Expert in Developing Training on Export Development Strategies

Date of Publication: 
18 December 2020
Application Deadline: 
18 January 2021
Cowater International
Brief Description: 

Technical Assistance (TA) Request: Development of a training course and business guide on how to build an export development strategy

Deadline to Apply: January 18th, 2021


Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the Expert Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development (EDM) provides technical assistance to Official Development Assistance (ODA)-eligible countries to maximize the development impacts of trade and investment. Over seven years (2018-2025), EDM will invest CAD $16.5 million to support Canada’s developing country trading partners to negotiate, implement and benefit from and adapt to trade and investment agreements with Canada.

EDM is a demand-driven project that will benefit potential partners – including governments, local private sector groups and local civil society organizations – through capacity building and technical advisory support on policy reform issues that have a high potential to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and support progress in trade and investment agreement negotiations.

After 50 years of internal conflict, relative peace has brought Colombia steady economic growth. Between 2000 and 2017, GDP grew at an average annual rate of 4.3% and nearly doubled in per capita terms.  This growth can be chiefly attributed to increased security, sound macroeconomic policy and strong global demand for commodities and raw materials. However, the benefits of this growth have flowed disproportionately to the large urban centers.  The growing disparity between urban and rural socio-economic indicators has caused some observers to speak of “the two Colombias”.

To sustain economic growth and address inequality, Colombia has set out a National Development Plan, which includes commitments to: inclusive growth; a lasting peace by strengthening the regions; support for regional governance and industry associations to deliver services; entrepreneurship; formalization of the economy and labour; investment attraction; streamlining regulation; expanding tourism and trade in services (especially the “orange economy”), improve Colombia’s low productivity (31.5% of OECD average); modernize customs administration; improve logistics and further develop “single window” service to exporters.

The National Development Plan (NDP) signals a shift in Colombia’s trade strategy from an outward-looking trade negotiations agenda to a more inward-looking focus on increasing domestic competitiveness and the export performance of firms. The Government’s priority on taking advantage of existing trade agreements, instead of negotiating new ones, is a response to the decades’ long decline in the competitiveness of the domestic manufacturing sector. The proposed solution in the NDP is the prioritization of domestic economic reforms, such as the reduction of the cost of doing business and increasing business growth through customs administration and other regulatory reforms, increased transparency in government processes, and helping SMEs increase their capacity to compete domestically and take advantage of existing opportunities in international markets.

A mission to Bogota in March 2020 confirmed Colombia’s priority interest in harvesting the benefits of existing trade agreements – including the 2011 Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) – before advancing further in its trade negotiations agenda, including the Canada-Pacific Alliance FTA.  The mission identified opportunities for technical assistance to more fully implement and benefit from the CCFTA and, in so doing, strengthen Colombia’s readiness for next generation trade agreements.  Among the issues raised was the need to raise public awareness, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses, of the provisions of the CCFTA and how to benefit from the market access opportunities created by the Agreement.

Linkage to EDM Performance Measurement Framework

This technical assistance is aligned with the approved Country Needs Assessment Plan – Colombia, Mandate 3: Benefiting from / adapting to trade and investment agreements.  The specific context for this assistance is the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and strengthening the capacity of trade support organizations to assist SMEs in identifying and harvesting the opportunities created by the Agreement.

The assistance is also aligned with the EDM Performance Management Framework, Immediate Outcome 1220: Increased capacity of partner country MDAs to expand access to export-oriented economic opportunities for SMEs, particularly those led by women, indigenous or other under-represented groups.

Description of Technical Assistance Request

The Secretariat of Agriculture and Mining (SAM) of the Department (region) of Huila, Colombia, has requested expert assistance in designing training for SMEs on export development, including assessing export readiness, building an export development plan, conducting market research from publicly available information sources, identifying foreign market regulatory requirements, and locating qualified buyers, distributors or joint venture partners.

The technical expert(s) will:

  1. Design a gender-sensitive training course (in Spanish), including all related training tools (presentations, exercises, case studies, etc.), to be delivered by SAM officials to Huila SMEs;
  2. Draft a gender-sensitive business guide (in Spanish), to be used in the training delivered by SAM and as a standalone information tool;
  3. Design and deliver a gender-sensitive train-the-trainer course for SAM officials to prepare them to deliver the SME training effectively; and
  4. Ensure the equitable participation of women, Indigenous Peoples and other underrepresented groups in the training and integrate considerations related to gender equality and social inclusion within export development processes in the content of the training and guide.
  5. Integrate issues related to the environmental impacts of trade into the training and guide.

Bidders should note that similar training is provided by ProColombia, ANALDEX and other trade support organizations in Colombia.  Care should be taken to build on, rather than duplicate, existing training and to adapt the training content and approach to the local circumstances.

In view of the current travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty regarding the timing of their removal, it is expected that this project will be delivered by electronic means.  Bidders should describe their approach to remote delivery of the activities listed above.

The direct beneficiaries of the project will be SAM officials responsible for the delivery of export development training to SMEs.  The indirect beneficiaries will include the many hundreds of Huila SMEs that will receive the training and, with SAM support, increase their export revenues.

The expected and measurable results of the project will be new training to Huila SMEs, leading to increased exports.

Technical Expert Profile/Expertise Required

The technical experts(s) must demonstrate expert knowledge and extensive experience in the following areas:

  1. Export development;
  2. The design and delivery of trade promotion services to SMEs;
  3. The design and delivery of adult education, including distance learning methods;
  4. The promotion of gender equality and social inclusion, as well as the protection of the environment in trade; and
  5. The delivery of trade technical assistance in developing countries.

The EDM includes a core focus on gender and social inclusion as well as on environmental issues associated with trade activities. Successful applicants are required to research and integrate specific good and emerging practices in these areas related to the subject of the TA − partnering with other expert consultants if necessary. Any prior experience in the provision of TA on gender equality and social inclusion and environment will be viewed as a strong asset.


  • Starting date: February 2021
  • Proposed duration: 4 months


  • A detailed work plan, work schedule and budget for the delivery of activities, taking into account COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
  • Completed EDM Performance Measurement Framework template for the TA, including baseline data and targets against EDM indicators.
  • Gender-sensitive and inclusive training course material (in English and Spanish).
  • A gender-sensitive and inclusive business guide as outlined above.
  • Report on best practices of Canadian and other trade support organizations, including those related to gender equality, social inclusion, and environment within export development processes.
  • Final Narrative Report on Mandate: Due within 30 calendar days of completion of all TA activities. The report shall describe activities delivered; results achieved (versus initial expected results and baseline), including in the promotion of gender equality, social inclusion and environmental protection; lessons learned of relevance to future EDM activities; expenses incurred by the Consultant in carrying out the activities; document officials trained/participating in activities (name, gender, job title, institutional affiliation); and, include a one-page Story of Change to illustrate the change that has happened, or change that is occurring, as a result of this TA against the Immediate Outcome noted above. This report will be reviewed and approved by EDM prior to being shared with Global Affairs Canada.


For your proposal to be considered, please name your document in the following format:

4.3.1. Colombia, Last Name, First Name

(Proposals can be submitted by a single consultant or a consortium of consultants).

Your proposal should contain the following sections:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Proposal that includes the following:
    1. Describe your approach to implementing this TA, taking into account COVID related travel restrictions. Provide as much detail as possible.  (10 pages maximum)
    2. Describe your approach to ensuring that gender equality and social inclusion are considered in all aspects of the TA, including approach, content, and delivery. (2 pages maximum)
    3. Describe your approach to ensuring that environmental impacts are considered in all aspects of the TA, including approach, content, and delivery.  (1 page maximum)
    4. Outline your project management and monitoring strategy for the implementation of the activities. (2 pages maximum)
    5. Indicate all personnel who are being proposed to implement this project, their roles and responsibilities. Include all CVs of proposed personnel/experts. (3 pages maximum per CV)
    6. Provide estimated level of effort (in days) and provide consulting rates (in CAD$) for each proposed personnel and/or expert who will be implementing the project.

Please submit your proposal as a single PDF file by email to: EDM will confirm receipt of your proposal. If you have any questions, please email .  


With more than 35 years' experience, Cowater International is Canada's global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec and London, United Kingdom, Nairobi, Kenya in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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