing fuel prices will continue to place steep barriers on the import and export of key commodities.   

In response to these pressing needs, the USAID Africa Trade and Investment Program (ATI) is exploring opportunities to use private-sector mechanisms, solutions, and partnerships to address the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on African food security. In accordance with its mandate, ATI will seek innovative private-sector approaches to address the challenges outlined above as well as those designed to build African resilience in the long-term.  

Funding Opportunity:

Through this Annual Program Statement (APS) via APS-ATI-002, ATI is seeking partners to work with USAID to scale access to, and availability of, agricultural inputs, technologies, and food that directly respond to the food security and resilience impacts of ongoing price and availability shocks associated with the Russian war against Ukraine. 

ATI is seeking concepts that work towards one or multiple of the following overarching objectives and related target outcomes below. The examples of interventions and outcomes are illustrative, and other partnership models and results will also be considered in support of the overarching objectives.

Objective 1: Increased Food Security

  • Support to established businesses, farming associations, and sourcing partnerships that can  rapidly scale access to key inputs such as seeds and fertilizers
  • Partnerships with companies to scale production of food crops critical to food security and nutrition across multiple markets
  • Export deals for key inputs to food insecure regions
  • Facilitate trade deals that deliver food from regions of surplus to those of scarcity

Objective One Anticipated Outcomes: Increased trade and export of key agricultural products (grains, pulses, edible oils, seed,  and fertilizers) to key markets in Africa at risk due to the Russia-Ukraine war; improved access to key value chain crops critical to nutrition and food security 

Objective 2: Resilience of Food Systems

  • Transaction identification, facilitation, and deal structuring pertaining to Africa’s resilience and food security
  • Development of new financing solutions addressing issues of Africa’s resilience and food security in order to accelerate access to key inputs or food products and scale production of essential value chains 
  • Expand farmers’ access to technologies that reduce reliance on rain-fed agriculture, reduce post-harvest loss, and reduce/replace use of diesel/fuel 
  • Strengthening and optimization of supply chains, such as the use of technology and data to quickly drive decision making and respond to new resilience shocks

Objective Two Anticipated Outcomes: Increased or faster access to essential inputs (e.g. financial and agricultural) for farmers and businesses, increased investment in Africa’s near and long-term resilience, new solutions created or scaled to address barriers tied to increased resilience

Additional cross-cutting objectives and outcomes

  • Creation of private sector jobs
  • Empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable communities
  • More resilient, inclusive economic ecosystems across countries, regions and the continent
  • Value chain activities that span countries and crowd in various enterprises
  • Fostering private sector-led response to food security and building market based productive capacities

This APS is a tool for engaging the private sector in transformational partnerships that advance market-based solutions to achieve private sector objectives and development objectives. Eligible activities include novel ideas and innovative business models related to food security, food systems resilience  and other support services as described in the text box in Section 1 and above. Innovative ideas that combine the various objectives in a manner that also deliver increased trade and investment as a package are encouraged. 

Proposed activities will be evaluated on several factors with priority given to those concepts able to achieve results on a timeline and scale that directly address the food security and resilience risks outlined above (see more details under Section IV). Activities with the potential to engage women, youth or vulnerable populations are also priorities. By fulfilling a multitude of these priorities, the hope is that awardees will address shortages and price increases of essential commodities to build a better, more resilient economic ecosystem in the countries they operate in.  Note that concepts for opportunities that would have significant negative impact on US exports or US jobs are likely to be deemed ineligible.

ATI may leverage USAID and Prosper Africa’s previous and existing programming to further develop the economies and financial systems on the African continent to combat the effects of high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Examples of illustrative activities that USAID may consider funding under the respective objectives include but are not limited to:

Illustrative Examples under Objective 1: Increased Food Security 

  • Cost-shared partnerships working with buyers and suppliers (e.g. farmers and cooperatives) to quickly scale production and export products to key African markets at risk of food insecurity 
  • De-risk corporate opportunities to build out African supply chains that are immediately tied to food insecurity and malnutrition on the African continent
  • Support for African exporters, especially those increasing intra-Africa trade, to meet export requirements and/or accelerate the implementation of the existing Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) export protocols such as trade in goods, trade in services, e-commerce, etc.
  • Strategic/sector-level technical assistance to overcome transaction challenges for businesses working in value chains critical to food security and nutrition (e.g. wheat, soya, etc.)

Illustrative Examples under Objective 2: Resilience of Food Systems

  • Development or scaling of new financial approaches, products, and structures, to accelerate access to finance for businesses and agricultural institutions critical to the building resilience
  • Transaction facilitation and deal structuring in order for a fertilizer company to expand its production, buy more inputs or enhance their technological capabilities to increase yields
  • Catalytic funding to mobilize additional investment and/or de-risk for transaction opportunities tied to the resilience of food systems and markets on the African continent
  • Interventions providing a lower cost food alternative, thus reducing reliance on imported food products or inputs

 

 

[i]  Sen, Ashish Kumar. “Russia's War in Ukraine Is Taking a Toll on Africa.” United States Institute of Peace, United States Institute of Peace, 15 June 2022, https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/06/russias-war-ukraine-taking-toll-africa.

[ii] Sacko, Josefa, and Ibrahim Mayaki. “How the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Impacts Africa | Africa Renewal.” United Nations, United Nations, 21 Apr. 2022, https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2022/how-russia-ukraine-conflict%C2%A0impacts-africa.

SECTION II – AWARD INFORMATION

Type of Anticipated  Funding: ATI anticipates issuing performance-based grants ranging between US$500,000 - US$5,000,000 to establish partnerships meeting the development objectives stated in Section 1. Grant sizes of smaller or larger amounts may be considered should the proposed activity meet the objectives of the APS, and a range of grant award types may be considered. Given the evolving nature of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the buy-in nature of the ATI contract, addenda may be published to further specify priorities or available funding. Please be sure to review addenda before submitting a concept. 

Grant values may be limited by the type of grant most appropriate for the enterprise it intends to fund—for example, U.S. organizations (both not-for-profits or for-profits) may not receive grant funding above $250,000 under any grant type.

Performance-based grants: The specific type of performance-based grant preferred for this APS will be a Fixed Amount Award (FAA) agreement under USAID rules. Payment under FAA grants are made upon accomplishments of predetermined results, referred to as milestones. Milestones are agreed between ATI and the partner prior to the grant being awarded.  

Although the FAA is the preferred grant mechanism under this APS, ATI will conduct capacity assessments of all potential grantees in which their mode of award will be determined based on the financial and administrative capabilities of the applicant. Other modalities of award may include an in-kind grant, standard grant, simplified grant, or a combination of FAA and in-kind grants, but this is dependent on ATI’s determination of the potential grantee’s capacity. 

If ATI’s assessment identifies weaknesses or deficiencies that call into question the applicant’s ability to manage the award, ATI may elect to remove the applicant from consideration under this funding opportunity or select a mechanism more appropriate for the applicant’s current financial, administrative and operational capacity ATI. The applicant will agree to the metrics and verification methods of awards during the development of the full application, giving latitude to the partner on how it will accomplish the agreed objectives.

Performance Period: The performance period of partnership grants will be no more than 24 months although this length of program will typically be reserved for activities needing longer timelines for externalities such as fundraising. In addition, the length of awarded programs may not extend past July 2024, unless explicitly modified in writing by DAI.

Questions: Please submit any questions regarding the APS process or APS ATI-02 activity to APS ATI-02 Food Security and Resilience Questions. Please also visit the frequently asked questions (FAQs) page linked on the application site. 

DAI may choose to extend this APS until all funding has been awarded. The number of awards and amount of available funding may be subject to change. DAI may choose to fully fund or incrementally fund selected application(s). DAI reserves the right to make no awards as a result of this APS. DAI will evaluate concept papers on a rolling basis and full applications after their respective closing dates.

SECTION III – ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Eligible activities include novel and transformative ideas as described above. 

Eligible applicants:

  • Applicants can include financial institutions, investors, businesses, business service organizations, industry/sector organizations, trade or other private sector associations. Applicants may also submit as a consortium that includes multiple institutions under one concept, but please clearly indicate who would be the lead partner ultimately responsible for implementation. ATI strongly encourages concepts from potential new partners. Should there be questions of whether your entity is eligible, please submit your inquiry at APS ATI-02 Food Security and Resilience Questions.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that it falls into one of the grantee categories below: 
    • Private Sector Companies – both local (within Africa) and international (outside of Africa) firms. 
    • Foreign Organizations (referred to as non-U.S. NGOs): either nonprofit or for-profit organizations that meet the definition in 2 CFR 200.47. Please see FAQ for definitions.
    • Non-profit Organizations: Organizations that meet the definition of 2 CFR 200.70.
  • In addition, an applicant must be organized under the laws of the country in which it has its principal place of business or operations in. In lieu of official registration, an applicant may still be eligible for award if it shows proof of effort to secure registration, exemption from registration, or cause for why registration is not optional or practicable.

Prior experience with USAID or other US Government entities is not required. DAI encourages concepts from potential new partners.

Ineligible Applicants:

    • Any organization not legally organized under the laws of the country in which it has its principal place of business or operations in;
    • Any entity listed in the U.S. government Excluded Parties List;
    • Any entity unable to obtain a Unique Entity ID (SAM); 
    • Any entity excluded in the US Government System for Award Management;
    • Any Government Entity; 
    • Any Public International Organization (PIO);
    • Any entity affiliated with DAI or ATI directors, officers, or employees;
    • Any projects involving involuntary resettlement, child labor, significant environmental impacts;
    • Any military organization;
    • Any political party organization;
    • Any entity focused solely on religious activities;
    • Any labor unions; and,
    • Any individuals.

SECTION IV – APPLICATION PROCESS

DAI will apply a streamlined two-stage review and selection process that begins with registering online and submitting a concept paper with a high-level budget. Only shortlisted applicants will be sent a request for application to initiate Stage 2 of the selection process, the full application (technical & cost) development and submission. Submitted full applications will undergo a second round of reviews resulting in final award selection. 

Technical Selection Criteria - Concept papers and full applications will be evaluated on their responsiveness to the following equally-weighted criteria:

  • The concept & the objectives it will cover: Describe the challenge the applicant seeks to address, the proposed partnership focal area or areas (as described on page 1), and the novel idea to address food insecurity and resilience through trade and investment in Africa. Explain what the applicant proposes to fund, what they are requesting ATI to fund, and how it will make a notable impact on addressing recent food security and resilience challenges. Note the timeline and whether the pace of the work will directly align with food security and resilience risk mitigation. Describe the expected outcome(s) and alignment with one or more of the three objectives stated on page 1, including any relevant estimates for quantitative targets. 
  • Additionality & the value of the partnership: Explain how the proposed concept is a departure from the status quo and how the ATI grant will produce demonstrated additionality. Additionality is defined as: The net positive difference expected to result from a donor-business partnership, (i.e., the positive change that otherwise would not happen without public support). It signifies the extent to which activities (and associated results) are larger in scale, are at a higher quality, take place more quickly, take place at a different location, or take place at all as a result of a donor intervention. (Source: Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)). For example, a concept may outline the accelerated speed at which they can achieve their objectives with the grant funding as opposed to the absence of it. Concepts that demonstrate co-investment by the applicant company are encouraged.
  • Current capacity and the future of the organization: Demonstrated institutional capacity to manage (technically, administratively, and financially) the proposed activity. Describe how the proposed idea can be sustained and expanded beyond the life of the partnership’s period of performance. Explain how the proposed partnership will attract additional private sector investment/resources, if relevant. 
  • The business, community and wider ecosystem impact: Describe how this concept will create positive change at the business, industry, community, local/national/regional/continental ecosystem levels, what the benefits to the applicants will be, and what additional benefits will be created externally (e.g. new financing for farmers, sped up production and exports of nutritional crops, eased export processes, other social welfare). If possible, estimate how many individuals will benefit, by how much, and any available demographic information for those individuals (e.g. men, women, youth, etc.). Concepts that demonstrate broader food security and/or resilience impacts outside of a single entity or market are preferred. This may include (but are not limited to) concepts that: incorporate multiple countries for regional benefits,  reach large vulnerable populations, can quickly ramp up production of a key value chain, or otherwise present a significant opportunity to accelerate food security and resilience. In summary, concepts that demonstrate the potential for large scale impact on vulnerable populations are preferred. Applicants should note how they plan to capture and report on the development impact.

Cost Evaluation Proposed partnership costs will be reviewed based on cost effectiveness, reasonableness, allocability, and allowability. Costs that do not meet the criteria below will be deemed non-responsive.

  • Are costs effective? Will proposed costs provide a good value in achieving desired outcomes at a relatively low cost or becoming more cost-effective over time?
  • Are costs reasonable? Are proposed costs generally recognized as ordinary and necessary and would they be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of normal business?
  • Are costs allocable? Do proposed costs have a legitimate justification for the funding amount requested and is the cost clearly captured in the budget and concept paper?
  • Are costs allowable? Are proposed costs strictly for the achievement of the partnership and are they free of any restrictions or limitations, such as vehicles, alcohol, luxury goods, etc.?
  • Applicant contribution: Applicants may contribute a cash investment to the proposed activity equal to or greater than the value of ATI’s grant. A cash contribution is a transfer of funding from the private sector entity to pay for goods and services that will specifically and exclusively be used to implement activities under the partnership, or a transfer of funding to be used in making loans or equity investments under the partnership. Please note that neither the “Investment from Applicant” nor the “Investment requested from ATI” can cover business-as-usual operating costs.
    • ATI prefers that grant funding used for loans or equity investments should mobilize private capital greater than the value of the ATI grant. Applicants should clearly note the anticipated leverage ratio if proposing this type of support (e.g. $1 of grant funding will mobilize $4 of private sector funding). Small leverage ratios may be considered in the event of certain market contexts or other high “returns” elsewhere, such as the ability to trigger growth in the value of exports. For clarity, leverage beyond the initial inputs of funding may be considered so as to account for the value of outputs such as additional trade finance, exports, jobs, etc. An equity investment is defined as the purchase of shares of a company and a loan investment is defined as the use of funds to provide credit to stakeholders. An example of a loan investment in this context could be a multi-national company (MNC) providing credit for inputs or other services to agricultural producers who are suppliers to that supply chain. The MNC would need to contribute or raise credit greater than the USAID contribution to those suppliers if proposing this type of engagement. 
  • Ineligible cost items include: profit or fee; application preparation costs; payment of debts; political elections; fees for public and elected government officials; fines and penalties; creation of endowments; military equipment, surveillance equipment; commodities and services for support of police and other law enforcement activities; abortion equipment and services; luxury goods and gambling equipment; alcohol; purchases of restricted goods without prior USAID prior approval, such as: agricultural commodities, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, used equipment, and fertilizer, and purchases of goods or services from any firm or individual whose name appears on the list of ineligible applicants.

Partnership grants will only start after approval by USAID and signature of the grant agreement between the applicant and DAI. Costs incurred before signing of the grant agreement will not be reimbursed.

STAGE 1: CONCEPT PAPER SUBMISSION

Concept Paper Instructions: Applicants are required to submit a technical concept paper describing the proposed activities addressing each of the technical selection criteria listed above. Concept papers must address all criteria to be considered for partnership. The concept paper must meet the following requirements, or it will not be reviewed: 

  • Be written in English
  • Be prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Word, minimum font size 10
  • Should not exceed a total of 6 slides or pages in length (cover slide/page is non-counting)
  • The APS number and name
  • Address of organization 
  • Type of organization (e.g., for-profit, non-profit, association, etc.)
  • Contact point (lead contact name, relevant telephone, e-mail information)
  • Names of other organizations (federal and non-federal as well as any other USAID offices) to whom you are submitting and/or have submitted the concept and/or who are funding the proposed activity
  • Technical Approach:
    • Concise title and objectives of proposed activity
    • Discussion of the objectives & the method of approach 
    • The amount of effort, funding, resources to be employed
    • The anticipated results (e.g. scaled production of key inputs, trade of food crops critical to food security increased, investment mobilized in support of resilience efforts)
    • The ability to measure/capture results and how the work will help accomplish ATI’s goals as outlined above
  • Estimated Funding Request 
    • Type of support the applicant requests from USAID (e.g., funds, equipment, materials, etc.), as well as the anticipated leverage ratio (e.g. $ value of private capital raised) and/or commitment of grantee resources to the activity (e.g. 1:1 match of USAID funding)

The funding request must clearly distinguish between the proposed funding to be committed by the applicant, the funding/resources requested from ATI, and any third-party investment to be mobilized in the proposed partnership activity. 

The Concept must be submitted via the online grants platform no later than March 31, 2023. No other forms of submission will be accepted. If an applicant is unable to submit using the online platform, they should email ATI_Grants@ATIProgram.com for help before the deadline. At the discretion of DAI, concept papers received past the deadline may be considered for review. Further attachments to the concept paper are not permitted. 

STAGE 2: FULL APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT AND SUBMISSION

Applicants whose concept papers have been shortlisted will receive the full RFA and will begin co-development and due diligence with the ATI team. The RFA will provide detailed templates, instructions, and the requirements for the full technical and budget applications. 

Co-Development: ATI will meet virtually with applicants to provide feedback and input to support applicants in their development of the full application, to identify appropriate concrete results (milestones), to further define and develop the specifics of the partnership budget, to define the respective roles of each partner that align with the shared objectives of the partner firm and USAID and identify and share risk and responsibility. Milestone reporting and verifiable metrics will be discussed and agreed upon during the co-development phase.  This process empowers the parties involved to design more transformational partnerships that maximize the value of ATI grant funding while supporting firms to reach their business goals. It is not unusual for the ideas offered in the original concept paper to evolve significantly as the applicant determines the best ways to achieve the greatest impact. 

Financial and organizational due diligence: All applicants in the RFA process will be subject to a pre-award financial and management questionnaire and review, as well as environmental and social due diligence. All applicants must demonstrate that they have adequate financial and monitoring systems in place that ensure auditable systems and records. The review – which may be conducted remotely and on-site – will also ensure applicants have the ability to comply with the award conditions, including measuring and reporting on selected milestones, the ability to contribute the required cash investment, and a demonstrated good record of performance on the management and implementation of partnership activities and grants. 

Full Application: Only applicants that complete the co-development process and the due diligence without significant negative findings will be eligible to submit a full application. Full applications will be due no later than the date outlined in the RFA at the time of issuance. ATI requires all applicants to have a current Unique Entity ID (SAM) and register in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management at sam.gov. (DAI is available to assist applicants with this process, but it is the applicant’s sole responsibility to fulfill and keep updated this requirement). NOTE: Not all full applications will be recommended for award and USAID must approve all award recommendations

SECTION V – AWARD AND ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Post-Selection Information: DAI will inform the successful applicant of their approved award funding. The official authorization document is a notice of award signed by the ATI Chief of Party, which DAI will provide electronically to the successful applicant’s main point of contact. ATI, USAID, and the awarded partner will host a kick-off award meeting immediately following signature of the award agreement.

SECTION VI – DAI PROJECT CONTACTS

The points of contact for this APS and any questions during the APS process is APS ATI-02 Food Security and Resilience Questions. For general inquiries about ATI please email Partners@ATIProgram.com.

Any information given to an applicant concerning this APS will be furnished promptly to all other applicants as an amendment of this APS, if that information is necessary in submitting applications or if the lack of it would be prejudicial to any other applicants.

SECTION VII – OTHER INFORMATION

DAI reserves the right to modify by written notice the terms of this APS at any time or to withdraw this APS at any time—with or without a statement of cause—prior to any funding award.

Applicants that receive award funds will be required to comply with USAID required rules and regulations, including:

ATI recognizes the importance of protecting sensitive information and data. ATI’s partnering approach requires the receipt and protection of proprietary technical and cost information received from partners as part of each grant process, as well as the review and retention of technical deliverables produced by partners during grant implementation. As part of tracking activity milestones, ATI is also required to measure specific indicators, which may require the submission and review of sensitive and/or proprietary information. ATI will work closely with each partner to gather/track the required evaluation data while ensuring the protection of all sensitive information.