Digital Payments Assessment Expert Consultant
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) seeks a Digital Payments Assessment Expert Consultant to assess the cost digitization (mobile money, e-payment system) in the cocoa supply chain in Ghana. This assessment is funded by the African Cocoa Initiative Phase II (ACI II), which is a five-year USAID Global Development Alliance (GDA) Program implemented by WCF, with chocolate companies, ending in 2022. The goal of ACI II is to sustainably increase cocoa productivity among smallholder c
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) seeks a Digital Payments Assessment Expert Consultant to assess the cost digitization (mobile money, e-payment system) in the cocoa supply chain in Ghana. This assessment is funded by the African Cocoa Initiative Phase II (ACI II), which is a five-year USAID Global Development Alliance (GDA) Program implemented by WCF, with chocolate companies, ending in 2022. The goal of ACI II is to sustainably increase cocoa productivity among smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa.
ACI II is also intended to increase provision of financial services in support of the cocoa value chain. Access to financial services remains a constraint for the estimated two million smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa. It is a barrier to adoption of new productive technologies and good agricultural practices, especially when it comes to farm renovation but also in terms of farm specific plans to increase productivity and off-farm income generating livelihoods activities. The need for capital and access to financial services in cocoa growing communities however is not limited to the cocoa value chain but extends to the individual income diversification strategies of cocoa growing households. These often include food crop production and the number of small businesses that support the sector, such as spray service providers and transporters.
Financial access initiatives in the cocoa sector are dominated by outmoded, often paper-based payment systems generally limited to trade financing and working capital provided by supply chain actors rather than longer term farm or livelihood improvements and service delivery provided by third parties. Similarly, many financial institutions do not offer products specifically structured for rural areas and the cocoa growing season. Women are doubly burdened by the lack of access to finance due to their unequal position within the cocoa value chain. Digital Financial Services (DFS): Digital and mobile technology have been proven to deliver significant economic and social benefits in a variety of development settings. They have improved businesses access to markets and consumers, increased financial inclusion for the poor, and assisted government’s ability to deliver services. One significant promise of digital and mobile technology lies in DFS, which facilitates more efficient and secure financial transactions through electronic means.
The cocoa and chocolate industry, which has so far engaged in DFS within their own supply chains in an ad hoc manner, has expressed the desire for a concentrated effort to address the full ecosystem of DFS needs in cocoa communities. The long-term vision is to expand the digital money platform to include other nonfinancial services such as information on farm planning, weather, inputs, production and e-protection, post-harvest activities and market prices for cocoa and non-cocoa products.
The Partnership with Better Than Cash Alliance
Recognizing how digital payments can be a game-changer for farmers, WCF and the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) are working in partnership to support the growth of digital payments in the cocoa value chain to promote inclusive growth, boost productivity and improve the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers. WCF is a member of the BTCA, a UN-based global partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments to drive inclusive growth. The objective of the current project in Ghana is to promote and support the engagement and implementation efforts of large cocoa buyers, license buying companies (LBC) and other agribusiness intermediaries.
In 2019, World Cocoa Foundation in collaboration with BTCA commissioned a study to assess the hidden cost of cash study referred to as “Cost of Cash Study”. This Costs of Cash study sets out the many pitfalls of cash payments, including significant risk to personal safety, much higher costs and lower productivity and transparency, among many others. It also sets out the key opportunities and advantages in shifting to digital payments throughout the supply chain. The Costs of Cash study confirms that cash remains the primary payment method used to purchase cocoa in Ghana. Over 90% of farmer-level transactions in Ghana take place in cash, representing more than GH¢7 billion, or US$1.26 billion of payments annually.
At the same time, 91% of Ghanaian adults own a mobile phone, and there were 32.5 million mobile money accounts in Ghana as of the end of 2019. Of these, 14.5 million were active consumers of mobile money services across four providers.
To facilitate decision making by industry stakeholders on cash vs. digital payments, there must be a clear and evidence-based analysis of each of the two scenarios, using detailed activity-based-costing along the supply chain. This assessment must deliver primarily quantitative data for each cost center, though some qualitative information would also be of value in cases where no exact quantitative data can be provided.
Scope of Work
In undertaking a clear and distinct evidence-based analysis, the consultant will gather and analyze data on the cost of preparation, setup, deployment and maintenance of infrastructure and operations for digital payments within the cocoa supply chain in Ghana. The successful candidate will:
· Consult with ACI II project management unit (PMU) on methodology.
· Undertake a comprehensive documentary review on industry DFS implementation efforts.
· Conduct background interviews with company heads of sourcing, finance officers, sustainability program managers and coordinators on digital payments.
· Development of data capture tools.
· Undertake field interviews with beneficiaries (LBCs, District Managers, Purchasing Clerks, Farmers) and data collection.
· Conduct a detailed analysis of the data collected to reflect the objective of the assessment.
· Reporting on the finding from the assessment.
Report on desk review and company interviews.
Detailed methodology including itinerary with target locations.
Consolidated report on field data collection and analysis.
PPT Presentation of findings to stakeholders.
Submission of final report.
Breakdown of Days
- Briefing 1
- Document Review 2
- Accra Interviews 5
- Update/Review Meeting 2
- Field Interviews 13
- Report Writing 5
- Presentation 2
Qualifications of the successful candidate:
Advanced Master’s degree in economics, public/business administration, ICT, social sciences, or related discipline or the equivalent experience; and
Additional training related to digital financial services is highly desirable in courses like Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP)
· A minimum of five (5) years dedicated experience in digital finance, payment systems or electronic payments required.
· A minimum of two (2) years working experience in the Ghana payments ecosystem sector.
· Experience in the formulation of strategies, policies & implementation procedures in digital payments at the private sector agribusiness level.
· Working knowledge of agribusiness supply chain distribution, financial & logistics implementation & current developments including innovative information delivery methods (e.g. learning platforms, information exchange, etc.) and payments (e.g., mobile financial services, pre-paid cards, etc.) essential. Specific experience in the cocoa sector an added advantage.
· Detailed and knowledgeable about the Ghana payments landscape, including topical issues and digital payments regulatory environment; and
· Understanding of issues related to financial inclusion.
· Fluency (full working proficiency) in English and local languages (e.g Twi, Fanti) will be an added advantage.
· Working knowledge of current developments in payment tech & platforms, including innovative payment methods (e.g., mobile financial services, pre-paid/reloadable/other cards, etc.).
· Solid skills in agribusiness supply chain distribution, financial and logistics implementation, and analysis. Specific experience in the cocoa sector a plus.
· Good network with financial service providers and other digital financial services ecosystem. A focus on agribusiness and rural areas an added advantage.
· Understanding of key issues and international good practice relating to financial inclusion, and digital financial services consumer protection issues.
· Excellent presentation and representation skills in multicultural contexts; and,
· Ability to translate complex technical ideas to a non-technical audience verbally & in writing.
ocoa farmers in West Africa.