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RFQ Summary

The submission period for this RFQ is now closed. We are no longer accepting applications.

RFQ Q&A Document


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Development Strategy, Planning & Management (GD SPM) team is looking to invest in an organization that will advance the quality, completeness and sustainability of geospatial data in Africa. This organization would serve as a strategic grant maker, capacity builder, and effectively coordinate with others working in mapping and data on the continent.


Geospatial data contains an innately interoperable attribute that serves to connect data from sectors and geographies to inform and improve decision making. Data producers and users alike benefit from the increased utility that comes from geospatially integrated data, systems, and tools. In many Sub-Saharan Africa countries significant gaps still need to be addressed in the quality, completeness and sustainability of geospatial data. Lack of capacity can cause countries to be slow to adopt methodologies to produce, maintain, and more importantly, benefit from robust geospatial data and analysis systems. Lack of new tools or approaches to geospatial data can inhibit many opportunities for growth and innovation. Given the rapid recent advances in data and geospatial technology, now is a critical time to invest in ensuring that Sub-Saharan Africa is mapped and has the tools to use geospatial data effectively and sustainably. Building better data systems in the long-term can contribute to more informed policy making or improved decision making to reduced inequity while in the short-term provide rapid information to prevent disasters such as large-scale epidemics.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation GD SPM team aims to provide global public goods for geospatial data with the goal to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of creating and using location-based analysis to accelerate the reduction of global inequities. We frame this work around three initiatives:

  1. Collation and creation of a complete map of Sub-Saharan Africa with the basic core geospatial data layers: road networks, settlement names & locations, key points of interest, and water bodies. Countries, stakeholders and other partners may build on these core data layers to develop enhanced contextual layers such as population estimates;
  2. Country capacity development to maintain maps through improved data gathering or sharing to ensure more integrated systems and adoption of geospatial data;
  3. Innovation pilots to provide shared-learning on how multiple types of data can be used to improve decision making.

The goal in select countries will be to collate additional development data layers in areas such as health, agriculture, and finance, which can benefit from more coordinated and efficient collection, storage and sharing practices. African expertise in local context is indispensable to the development data agenda. Now is an important time to continue our investment in geospatial data and expand country capacity so they can continue to advance evidence-based policy change on the continent.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to invest in geospatial data systems in Africa. With this investment, we are looking to grant to an organization that will:

  • Coordinate and build a network of public sector, private sector, academic institutions and governmental entities working in geospatial data systems in Africa
  • Develop mapping strategies for long-term sustainability with host countries and these networks
  • Recognize, support, and grow strong leadership in the Africa geospatial and data system space
  • Make strategic sub-grants in line with national mapping and in coordination with other grant makers and geospatial data partners in Africa
  • Effective development of geospatial data with careful attention to local circumstance and a strong integration with national level processes.
  • Wherever possible, support existing efforts rather than creating new efforts to avoid duplication
  • Promote knowledge sharing across host countries, grantees, partners
  • Engage and build a broad stakeholder set of donors to attract funding and participation

The selected grantee organization will have:

  • Proven ability to lead a diverse group of partners or organizations across countries in Africa
  • Grant making experience in Africa
  • Strong strategic ability, particularly in relation to data coordination and systems
  • Technical project management experience in Africa
  • Capacity building experience
  • Ideally be based in Africa; if headquartered elsewhere, the organization must have a strong presence and/or offices in Africa

Geospatial expertise is preferred but not required as experts could be hired as part of the investment.

Duration of grant: 5 years, starting in 2016

Location: The grantee organization will support work across Sub-Saharan Africa, so must have the ability to effectively oversee work in multiple countries.


Please submit your qualifications no later than August 5, 2016, to

**This is not a request for a full proposal or detailed implementation plan. At this time, we are requesting only your organization's qualifications to manage this project.**

Your application must:

  • Not exceed 3 pages in total
  • Provide name, title, and contact information for the primary contact at your organization
  • Include the location of all your offices in Africa; also indicate where leadership for this project would be based
  • Explain why your organization has the capabilities, expertise and commitment to achieve the objective and guidelines stated above
  • Explain how this initiative fits into your organization's mission and strategy
  • Highlight:
    • Grant-making experience in Africa; include strategic focus of the grant-making as well as total grant-making budget
    • Ability to develop and manage partnerships across a range of organizations including government, the private sector, academic institutions and NGOs.
    • Commitment and expertise in building the leadership, management, technical, financial and knowledge capacity of organizations for African development and/or health priorities
    • Expertise in African data issues and successful track record of your work in the region
    • Ability to strategically identify priorities and partners to achieve long-term goals
    • If applicable, your expertise and experience in geospatial in Africa
  • Include in Appendix:
    • Organizational budget for the past 2 years
    • Total number of employees
    • List of current active grants with a 1-2 sentence project description, grant amount and location of work for each
    • Last annual report

All communication relating to the RFQ, including questions and clarifications, should be submitted via email to: Q&A conference call will be held mid-July: date TBD.

Applications will be reviewed by a team of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation staff. You will be notified by August 15, 2016, if your organization has been selected for further consideration.

Focus Countries for Africa Mapping

Click here for the full PDF.

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leon
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia 
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