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Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan

Consultancy Services for Khorog IT Park Pre-feasibility Study

Background

The Government of Tajikistan has made a strong commitment to foster a digital economy and innovative technology development in Tajikistan. The Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan (AKF Tjk) is one the partners of the Government in this endeavor that intends to establish an Information Technology Park (IT Park) in Khorog in Gorno-Badakhshan Autnomous Oblast (GBAO). GBAO is one of the poorest regions in Tajikistan and it is important to develop economic competitiveness to reduce its dependence on remittances and external aid. The goal of the Khorog IT Park is to catalyze active technological development of the country and crowd-in private investment in the local economy. The IT Park is expected to be a knowledge-based economic and technological development center that provides services, such as business process outsourcing, call centers, data storage and processing capacity, and over time higher valued software development services for government and private sector entities and for export.

To carry this project forward, AKF Tjk is looking to hire an individual consultant or a consulting firm to prepare a pre-feasibility study for the creation of an IT Park in Khorog. The study will cover the assessment of the current information and communications technology sector, including legal and tax incentives for private sector investments, market analysis, demand forecast and supply side analysis, and assist in determining a potential location of the IT Park site. The study will draw on global experience and lessons in developing an effective IT Park under similar conditions, couched within broader national discussions for a potential (extra-territorial) High Technology Park (HTP), currently under consideration by the Government and other stakeholders.

Recommended analyses and structure of the pre-feasibility study report:

  1. Executive Summary;
  2. Introduction – including background, rational and objectives of establishing an IT Park;
  3. Assessment of information and communications technology environment in Khorog – including a) exploring existing constraints that IT professionals/or aspiring companies/professionals face in terms of materializing their plans across the country, and specifically in GBAO; b) a review of the relevant government policies and regulations, c) stakeholders mapping, d) assessment of IT Park in Khorog, and any e) future plans;
  4. Regulatory framework – including review of regulatory framework for creation of a special tax and legal zone for an IT Park in Khorog;
  5. Site assessment – identifying a potentially suitable location for establishing IT Park, in the context of its relative market suitability, connectivity, and linkages to power, broadband internet, transport, water and other utilities and enabling factors. This analysis should assess whether there is scope/need for developing a hub and spoke model to also support additional existing or new IT facilities outside Khorog town that can be linked to the main site, to increase outreach and more inclusive access for IT entrepreneurs in GBAO.
  6. Domestic market / industry identification – including assessment of sectoral niches (e., financial, telecom, e-government, etc.) that the IT Park can offer – such as Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) like call centers and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Recommendation on which types of IT businesses to include and which to exclude.
  7. Demand side analysis – Market opportunities in Tajikistan, Central Asia region, the former Soviet Union and western counties (USA, Canada) – including assessment of the target markets and their needs (e.g., ITES, BPO), job opportunities, and talent needs of high potential employers, determination of the requirements for human resources, skills,
  8. Supply side analysis – including existing competencies of the human resource pool: a) Population demographics of GBAO – age, gender, education levels, employment, average income, type of skills/talent; b) Overview of the annual UCA/SPCE profiles, registrations and graduations, degrees / certifications; c) prospects for hiring certified and trained talent in the market; d) overview of top 5-10 staffing companies whose clients use to hire contractors / employees in Central Asia.
  9. Proposed Incentives and Services offered by the IT Park: Based on the review of the regulatory framework, best practices from the region, and the assessment of local needs, propose appropriate tax and regulatory incentives and services (e.g., taxes, space, shared support services such as accounting/legal services for IT Park residents, development and market linkages).
  10. Governance and Management of IT Park. Propose an agile and responsive governance and management structure to oversee operations of the IT Park. This might include a Supervisory Committee (Government and Industry experts), an Expert Council to guide IT Park setup and ongoing governance requirements, and an Executive structure to manage the IT Park.
  11. Operations and Sustainability: Estimated setup and operational budgets, including assessment of likely start-up capital costs, operating budget, and sources of revenues (e.g., 1% tax on IT Park residents’ revenues), that can inform options for the IT Park’s long-term sustainability.
  12. Action Plan and Timeline for Establishment.

The report must not exceed 30 pages and 30 PPT slides, excluding annexes.

Requirements for selection

The individual consultant or consultancy firm should have the following qualifications to meet the criteria for selection:

  • At least 5 years of experience and qualifications in conducting studies, research, project evaluations, surveys, analysis, with excellent reporting in both Word and Power Point formats;
  • Relevant subject-matter background (understanding of the Technology/digital Market and knowledge of opportunities and challenges especially in the Central Asia /post Soviet Union region);
  • Evidence of experience with similar assessment(s);
  • Professional expertise in analyzing data and producing high quality reports;
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to clearly synthesize and present findings;
  • Strong command of English language. Knowledge of Tajik or Russian languages is an advantage.

All evaluation related documents (e.g., technical proposal, methodology, tools, implementation plan, report) should be submitted in English. Tools for data collection should also be submitted in English.

Submission of Applications

Interested applicants are invited to e-mail an Expression of Interest (EOI) to procurement.tj@akdn.org by indicating “Pre-feasibility study for an IT park”. The EOI should provide information about and evidence of relevant experience, availability of required qualifications for completing the pre-feasibility study, address and contact details.

Closing date for submitting the EOI is 17:30 P.M., 7 June 2021 Tajikistan time (GMT +5).

Please note that AKF gives equal opportunities to all applicants; however, only the most qualified candidates will be invited for obtaining the full assignment package for detailed proposal development. AKF Tajikistan selection procedures reflect its commitment to equal opportunity, safeguarding of children from abuse and zero tolerance of sexual harassment.

This invitation does not impose an appropriate volume of civil obligations on the Aga Khan Foundation. The Aga Khan Foundation reserves the right to accept any EOI, as well as to refuse all EOI at any time before the conclusion of the commencements of further steps and does not bear any responsibility to the applicants who could be damaged by such action, as well as any obligations under their informing about the reasons for such actions. All costs for the preparation of EOI for participation in the tender are not reimbursed.

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