Research on Public Policy Development in sub-Saharan Africa

Terms of Reference

May 2021

The deadline for project submissions has been extended to Friday 9th July, 2021, 23:59 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

1. The Consultancy

The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) wishes to identify and contract individual consultants or consultancy firms to carry out research on two separate projects, which address key topics of public policy development in sub-Saharan Africa. This call is to identify consultants for each project examining 1) Innovation in the Public Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and 2) Emerging Women Leaders in Africa’s Public Sector. Informed by quantitative and qualitative data, researchers and teams will be required to develop a paper with findings comparable across Sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Background

2.1 Canadian Bureau for International Education

The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes international education in Canada and abroad. CBIE is the national voice advancing Canadian international education by creating and mobilizing expertise, knowledge, opportunity and leadership. CBIE manages several international scholarship programs and projects, including the African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship Program.

2.2 African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship Program

The African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program (ALT) supported young African professionals to become leaders in public policy and administration. Between 2015 and 2019, the ALT Scholarship Program offered 114 full scholarships based on merit to women and men from 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to pursue a Master’s degree in public administration, public policy or public finance in Canada. Jointly funded by the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada and the Mastercard Foundation, CBIE managed the program in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and in collaboration with the African Association of Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) and the Canadian Association for Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA). A series of initiatives as part of an extension program for 2021, including knowledge mobilization, intends to maximize the impact of the ALT program. To amplify the experience of the ALT program and contribute to the growing body of knowledge of public policy development on the African continent, CBIE is commissioning the following two studies to address issues that returning scholars have encountered in sub-Saharan Africa.

2.2.1 Innovation in the Public Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper will address the concerns of some alumni who feel that they are unable to innovate due to environments that do not fully foster and support innovation nor offer spaces to make tangible recommendations to African governments. The research will identify the drivers and barriers to innovation and include examples of innovation where civil society organizations engage with government in developing/ implementing policies.

2.2.2 Emerging Women Leaders in Africa’s Public Sector

As the ALT program strived for gender equality and mainstreaming in the public sector, this paper will gather qualitative and quantitative data about women’s leadership roles in the public sector in Africa, identify barriers and drivers to women’s engagement in the public sector and develop recommendations for supporting emerging women leaders in Africa’s public sector. The experiences of female ALT alumni will be brought into the study – both examples where women have been able to exercise their leadership role and examples where women have encountered barriers in taking on a leadership role.

3. Purpose and Scope

The purpose of these two research projects is to:

  • Support the generation of knowledge on the above-mentioned topics;
  • Develop generalizable, cross-national learning based on this knowledge by producing a well-written and comprehensive paper that provides insights and practical recommendations. The research should support the dissemination of results for academic and non-academic audiences; and
  • Engage with the ALT alumni community to amplify their voices and ensure that recommendations and outputs are accessible and relevant to this group.

4. Research method

The scope of research requires the consultant to employ sound qualitative and quantitative research approaches that should include, but be not limited to:

  • A review of relevant documents and published literature including (but not limited to) recent research funded by IPAC and/or AAPAM;
  • Surveys, interviews, or focus group discussions with ALT alumni; and
  • Adherence to general research design, sample selection, data management and analysis that is in accordance with the highest ethical standards. When relevant, consultants will need to obtain approval from any country-specific institutional or research ethics body.

5. Deliverables

The deliverables under each contract are as follows:

  • A work plan to include a thorough understanding of the assignment including a preliminary overview of Public Policy Development in sub-Saharan Africa and a detailed plan of how the research is to be accomplished;
  • A draft report, in Word, to include initial findings, problems encountered and a strategy for completing the work;
  • A final report, in Word, of 20 pages in length, for presentation to CBIE, to include:
    • key findings and analysis;
    • discussion of findings and conclusions; and
    • recommendations.

Consultant(s) are advised to ensure that their paper:

  • Generates new knowledge and content that can lead to developing practical guidelines or possible solutions to challenges encountered in the field of Public Administration and Management in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Considers perspectives from different regions of sub-Saharan Africa; and
  • Contains, as far as possible, feedback gathered from ALT alumni as well as implications for public sector managers and administrators.

CBIE will provide the consultant(s) with data on the ALT community in support of the work.

6. Schedule and Timeline

The contract is expected to begin by July 30, 2021 and conclude by October 8, 2021.

Work plan By 13 August 2021
Draft report By 13 September 2021
Final report By 4 October 2021

7. Budget

Each project will be funded for a maximum of $20,000 CAD (inclusive). The successful Consultant should develop a budget for completing the milestones as outlined in these Terms of Reference by clearly allocating expenses and daily rate.

Payment Schedule

  • Upon approval of work plan – 30%
  • Upon submission of draft report – 30%
  • Upon submission of final report – 40%

Payments will be disbursed within 30 days upon receipt of an invoice and submission of related deliverables.

8. Application Process

Deadline (revised): Friday 9th July 2021, 23:59 EDT

Successful applicants for each project can expect to be notified within three weeks of the deadline.

Submissions of proposals should be made to Please use the subject: ALT Research in sub-Saharan Africa

Submissions of no more than five pages, not including team CVs, (single spaced, 12 point font and 0.5” margins) should provide:

  • Names and CVs of lead consultant(s) including qualifications and relevant experience in providing the kind of research required. Each CV should be two pages or less.
  • A summary of your/your company/firm’s experience in providing the kind of analysis called for in these Terms of Reference.
  • A description of how you/your firm intend to fulfil the services within the suggested timeline.
  • A detailed financial proposal, including both professional fees and any reimbursable expenses.

Proposals will be accepted in English or in French.

9. Evaluation of Research Proposals

Research proposals will be judged by a minimum of two external reviewers on the basis of set criteria that will include the:

  • Potential of the proposed research study to contribute to the overall aims of the research project and advancing knowledge in this area;
  • Quality of the research proposal in terms of demonstrating an understanding of the topic, and an understanding of the barriers encountered in the public sector in Africa;
  • Qualifications and experience of the research team in this subject area;
  • Feasibility of proposed study over a two-month duration to implement the research (from the development of the work plan to the submission of the final report); and
  • Maximization of input from ALT alumni.

Notes for applicants:

  • CBIE may, at any time before the closing date, for any reason, whether on its own initiative or in response to a clarification requested by a (prospective) applicant, modify the terms of reference by written amendment. Please refer to for updates.
  • All prospective applicants that have submitted a proposal will be notified in writing of all amendments to the terms of reference and will, where applicable, be invited to amend their submission accordingly.

10. Intellectual Property

All documents produced and materials provided by CBIE (including alumni data) to the consultant, as part of the consultancy shall remain the property of CBIE. Ownership and copyright of all data, drafts and final products will be the sole and exclusive property of CBIE, subject to its contractual agreements with Global Affairs Canada and the MasterCard Foundation.

11. Contact

Questions can be directed to Catherine Wilde, CBIE at