GFDRR Call for Proposals: Challenge Fund For Developing an Agricultural Risk Financing Tool for Southern Africa

Deadline: 17 June 2019

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the Centre for Disaster Protection,  and the World Bank’s Agriculture Observatory, Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program and its London Hub have launched a new Challenge Fund to support Southern African countries to develop innovative agriculture risk financing tools to help inform and support public sector policy and program decision making regarding allocation of public resources to reduce economic losses, poverty and food insecurity.

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The increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events and growing threats from plant and livestock pests/diseases threaten to undermine regional food security, poverty reduction efforts and the achievement of the SDGs.

In order to prioritize investments in resilience and preparedness to reduce agriculture losses, poverty and food insecurity, and de-risk agriculture investments, decision makers need tools that capture accurately the economic and social impact of agricultural risks. To incentivize the development of these tools, the WB is launching an innovation challenge to the community of experts aiming at building integrated systems that can leverage existing data sources, analytics & models to assess in a granular, scalable and dynamic way the various dimensions of economic impact induced by agricultural stressors.

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Scope of Work: The Challenge

Design a tool that can support public finance decisions based on an integrated approach for the management of agriculture sector risks. The tool will be based on an agricultural-focused financial model, to be used by national governments (Regional and subnational applications will also be considered) in Southern Africa (member countries of the Southern Africa Development Community – SADC) to understand and mitigate against the adverse financial impact to the public sector of extreme shocks to the agriculture sector (major hazards must include extreme weather events and second order effects on agriculture commodity price volatility and/or animal & plant diseases).  The tool should allow for macro (national, sovereign) level risk financing decisions, but more disaggregated level analysis (subnational/meso and farm/micro level) is encouraged.

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Key Principles

Three key principles should inform all grant proposals:

  • All proposals need to demonstrate a new or different approach which requires funding from the challenge fund to be developed, and the proposal should demonstrate why this could not be supported from more traditional funding sources.
  • All products and outputs should show a clear path to ultimately be operationalized on-the-ground by Southern African Governments (individually at the national level or as a block at the regional level).
  • All approaches should be scalable to other regions or countries in Sub Sharan Africa.

Thematic Areas

  • Thematic Area 1: Agricultural Financial Model for Weather Related Risks
    • Fast onset risks: sudden, unforeseen events
      • Excess rainfall and flood (riverine, flash, coastal)
      • Temperatures (high/low)
      • Wind (tornados, cyclones, etc.)
      • Hail
      • Bushfires
    • Slow onset risks: cumulative events that occur over an extended period (drought)
      • Rainfall deficit
      • High temperatures (impact in evapotranspiration)
  • Thematic Area 2: Agricultural Financial Model Animal & Plant Disease Related Risks
  • Thematic Area 3: Agricultural Financial Model for Commodity (food) Price Risk (as a secondary impact)

Funding Information

  • The winner(s) of the challenge will receive an invitation to a 2-day expert workshop in London during the month of June 2019 (travel expenses paid). The objective of the expert workshop will be to:
    • Review the proposals in detail (through oral presentations and Q&A sessions);
    • Identify opportunities for partnerships among proponents; and
    • Identify opportunities for improving key data constraints.
  • From the workshop, one or several proposals could be selected for receiving grants to develop the proposed tools in pilot country applications.  Grants are expected to range from USD 100,000 up to USD 300,000. The proposal should clearly explain and justify the requested budget.


Submitted proposals will be ranked according to the following criteria:

  • Required:
    • Present a clear strategy for developing a tool for the public sector financing of agriculture risks (following the technical specifications described above) that assess the economic impact in agriculture, poverty and food insecurity, in Thematic Area 1 described above. Priority will be given to proposal that also add second order effects on risks from Thematic Area 2 and/or 3 described above.
    • Articulation of proposed tool (solution and approach)
    • Identify existing data gaps in any of the model components (hazard, vulnerability, exposure) that pose difficulties to the development process and propose solutions to overcome them
    • Geographical focus on Southern African countries (defined by those countries members of the Southern Africa Development Community – SADC: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe).
    • Establish a clear path towards operationalizing the product on-the-ground, by choosing pilot countries (at least 2 countries within the geographical focus)
    • Demonstrate the capacity of the proposed solution to scaleup to more countries/regions
    • Meet World Bank eligibility requirements
  • Preferred:
    • Development and usage of open access data, products, tools and approaches
    • Open source technological solutions that are simple and replicable are encouraged
    • Wherever data gaps have been identified, identify and propose alternative data sources and strategies to overcome the lack of the respective datasets.
    • Projects that present a clear strategy for bridging the gap between innovation and users, including through co-productive approaches and user consultations
    • Involvement of local research or other partners in developing countries on an equal basis.
    • New partnerships to develop cross sectoral and collaborative teams (including members from the public, private, NGO and academic sectors)
    • Encouraging training and capacity development of users
    • Potential for using the tool beyond public sector (such as NGOs, banks, insurance companies, agribusinesses, etc.)
    • Ability to leverage other projects and investment to deliver greater impact

How to Apply

Applicants should send a short application form via email at the address given on the website.

For more information, visit this link.

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