Sierra Leone is in the fourth year of implementing its Medium-Term National Development plan launched in 2019. Since the launching of this Plan, significant progress has been made in the areas of education, the fight against corruption, women’s participation in governance, sport and youth development among other SDG areas. These are conscious actions taken in the broad context of attaining middle-level income status by 2030. However, in 2020, the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic causing an economic slowdown. In Sierra Leone women show a higher rate of multidimensional poverty than men and benefit only from marginality from their activities due to several factors including limited access to market and finance, lack of knowledge, cumbersome customs procedures and regulations, low level of digital literacy and entrepreneurship skills etc. COVID-19 restrictions and regulations on cross[1]border trade deepened hardships for women in the borderlands, especially in the Mano River Union border areas where most of the women are engaged in cross-border trade.

To cushion the impact on the lives of the people, the government embarked on fiscal stimulus packages for small businesses with huge financial implications. This was compounded by the surge in the prices of petroleum products and the energy shortage in Sierra Leone and is increasing transaction costs and creating more hardship for local businesses and consumers, particularly in the informal sector including the poorest and the most vulnerable.

As the county continues its response to the negative impacts of the global crises it is important to expedite efforts towards enhancing trade as a vehicle for job creation and economic growth. Cross border trade suffered significantly due to lockdowns and movement restrictions causing excruciating hardship for border communities especially women. The Government, UNDP and partners have some progress in their support to women in borderlands. However, critical gaps remain in providing the requisite tools and the capabilities needed.

Duties and Responsibilities


The development of a national Atlas of existing innovative tools and services suitable for the informal sector, women cross border traders and farm/trade-based organizations in borderlands, is important for public policies and private investments. A national Atlas will provide businesses, policy makers and users with georeferenced information on specific segments of the informal sector. The establishment of information that enables the identification and evaluation of opportunities spread around the country will support business formalisation, growth, and investments in the country. This work will provide a one-stop shop source of information on innovative tools and programmes relevant to informal cross-border trade and could help maximize synergies, avoid duplication and scale up the most impactful initiatives to improve welfare of borderland communities. The outcomes of this project could help increase the attractiveness of borderlands.


Summary of key functions:

· Identify and assess existing innovative tools, frameworks and programmes that support informal cross border trade

· Identify and assess existing innovative tools, platforms and programmes in other sectors, areas, countries and regions that can be tailored to increase informal cross border trade in terms of market access, finance and productivity and support borderland communities, especially women

· Create a business directory including the contact details of relevant incubator labs, business innovators/entrepreneurs and venture capitalists among others, relevant to women cross border trade, rural entrepreneurs, and farm/trade-based organizations in the borderlands.

·Identify training needs and materials necessary to support cross border trade using the identified tools, mechanisms and programmes

· Conduct an in-depth analysis of the concentration of certain segments of the informal sector at local level

· Conduct an r analysis of the structure and differences of local economic activities performed in the informal sector across the country, especially in the borderlands

· Structure the information collected during the work on innovative tools to feed the digital version of the atlas/portable website later (second phase).

· Identify synergies and complementarities between initiatives and propose new initiative including gender responsive initiatives

· Identify the tools and visual guidance documents necessary to make the complex customs procedures and requirements gender friendly and easier to comprehend, considering the low level of literacy of actors in borderland communities



  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modelling the UN/UNDP’s values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of the UN and UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly
  • Fulfils all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.


  • Strong local networks: within the financial and corporate industries (banks, non-bank financial institutions, impact funds, HNWI, relevant philanthropies, development finance institutions), with relevant businesses, investment promotion agencies etc.
  • Strong ongoing knowledge of market context, of national development needs, and economic/ political priorities
  • Knowledge of the SDGs
  • Knowledge of the local investment landscape, and close familiarity with needs of global investors
  • Expertise in gathering and comprehensively analyzing country-level data as basis for identifying investment opportunities and developing data analytics on market sizing and defining key country hotspots
  • Data analysis expertise, ideally with extensive expertise in research and an understanding of statistics
  • Excellent advocacy skills relating to finance, business climate.
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Ability to facilitate multi-stakeholder sessions
  • Ability to navigate sensitive political environments
  • Strong communication skills, including ability to produce high quality practical advisory reports and knowledge products
  • Excellent knowledge on gender and trade in Sierra Leone

Client Orientation and Communication

  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relations
  • Supports and encourages open communication and responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and to communicate sensitively across different constituencies and awareness of political sensitivities
  • Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors.

Required Skills and Experience


Master’s degree in economics, development, finance, accounting, business administration, data science or related field.


  • Minimum 3 years professional experience in business, finance, research, monitoring and evaluation in emerging or low-income markets, private sector engagement, business development in developing countries.
  • Proven experience working for the UNDP/ other UN agencies in the area of research and M&E
  • Proven experience in data collection for both Quantitative and Qualitative Research
  • Experience of carrying out assessment and preparing reports on implementation of sustainable development goals (SDG) or Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Strong knowledge of market context, of national development needs, and economic/ political priorities
  • Experience in the analysis and review of technical and legal documents such as policy documents and/or legal contracts; international agreements and conventions; economic and business-related reports and performance indicators
  • Experience in liaising with public and private sector stakeholders

Language requirement

Excellent command of English language (written & oral)

Selection Criteria

Upon the advertisement of the Procurement Notice, qualified individual consultants are expected to submit both the Technical and Financial Proposals. Accordingly, individual consultants will be evaluated based on Cumulative Analysis as per the following scenario:

  • Responsive/compliant/acceptable, and
  • having received the highest score out of set of weighted technical criteria (70%). and financial criteria (30%). Financial score shall be computed as a ratio of the proposal being evaluated and the lowest priced proposal received by UNDP for the assignment.

Below is the breakdown of scores for the technical proposal on 100% basis, which will be brought to 70%:

  • Educational background: Master’s degree in economics, development, finance, accounting, business administration, data science or related field. 20 points
  • Minimum 3 years professional experience in business, finance, research, monitoring and evaluation in emerging or low-income countries, private sector engagement, business development. 30 points
  • Quality of previous work in the areas of trade, investment, innovation, data collection and research. 50 points

N/b: Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% of the total technical points would be considered for the Financial Evaluation


Expected Outputs and deliverables                                   Delivery date                       payment schedule

  • Inception report with work plan and timelines.               10 October 2022                           20%
  • Production of zero draft national atlas of existing          24 October 2022                           40%

            tools and Services.

  • Submission of final draft national atlas                            25 November 2022                      40%

          of existing tools and Services and the data.

DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT AND DUTY STATION Duration of Assignment: October 2022 – December 2022 (3 months with up to 50 working days.)

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS The study will be delivered under the direct supervision of the UNDP Economic Advisor and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade.