1. We have submitted our proposal. What are the next steps?
After submission of the proposal and past the deadline of 15 May, a team of evaluators will review all submissions and shortlist ideas for further engagement. IFC will revert to the project proponents with the evaluation committee’s decision as soon as practically feasible.
2. What type of funding will be provided? And is this funding contingent on other support?
Depending on the level of maturity of the idea, proposals could be considered for (1) mainstream financing utilizing IFC’s various investment instruments as appropriate or (2) early-stage project development. In both cases, IFC requirements for the evaluation of these forms of support are followed and subject to additional due diligence that will require submission of more detailed information as per IFC’s policies.
- Mainstream financing
For shortlisted ideas that are sufficiently mature for mainstream financing, IFC may enter into a detailed due diligence process. If the proposed idea/ business plan is at a stage where a financing can be structured by IFC, proponents of selected ideas will benefit from having IFC review their business plan and structure a financing solution. In such a case, all IFC requirements (i.e. as outlined in How to Apply for Financing) will have to be met. Evaluation of such proposals would follow IFC’s regular investment review processes.
- Early-stage project development
Proponents of selected ideas for early stage project development will enter into an early stage Collaboration Agreement or Co-Development Agreement, whereby IFC will consider sharing a portion of third-party costs for a specific defined study/studies or set of outputs (to be discussed and agreed). The proponents of such proposals will need to provide in-kind and cash contributions to the Project of at least an equivalent (or greater) amount.
3. Can you please clarify what IFC means by US$ 20 million in investments and how much IFC will provide vs. the project sponsor?
The total investment project size to scale up or implement the submitted idea needs to be at least US$ 20 million in order to be considered in this call for proposals. Once the project is selected for mainstream financing, a portion of the total investment (usually not exceeding 25% of the total investment project size) will be financed by IFC. The form of IFC investment will be determined based on the overall risk return profile of the project.
4. For the Mainstream Financing, does the total investment project size of US$20 million apply for both (1) Scaling up logistics infrastructure and equipment and (2) Developing technological supply chain solutions?
Yes, the total investment project size of US$20 million applies to both. However, some limited flexibility may be available on the same (upon discretion of the IFC evaluation committee).
5. Does the statement – “investment of at least $20M to scale up or implement the submitted ideas” – imply $20M per bidder or in aggregate across all bidders?
The total investment project size to scale up or implement the submitted idea needs to be at least US$ 20 million per project idea. The proposed project idea can be put forward by a single company or a consortium of companies. The Call for Proposals is not aimed at soliciting bids for vaccine distribution services. It aims at crowdsourcing innovative ideas and logistics solutions that can help address the challenge of vaccine distribution and that IFC can help roll out via project development support or direct financing.
6. How does a bidder estimate the project investment if no requirements are listed, for example, a specific country or # of vaccines/dosages required?
The Call for Proposals is not aimed at soliciting bids for vaccine distribution services. It aims at crowdsourcing innovative ideas and logistics solutions that can help address the challenge of vaccine distribution and that IFC can help roll out via project development support or direct financing. The proposing sponsor is responsible for the scope, design, development and implementation of the idea. IFC is not involved with the procurement of the vaccines nor with the procurement of the solution, both of which are the domain of the relevant governments. IFC will consider an appropriate structure for our financing support, including tenor, based on the revenues and cash flow profile of the proposed project.
It should be noted that all activities should complement, rather than overlap or duplicate, existing vaccine distribution efforts. Since the ultimate responsibility of the vaccine distribution is with national governments, the proposals should address how the proposed idea corresponds to the broad strategy of applicable governments and agencies. IFC does not provide any introductions or support in connecting the sponsor with relevant stakeholders.
7. If the IFC invests 25% of the total investment project size, does the remaining 75% need to be invested in cash by the sponsors? Can it be an In-Kind investment?
The remaining 75% will need to be financed in cash from other sources, including the Sponsors, depending on the proposed capital structure. IFC can mobilize other financiers for the project through its syndications program to provide the remaining debt financing that is needed.
8. Could you please provide a bit more detail regarding the "Early-stage project development" option, such as will this be in the form of a grant, a contract, in-kind level of effort, etc. from IFC?
The objective of early stage project development support is to qualify project ideas for mainstream financing. If the project has been selected for early-stage project development, a Collaboration or Co-Development agreement will be signed between the project sponsor and IFC. Collaboration and Co-Development are both engagements in which IFC will cost-share certain expenses and responsibilities alongside the client with the objective of assessing an opportunity, ascertaining the associated risks and then shaping a bankable project. Collaboration/ Co-development agreements involve IFC providing sweat and early capital (grant) towards the preparation (collaboration) and/or development (co-development) of an investment opportunity in exchange for the option to provide financing or receive compensation for its development efforts (form of right of first offer/refusal to provide long-term financing and be mandated as a lead arranger for the subsequent follow on financing phases). Each party would take its own decisions on whether to proceed and no exclusivity will be required in this early phase of engagement.
9. Is there a minimum project size for Early-stage project development?
The objective of early stage project development support is to qualify project ideas for mainstream financing. If a project has been selected for early-stage project development, the project is assessed not sufficiently mature to qualify for mainstream financing. Early-stage project development support will be provided to close that gap. In this regard, the project size must still be US$20 million in order to eventually qualify for mainstream financing.
10. What is the outcome IFC expects from the funding?
The objective of this call for proposals is to identify private solutions to the Covid-19 vaccine logistics challenge that require additional investment or advisory support to be successfully deployed in emerging markets.
11. Do the benefits need to be achieved within a certain timeframe?
The timeline for project implementation would need to be discussed and agreed.
12. Does IFC have any priority countries or geographical focus?
No, as long as the beneficiaries of the proposed ideas are in WBG client countries.
13. Is IFC in any active conversation with any specific government (agency) for the distribution of the vaccine?
IFC is currently not engaged in any conversation with any specific government (agency). IFC welcomes proposals to benefit any WBG client countries.
14. Does the proposal need to be approved by the government?
No approval is required at this stage.
15. Are there specific areas of need along the supply chain that have higher priority?
IFC aims to facilitate the in-country storage and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine and to support technically and financially the deployment of these private sector solutions in WBG client countries. In-country storage and distribution encompass all supply chain-related infrastructure and services from the point of entry in the country to the point of actual administration. The ideas should be proofed concepts requiring financial assistance to scale.
16. Can you clarify what you define as a proof of concept?
Within this call for proposals, the IFC defines proven concepts as projects involving technology, operations, and business model that have been proven through ongoing operations or pilots that have generated revenues, but that require additional resources to scale up or to be implemented in a different context or geography.