Preparing an Expression of Interest (EOI)
This business guide was prepared with contributions from the Offices of Liaison with International Financial Institutions (OLIFI), located in Washington, Abidjan, Manila, Bridgetown, and the Canadian Executive Directors Offices at the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This guide summarizes the best practices for preparing an expression of interest (EOI)1 for an assignment financed by the multilateral development banks (the "Banks").
The Banks' main objective in advertising requests for expressions of interest (EOIs) is to inform as many eligible consultants as possible about a consulting opportunity under a Bank-financed assignment. Conversely, 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 capacity, managerial organization, qualifications relevant to the field of the assignment (e.g., previous work with Banks, sector expertise or, country/regional experience), key staff and local partners. Unlike the more formal proposal review process, an EOI is not evaluated according to a points-based system and an EOI is not expected to be a detailed bid or proposition.
It is important to know as much about the assignment as possible prior to preparing the EOI. Firms should regularly monitor the pipelines and monthly operational summaries of the Banks 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 Banks' 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 local partners.
Detailed information for a specific project is available through the various documents that the Banks prepare and publish on their respective websites, before project approval:
- The African Development Bank (AfDB) publishes project descriptions in the AfDB Business Bulletin and through their Project Portfolio database.
- The Asian Development Bank (AsDB)'s Business Opportunities section, provides summary information on new and proposed projects, and procurement notices related to project and technical assistance activities.
- The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) lists approved projects in the Projects section of its website.
- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) publishes Project Summary Documents for each project before Board approval. Procurement notices and pipeline information is also available through the Procurement section of the EBRD website.
- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides similar information through the Project Gateway and Project Procurement sections of its website, including project concept documents and procurement plans with detailed budget estimates.
- The World Bank publishes project information documents (PIDs) and project appraisal documents (PADs) on their Project Database. The PAD contains the project's procurement plan which details the expected consulting work and provides an estimated budget.
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 of 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 Bank 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 included in the proposal. (Note: For proposals, only in exceptional circumstances can the team in the proposal 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 Banks may also request a brief summary of present project commitments in order 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 in order 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 of the relevant information from Bank 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 Bank 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 a sufficient number of 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. Late EOIs will not be accepted.
Follow-up: Contact the executing agency to confirm receipt of the EOI.
Canadian Government Contacts
Offices of Liaison with International Financial Institutions (OLIFIs)
OLIFI Washington, Canadian Embassy, Washington
OLIFI Bridgetown, High Commission of Canada to Barbados
OLIFI Manila, Embassy of Canada to the Philippines
OLIFI Abidjan, Embassy of Canada to Côte d'Ivoire
Useful Internet Sites
- African Development Bank
- Asian Development Bank
- Caribbean Development Bank
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- Inter-American Development Bank
- World Bank Group
1 The Caribbean Development Bank may use the term 'Statement of Capability' instead of Expression of Interest.
- Date Modified: