Water.org – Regulatory Consultant.

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Consultancy Services to be Provided

The Consultant will provide an in-depth review of the relevant regulatory requirements and constraints associated with Water.org launching its Global Credit Enhancement Facility (GCEF) in Kenya.  The GCEF represents an offshore partial guarantee offered to domestic financial institutions such as commercial banks for the sole purpose of increasing loans to water and sanitation services (WSS) sector to both households and small/medium enterprises (SMEs).


Water.org is a global nonprofit organization working to bring safe and accessible water and sanitation to the world through affordable financing.  One of the principal ways Water.org undertakes its work is via financial intermediaries.  We share our robust data with them that shows that families living in poverty are fundamentally creditworthy and, if affordable financing is made available to them, will prioritize repayments for small, affordable loans that provide them access to water and sanitation.  Having access to water and sanitation transforms their lives and enables them to use the time saved from not having to access water and sanitation for income earning activities that boost their standards of living.

Water.org has a long track record of successfully partnering with microfinance institutions focused on socially impactful lending.  However, larger financial institutions, such as commercial banks, have been reluctant to lend to households for WSS, as their business models tend to focus on lending for income generating activities, with income earned is expected to provide cashflow to repay the loans.  Commercial banks across much of the world tend to be reluctant to lend to people at the base of the pyramid (BoP) as they view people living on a few dollars a day as high risk and incapable of taking on the responsibility of making regular loan repayments.

To address this perceived risk, Water.org jointly developed the GCEF concept — a global water and sanitation services (WSS) partial guarantee facility — with International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group. The GCEF represents a $100 million partial first-loss guarantee facility with country-specific pools, which allows commercial banks and other large financial institutions to lay off a portion of the risk of portfolios of WSS loans to households and SMEs.  The initial country facility is slated to launch in mid-2021 in India, where Water.org projects that a $13 million India GCEF Country Facility will unlock $125 million in existing commercial bank capital to be deployed as household WSS loans.

To date, Water.org has partnered with six financial institutions in two phases of program work in Kenya. Of the current partners, there are two commercial banks, one microfinance bank and one is an association. In total over the past ten years, Water.org has helped over 5.5 million people and mobilized $573 million in loan capital for WSS, comprising 1.38 million individual loans. As part of our continued effort to scale up lending in WSS sector, Water.org is identifying additional ways to mobilize greater amounts of capital for households and SMEs in Kenya.  Kenyan domestic financial institutions are critical players in the financial services sector in the country and a primary channel for catalyzing blended finance mechanisms for WSS. Advancing WSS financing requires deeper engagement with the FIs to help them scale up their work in this sector, and GCEF presents this opportunity.

Initial engagement and discussions with Kenyan FIs have indicated that there is significant interest in a risk mitigation product like GCEF, and that, if the risk is reduced, there will be demand for household and SME lending for WSS in the country.  Based on this analysis, Water.org believes Kenya to be a viable market for launching a GCEF country facility, and we are now working to confirm this understanding.  We have received grant funding to support our undertaking a feasibility study of the Kenyan market from two organizations which focus on supporting sustainable growth and access to basic human needs like water and sanitation.  The first step of our feasibility assessment will be to undertake a study of the regulatory environment in Kenya regarding the use of offshore financial guarantees, to ensure that GCEF could work in Kenya from a legal and regulatory perspective.

Key Activities

To complete the proposed scope of work under the contract, the Consultant will be expected to perform the following activities:

1) Undertake a desk review of relevant Kenyan laws and regulations related to the issuance, structure, and use of offshore financial guarantees, ensuring that the analysis includes the following:

  • Financial lending regulations that affect lending for WSS and other sectors;
  • Capital control regulations which may impact the WSS sector;
  • Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) regulations, publications, circulars, and guidelines which may relate to offshore guarantees, including collateralization requirements, fees (e.g., risk sharing fees, commitment fees, etc.) and the required approval process;
  • Determination as to whether there are other policy level stakeholder (such as the Ministry of Finance or others) which may be involved in decision making related to approvals of offshore guarantees;
  • Process flow and procedures for getting all necessary approvals for an offshore guarantee, from CBK, government ministries, or any other relevant parties;
  • Regulations to determine whether there are any restrictions/considerations on the type of financial institutions that can utilize an off-shore guarantee,
  • Constraints or restrictions on the use and deployment of guarantees by financial institutions,
  • Limitations and constraints on payments to and from off-shore financial guarantee structures,
  • Foreign exchange conversion implications for and risks associated with off-share financial guarantees, and
  • Any other noteworthy or relevant information that may affect Water.org’s ability to deploy the off-shore GCEF guarantee product in Kenya.

2) Benchmarking of existing off-shore guarantees facilities utilized – both currently and previously – by financial institutions in Kenya, as well as best practices, shortcomings, and key lessons learned from the deployment and utilization of such facilities.

3) Interview up to 20 relevant stakeholders (either by telephone or video, or in person if COVID restrictions and guidance allow in person interviews to be undertaken safely) to identifying any differences between theory and practice in the deployment of offshore financial guarantees in Kenya including:

  • Identifying specific examples of how laws and regulations governing financial guarantees in Kenya have been applied in practice,
  • Diagraming the approval process GCEF will need to undergo in Kenya in order to offer an off-shore guarantee to local financial institutions, and
  • Highlighting the actual experience of both offering and utilizing offshore guarantee facilities in Kenya.

Water.org and the consultant will jointly identify and prioritize the stakeholders to be interviewed following the completion of Activities 1 and 2 that may include the following:

  • Regulatory agencies
  • Financial institutions
  • Local offices of development banks and donor agencies
  • Foundations

Key Outcomes and Deliverables

As part of this contract, the Consultant will be expected to produce – in coordination with Water.org’s Global Investors team – the following:

1) An interim draft report following the completion of Activities 1 and 2 that will include the following:

  • A full analysis of Kenyan laws and regulations governing the use of offshore financial guarantees, relevant bank regulations, and requirements of the CBK related to guarantees including a diagram of the approval process that Water.org will need to undertake to receive approval for launching the GCEF in Kenya, and
  • An update of the Africa Guarantee Benchmarking Table that fills in missing data fields as well as the inclusion of additional off-shore guarantee facilities previously or currently utilized by local financial institutions.
  • Initial recommendations and advice to Water.org as to the use and appropriateness of the GCEF structure in Kenya, and specific guidance that should be considered when rolling out a GCEF country facility for Kenya.
  • Key assumptions and outstanding questions to be further clarified during Activity 3
  • Prioritized list of stakeholders to be interviewed under Activity 3
  • Interview guide to be utilized under Activity 3

The consultant will be expected to complete one (1) round of revisions to the interim report that incorporates feedback received from Water.org before this deliverable is considered final.

2) A final report following the completion of Activity 3 that update the findings of the interim draft report that includes:

  • Additional details and relevant information from stakeholder interviews that address the key assumptions and outstanding questions identified in the interim report;
  • any other relevant information uncovered as part of their analysis of financial guarantees in the Kenyan context including best practices, shortcomings, and key lessons learned from the deployment and utilization of such facilities.
  • Final recommendations to Water.org as to the use and appropriateness of the GCEF structure in Kenya, and specific guidance that should be considered when rolling out a GCEF country facility for Kenya.
  • The completed GCEF Country Facility Internal Memo.

The consultant will be expected to complete one (1) round of revisions to the final report that incorporates feedback received from Water.org before this deliverable is considered final.

Timing Considerations

Water.org expects the work under this contract to commence on or about 15 June 2021 and to be completed by no later than 31 July 2021. The contract should comprise not more than 25 days of the Consultant’s time, including writing and delivery of the final report broken down in the following manner:

  • 5 days for completing Activity 1
  • 3 days for completing Activity 2
  • 3 days for completing Interim Report including one (1) round of revisions
  • 10 days for completing Activity 3
  • 4 days for completing Final Report including one (1) round of revisions

Throughout the contract the Consultant will engage regularly (at least weekly, more often if required) with the Water.org contacts, keeping them abreast of progress and informing them promptly of any difficulties or deviations from the above timeline.


A proposed budget shall be included with the Consultant’s submission, and the final budget approval shall be fixed and not subject to negotiation. All taxes should be included in the budget.  The Consultant shall be responsible for payment of all taxes. All amounts shall be invoiced in USD. Proposed budgets should not exceed USD 12,500.

Submission of Proposals

Submissions must be typed and submitted only by email. Unless agreed upon with Water.org, no changes or corrections to a response will be allowed after the deadline. Complete proposals should be emailed to mngunjiri@water.org, copied to agithinji@water.org and mmorrison@water.org. Deadline for submitting proposals is June 10, 2021.






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