Preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI)
This guide summarizes the best practices for preparing an expression of interest (EOI or REOI) for an assignment financed by an international financial institution (IFI).
The IFIs' main objective in advertising requests for expressions of interest (EOI) is to inform as many eligible consultants as possible about a consulting opportunity under an IFI-financed assignment. However, in most instances it is the executing agency in the borrowing country that is responsible for the selection of consultants and will be initiating the requests for EOIs. Information contained in the EOI will be used to prepare a short list of the most qualified consultants that will subsequently be invited to submit a proposal for an assignment. Fundamentally important, an EOI is the key opportunity for consultants to differentiate themselves from their competitors, during the crucial early selection phase of an assignment.
The process of getting on the short list is competitive and firms should use the EOI to sell their capabilities and expertise. Submissions must address all the prequalification criteria and should be written in a clear, concise, and logical format. Contact information for the decision maker will be listed in the request. In reviewing EOIs, the main considerations are technical and managerial capacity, best qualifications, and relevant experience in the field of the assignment (e.g., previous work with IFIs, UN agencies, sector expertise or, country/regional experience). Unlike the more formal proposal review process, an EOI is not evaluated according to a points-based system but rather, whether minimum requirements for eligibility have been met. As such an EOI is not expected to be a detailed bid or proposal.
It is important to know as much about the assignment as possible prior to preparing the EOI. Firms should regularly monitor the pipeline, operational summaries, and news releases from the IFIs, to learn of upcoming projects and should contact key staff at executing agencies prior to the advertisement of requests for expressions of interest. Many of the IFIs' websites contain detailed project information including contact information for executing agencies. Firms are also advised to contact the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service through the Canadian embassy or consulate in the borrowing country, to gather project intelligence and ascertain information about potential local partners.
Detailed information for projects and EOIs are available through the various websites of the IFIs:
- African Development Bank (AfDB) publishes project descriptions in their Quarterly Operational Summaries (QOS) and on their Projects & Operations page. EOIs are available on their Request for Expression of Interest page.
- Asian Development Bank (AsDB)'s Projects & Tenders section, provides summary information on new and proposed projects, and procurement notices related to project and technical assistance activities. EOIs are available from the ADB Consultant Management System (CMS).
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) lists approved projects in the Project Map section of its website and EOIs are posted on the General Procurement Notices and the Other Procurement Notices pages.
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) publishes Project Summary Documents for each project before Board approval. Procurement notices and pipeline information is available through the Procurement notices section of the EBRD website.
- Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides similar information through the Project page and Project Procurement sections of its website, while REOIs are posted on the Bank-Executed Operational Work (BEO) and also in the Project Procurement section.
- World Bank publishes project information on their Projects & Operations page. EOIs are posted on both the RFx Now platform and the Procurement Notices page of the website.
Cover: Cover or title page, should include project title, assignment name, project loan number, firm name, logo, and contact information.
Cover Letter (content similar to an executive summary of the EOI): 1-2 page cover letter with key words in bold.
- Introductory paragraph formally referencing assignment name/number and stating the firm's interest in undertaking the assignment.
- 1-2 paragraphs introducing the firm, its primary focus of business, and its key qualifications for the assignment.
- 1-2 paragraphs highlighting relevant project experience.
- 1 paragraph highlighting, in narrative form, one or two especially qualified staff.
- 1 paragraph conveying understanding of the assignment's purpose, objectives, and development context.
- 1-2 sentences identifying associated local partner(s) or experts.
- Concluding paragraph restating why the firm should be short listed and explicitly stating the firm's interest in being on the short list.
- Signature and title of a senior officer of the firm.
Statement of Qualifications: The statement of qualifications should highlight the firm's sector-specific expertise, country/regional experience, and collaboration with a local partner(s). The length of the document will vary according to the scope of the assignment. The statement of qualifications is an opportunity to profile your company and should be detailed enough to address all the prequalification criteria without becoming a mini proposal. The following information should be included:
- General background and overview of firm
- Narrative description of the firm, size/number of employees, history, affiliates, main areas of business, and awards. The primary purpose is to sell the integrity and credibility of the firm.
- If a joint venture or consortia approach, consider separate sub-sections identifying each partner firm or member organization.
- Understanding of the assignment
- A section that describes the firm's understanding of the purpose, objective, and development context of the project as well as a brief discussion of key issues, opportunities, and challenges. Firms should also demonstrate their knowledge of the field/environment (market trends, global context, etc.).
- International experience
- Following 1-2 introductory paragraphs that summarize the firm's international experience, this section should focus on recent experience that is specifically relevant to the assignment.
- Highlight sector-specific expertise by providing a snapshot listing of previous projects that are in the same sector as the assignment. The project snapshot should include a brief description of the project and list the country, project title, dollar value, duration, and person-months associated with the assignment. It is important to demonstrate the firm's proven experience in the sector.
- Highlight the firm's country/regional and IFI/UN experience. The aim is to demonstrate that the firm can effectively conduct work in the country of the assignment (familiarity with the business culture, language, etc.). If the firm's sector-specific experience is in the same country and/or region as the assignment, then that information should be restated and expanded upon in this section. If the firm does not have sector-specific experience in the country and/or region, then this section should highlight the firm's overall experience in the country and/or region drawing as many parallels as possible to the qualifications required for the assignment.
- Consider including letters of reference in an appendix.
- Professionals and local partners
- This section should list several key staff whose experience is appropriate for the assignment. It is important to list the firm's most qualified individuals. While firms should not be misleading, the experts listed in the EOI do not have to be the same as those included in the proposal if you are invited to bid. (Note: For proposals, only in exceptional circumstances can the proposed team be changed.)
- If many experts are being included in the EOI, then it is appropriate to provide mini bios instead of complete CVs. One paragraph mini bios should summarize each expert's academic qualifications, affiliations, key country/project experience, awards, languages, and appropriate publications. If it is for an individual assignment, or if only two to three experts are required, the entire CV could be included in an appendix although mini bios that are targeted to the assignment and offer enough information for a decision to be made can be sufficient.
- In 1-2 paragraphs identify and describe local partners or local experts. When selecting local partners, it is essential to select a partner that has technical qualifications, not simply political networks. A local partner with solid technical skills will contribute to a more effective EOI and subsequent proposal.
- Financial capability and commitments
- A brief sentence or two indicating that the firm has the financial resources and management strength to execute the assignment and that the firm can provide evidence of such capacity. More detailed financial information is generally not necessary, although firms should be prepared to include this in an appendix if requested.
- Some IFIs may also request a summary of present project commitments to ascertain any potential conflicts in the timing and implementation of a project and to ensure that a firm or individual's workload will not impede their ability to undertake the assignment in question.
- It can be useful to create a 'checklist' table listing the prequalification criteria against the firm's experience and expertise to highlight that the firm has met or exceeded the key requirements.
- A brief concluding paragraph should restate the firm's interest in the assignment and indicate the contact within the firm responsible for receiving the proposal and answering any related questions.
Submission guide and tips
Research: Ensure that you have thoroughly researched all the relevant information from IFI websites and contacted the executing agency in advance to clarify any significant points.
Appearance: Make the document attractive and legible with a professional look. Logos should be used but do not include extraneous clip art or graphics that may appear unprofessional.
Language: Ensure that the EOI is written in a clear, concise, and logical format with key words in bold. The language of the EOI must be the same language as the published request for EOIs. When English is indicated as the language of submission, it can be valuable (but not required) to submit a translated version in the language of the country.
Supporting Content and Materials: Confirm that you have included relevant information pertaining to your sector-specific expertise, country/region and IFI/UN experience, key staff information (mini bios vs. CVs), and information about local partners. Brochures can be attached but should not be an alternative to writing a responsive EOI. The executing agency will make its decision based upon the written information contained in the text of the EOI.
Contact Information: Indicate the contact point within the firm for receiving subsequent correspondence and requests for proposals.
Copies: Ensure that enough copies are submitted as stated in the request for EOIs.
Submission method and delivery: Unless explicitly specified (i.e., 'electronic copy only'), submit a hardcopy and an electronic/e-mail copy as indicated in the EOI request. Ensure that your submission arrives on time. Send by registered courier or express mail and factor in potential time differences and delivery delays Firms are strongly encouraged to meet the EOI deadline, as late submissions will only be accepted on an exceptional basis.
Follow-up: Contact the executing agency to confirm receipt of the EOI.
Still have questions? Contact the appropriate member of the Development Assistance Market Support Network for support.
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