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Development of Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy  

Harakat - Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility
Location: Kabul
Last Date: August 26, 2011
Email: (Reference:

Harakat-Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility


Development of Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy

Date of Issue: 08:00 A.M Local Time, 26 July, 2011
Submission Deadline: 04:00 P.M Local Time, 26 August, 2011

Submission Place: Harakat- Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organisation (Harakat-AICFO), Main Road Kart-e-Char, before Police Station Three, House # 26, Kabul, Afghanistan

Contact Person: Mr. Chance Zilinga
Head of Finance and Procurement Unit
Office: +93 (0) +93 (0) 752044000
Cell phone: +93 (0) 796 037 752

(Sealed proposals shall be clearly marked and received prior to the time and date specified above. Proposals received after said time and date will not be accepted or considered.)

Harakat-AICFO is an independent, not-for-profit, Afghan managed organization that provides grant funds to the private sector, government and civil society to implement projects that reduce or remove institutional and regulatory barriers to doing business in Afghanistan. Harakat-AICFO aims to improve Afghanistan’s business environment by removing obstacles to private investment.
Harakat does not implement or manage investment projects; it funds the activities of others, supporting the reform role of the Government and complementing the vision of the Private Sector. Harakat is an initiative of the UK’s Government’s Department of International Development (DFID) which provided the initial seed funding. Other multilateral, bilateral and private sector funders will augment this seed funding to support practical, result-oriented projects that promote the following 8 priority areas:
1. Financial markets that provide greater access to finance and affordable credit to all sizes of business, especially SME’s;
2. Streamlined and more effective regulations and creation of regulatory impact assessment systems;
3. Increased private sector investment in infrastructure, especially energy, water and transportation;
4. More equitable and efficient taxation and customs systems;
5. Strengthened property rights and more effective contract enforcement;
6. Higher workforce productivity and mobility and improved labour market regulation;
7. Strengthened competition policy that reduces anti-competitive practices; and
8. Improved capacity of government and institutions to tackle corruption.

Our aim is to make a tangible difference to how people do business within the next 7 years. Given the targeted time period, we function along private sector lines.

Harakat’s aim is not to replace the government, or civil society’s important work in reducing barriers to sustainable business. We support the positive initiatives already happening in various sectors, work in partnerships with existing and emerging key players, and provide funding so that more of these become reality. Harakat will use the available funds to identify and fund practical projects that will increase the attractiveness and ease of investing in Afghanistan.

The following definitions apply throughout the RFP:
Applicant: The entity that needs technical assistance for the purpose of implementing the project, hereafter, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is called the Applicant in this RFP
Donor: Harakat-Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization (Harakat-AICFO), hereafter, Harakat-AICFO is called the Donor in this RFP
Grant: The total amount of money provided by Harakat-AICFO for the purpose of implementing the Project
Project: Development of Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy
Offerors: The entities that are interested to provide the Technical Assistance (TA) for the Applicant and participate in the bidding process for the Project

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has the key role in the Government of Afghanistan of encouraging economic growth through the development of appropriate policies and regulations, and through the facilitation of internal and external private sector production and trade.
The MOCI’s General Directorate of International Trade (GDIT) leads negotiations on regional and international trade agreements and engages in dialogue with traders to ensure that the Ministry is responsive to their problems and that their interests are represented in all trade and trade related agreements signed by Afghanistan. Ultimately, the Directorate’s work on trade agreements aims to integrate Afghanistan into global and regional economies to ensure the competitiveness of domestic industries and add to the attractiveness of Afghanistan for investors.

The main objectives of the Project are:
1.1. A: To address the “knowledge gaps” in trade data by reviewing the fresh research undertaken across target sectors in existing trade data and literature
B: To build a database to house all existing Afghan trade related data in a user-friendly format.
1.2. Proposals to be Submitted
Technical proposals are solicited from interested and qualified firms. The administrative and technical requirements as detailed throughout this Request for Proposal (RFP) will apply. Financial proposals shall be submitted along with technical proposals. Upon detailed evaluation of the proposal, one firm will be selected for contract negotiation.

1.3. Contract Funded By the Donor

The contract will be funded by the Donor in accordance with the terms and conditions of its grant to the grantee or Applicant.

2. Instruction to Proposers

2.1. Project Title
The project is called “Development of Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy”.

2.2. Examination of the Documents
Offerors should carefully examine this RFP. It will be assumed that Offerors have done such inspection and that through examinations, inquiries and investigations they have become familiarized with local conditions and nature of problems to be solved during the execution of the project.

Offerors shall address all items as specified in this RFP. Failure to adhere to this format may disqualify an Offeror from further consideration.

Submission of a proposal shall constitute evidence that the Offeror has made all the above examinations and investigations, and is free of any uncertainty with respect to conditions that would affect the execution and completion of the project.

2.3. Responsibility for Cost
Offerors shall be fully responsible for all costs incurred in the development and submission of the proposal or any cost incurred by Offeror prior to issuance of an agreement or contract. Neither the Donor nor the Applicant assumes any contractual obligation as a result of the issuance of the proposal request, the preparation or submission of a proposal by an Offeror, the evaluation of proposals, or final selection.

2.4. Confidentiality
The Donor and the Applicant will use its best efforts to preserve the confidentiality of any business proprietary or confidential information submitted by the Offerors, which is clearly designated as such by the Offeror.

2.5. Language of Proposal
All proposal documents shall be prepared and submitted in English.

2.6. Proposal Submission Requirements
The Cover Letter in the proposal must be addressed to:
Mr. Chance Zilinga
Head of Finance and Procurement Department (HFPU)
Harakat- Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility (Harakat-AICFO)
Address: Main Road, Kart-e Char, Before police station three, House # 26
Kabul, Afghanistan

An original and two copies of the proposal must be received at the above address no later than 04:00 P.M. on 26 August, 2011.

Proposals may be either sent by mail, overnight courier, or hand-delivered. Upon timely receipt, all proposals become the property of the Donor.

2.7. Packaging
Each proposal must be sealed to ensure confidentiality of the information. The proposals should be individually wrapped and sealed, and labelled for the content including “Original” or “Copy number x”; the original and two copies should be collectively wrapped and sealed, and clearly marked for content. Neither the Donor will nor the Applicant responsible for premature opening of proposals not properly labelled.

2.8. Authorized Signature
The proposal must contain the signature of a duly authorized officer or agent of the Offeror empowered with the right to bind the Offeror.

2.9. Offeror Qualifications
As provided in Section 3, Offeror shall submit evidence that they have relevant past experience and have previously delivered advisory and technical assistance services similar to those required in the Terms of Reference (TOR).

2.10. Prime Contractor Responsibility
Offerors have the option of subcontracting parts of the services they propose. The Offeror’s proposal must include a description of any anticipated subcontracting arrangements, including the name, address, and qualifications of consultants and subcontractors.

2.11. Award
An award resulting from this RFP shall be made to the best qualified Offeror, taking into consideration the evaluation factors set forth herein; however, the right is reserved to reject any and all proposals received and, in all cases, the Donor and the Applicant will be the judge as whether a proposal has or has not satisfactorily met the requirements of this RFP.

3. Award Criteria

A Selection Committee of representatives from the Applicant and the Donor will initially evaluate individual proposals. The Committee will then conduct a final evaluation and completion of ranking of qualified Offerors, and the Donor shall promptly negotiate a contract with the best-qualified Offeror. If a satisfactory contract cannot be negotiated with the best-qualified Offeror, negotiation will be formally terminated. Negotiations shall then be undertaken with the second most qualified Offeror and so forth.

Key competencies and eligibility criteria:
• Agency must have proven track record in undertaking similar assignments. It must have a multi-disciplinary team, which has significant experience in, and familiarity with socio-economic surveys. Basic understanding of trade issues is necessary.

• Agency should have its own infrastructure (computer systems, soft-wares etc.) and manpower to be deployed to complete the assignment in time-bound manner.

• Good documentation, analytical and communication skills in Dari/Pashto and English. Fluency in Dari and Pashto for team members operating at the field level is required.

• Sufficient capacity and networks to draw upon the highest quality resources

• Bidders should provide documents in the form of work order, completion certificates of completed assignments and any other documents to validate the experiences claimed.

• Monitoring, Supervision and certification of the works of the agency will be done by Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy Project Manager.

The selection of the Offeror will be based on the following criteria:

Criteria Max. Points
Relevant experience/expertise in the legal context of Afghanistan, previous similar experience, and specifically in the area of private sector/stakeholder engagement. 40
Best pricing for the implementation of the project activities which lead to meet the project’s objectives 30
Realistic work plan with feasible timeframes to implement the project 10
CVs 10

Work Methodology 10

The MOCI’s General Directorate of International Trade is undertaking the project, Development of Afghanistan’s National Trade Policy (DANTP), funded by Harakat- AICFO. The ultimate aim of this work is to improve Afghanistan’s trade performance by developing a targeted and evidence-based trade policy. The project aims to address the current problem of patchy and uncoordinated data on trade in Afghanistan by reviewing the research on existing knowledge on imports and exports, plugging the remaining data gaps, and developing a trade database that contains this data. This three-month project covers the following activities:

1. Addressing knowledge gaps, identified by MOCI, through targeted depth interviews and focus groups, to create a comprehensive set of trade data;
2. Developing a professional database for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MOCI), to be housed in the General Directorate of International Trade (GDIT). The data from the additional research will be maintained in this database. This activity will also include building the capacity of MOCI to navigate and manage the trade database;
3. Providing on-the-job training for the GDIT staff and involve them in the TA throughout the project implementation.

The Offeror team Agency should have its own infrastructure (computer systems, soft-wares etc.) and personnel to be deployed to complete the assignment in time-bound manner. GDIT representative(s) will be involved throughout the implementation of the project and may accompany the Offeror in the above activities.

Tasks and delivery
Below provides greater detail for each of the three components:

1. Research
The first component requires that the selected agency address knowledge gaps relating to Afghanistan’s key exports.

Overall this component requires the following activities to be completed by the selected agency:
• Review knowledge gaps, identified by MOCI;
• Design sound approach to depth interviews and focus groups to address data gaps relating to Afghanistan’s key exports
• Undertake depth interviews of focus groups to obtain information that addresses gaps identified
• Deliver complete research outcome document without gaps
o Results should be based on sound scientific methodology
o The quality of the research should meet regional/international standards
• Coordinate with the National Trade Policy Project Manager and to provide feedback for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) when requested
• Formulate and manage a detailed work schedule, and arrange logistics and orientation of its local facilitators
Whilst MOCI is currently unable to provide precise details of the required content of the focus groups and depth interviews, the Ministry is able to confirm that the scope will be across the following key exports while the key imports are yet to be identified:
o Carpets and handicrafts
o Fresh fruit and vegetable
o Dried fruits and nuts
o Marble
o Gemstones
o Medicinal herbs and spices
o Building materials (Cement, Wood, Bricks)
o Natural resources

Moreover, the research will indicatively focus on the following types of insights:
o Afghanistan’s main competitors for each of the targets sectors (in both the domestic market and overseas markets)
o Afghanistan’s competitive advantage for each target sector (perceived or actual)
o Core weaknesses in Afghanistan’s products, across the key sectors (perceived or actual)
o Key barriers to export growth across the target sectors
o Projected demand for products from each of the key target sectors, overall figures and by market (perceived or actual)

2. Database
The second component of this project involves harmonizing existing trade data into a comprehensive and user-friendly database. This would combine a range of sources, including qualitative and quantitative (actual and perception) data.

The selected agency would be required to incorporate key data sources relating to trade, including but not limited to the following:

• Central Statistics Office basic data on imports and exports, 2009-10 and trended data
• TAFA’s Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) Survey on Afghanistan towards Trade, 2010
• OTF’s Competitiveness Survey, 2010
• MOCI and TAFA’s Joint Study on Unauthorized Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2011
• MOCI’s Industrial Policy, 2011
• MOCI's SME Strategy, 2009
• The World Bank’s Investment Climate Survey and Doing Business Indicators (notably ' Trading Across Borders' indicator)
• MOCI's sector strategies (Agri-processing, Carpets, Leather, Cashmere, Gems, Marble, Construction and building materials), 2011
• Sector-specific research with a focus on exports which could indicatively include:
o Refah Maani's 'Prioritizing Export Opportunities for Horticulture in Afghanistan', September 2003
o OTF’s Growth Strategy and Action Plan for the Carpet Cluster of Afghanistan, April 2006
o OTF / CCCA's 'Strategy for the Marble Cluster', February 2006
o Chubb & J. Wright's 'Organic Export Feasibility Study' for RALF, May 2006
o Sophia Swire's 'Afghanistan Gemstones Sector Comprehensive Strategy for Development', June 2010
o AISA's 'Market Prospects' documents on Agri-processing, Construction, etc. (no date)
• Findings from the focus groups and depth interviews conducted as part of component one of this project

An important part of this component will be working closely with the MOCI’s team in the General Directorate of International Trade to transfer skills relating to:

• Navigating the database
• Inputting fresh data into the database

This will require the selected agency to work closely with Ministry staff. The Ministry will provide the necessary office space and furniture to facilitate this activity.
The Offeror will report directly to Applicant and Donor on the project progress.



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