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ASA-WISHH USB Ghana Financing Project

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United States
Download the rfp file: RFP Ghana Financing Project FINAL.pdf.

The purpose of this request for proposals is to solicit a contractor to serve as a technical lead for the American Soybean Association's WISHH program's efforts to increase the use of U.S. soy in the domestic value chains of sub-Saharan Africa. WISHH requests proposals for the implementation of a research study and subsequent strategic recommendations on a pilot-level program in Ghana with the following desired characteristics:

The study will focus on the development of modular and replicable tools and strategies to diagnose barriers to small and medium enterprises in accessing affordable financing for fixed asset acquisitions and working capital.
The study will present methods and strategies to engage local financing institutions that maintain interest in servicing the local soybean utilization value chains, with a specific focus placed on the increased use of soybeans in the poultry, aquaculture and human foods sectors.
The study will develop methods and strategies aimed at evaluating the presence or lack of vertical integration within the soybean processing and related utilization value chains. The initial evaluation under this program for Ghana will serve as a model for other sub-Saharan Africa markets and will offer recommendations regarding the viability of vertical integration as a solution to "loose" value chains and improved profitability.

According to the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for up to 90 percent of all businesses in Africa. The World Bank also notes that lack of financing is the second most cited obstacle facing SMEs to grow their businesses in emerging markets and developing countries. In Africa, a relative lack of lending institutions makes accessing capital extremely competitive - lenders have an array of potential borrowers to interact with, and generally disburse loans within sectors that provide the best potential return on investment. Unfortunately, the category of borrower that most WISHH private business partners fall under tend to be too large for microfinancing, while larger banks find the transaction levels for the entities to be high risk - expensive to service and low on return - particularly compared to opportunities in other sectors. Traditional financing from local banks also often comes with very high interest rates (25-40%) and often is not large enough to meet the capital needs of growing companies ($500,000-$1,500,000).

This program will seek to identify barriers to capital lending experienced by companies that typically partner with WISHH, propose solutions and interventions, and implement programming based on those conclusions as funding allows.

This project is intended to act as a pilot program to address one of the most significant factors in preventing WISHH supply chain partners, stakeholders and other partners from growing their businesses through affordable capital in the form of credit. On a parallel path, the study component focused on vertical integration is a complementary investigation to determine the viability and potential added value to producers and processors that show interest in consolidating control of value chain nodes from post-harvest handling through delivery of intermediate and finished products to the customer. The contractor will be required to build a list of financial institutions and processors interviewed for the study for subsequent follow up by ASA/WISHH.

The primary goal of the project is to address a portion of the known barriers to lending and capital flows to targeted agriculture sectors in sub-Saharan Africa. The secondary goal will be to collect additional first-hand information from key informants to formulate future activities that address market specific barriers to lending and capital flows. This project will be piloted in Ghana and will be used to build a larger strategy for addressing the lack of agriculture sector financing in sub-Saharan Africa. It will provide insight into the decision making and evaluation criteria of lenders, and help borrowers develop competitive and sound loan applications and future investment opportunities. The proposed project provides a unique strategy that provides extra emphasis on addressing the shortcomings of lending institutions.

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