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EFInA COVID-19 Grant Request for Proposals

November 30, 2020

EFInA COVID-19 Grant Request for Proposals: Supporting solutions that can mitigate the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 on the low-income population in Nigeria

EFInA is pleased to announce its tenth request for proposals (RFP 10) for the COVID-19 Grant. This grant will focus on supporting solutions that can mitigate the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 on low-income individuals/households (defined as those earning N50,000 or less per month) and MSMEs in Nigeria. The objective of the EFInA COVID-19 Grant is to support the scale of financial service-enabled solutions that enable immediate access to liquidity, healthcare and food, and EFInA will dedicate a fund size of £2 million to achieve this, with an individual grant range of £50,000-500,000.

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely had a detrimental effect on households and businesses across Nigeria. However, the pandemic did come with some positives; NIBSS’ June 2020 transaction data reflected a 400% Year on Year growth in digital transactions during the COVID-19 lockdown, as people were forced to observe social distancing. Consequently, we are exploring ways to leverage this digital adoption trend to solve some of the most pressing needs of low-income households and individuals (particularly women and children) and MSMEs.


The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic had negative implications on the Nigerian economy, including disruption in supply chains, loss of jobs and bankruptcy as general activity was affected by limited mobility. The pressing needs we aim to address with this grant are:

  1. Liquidity:

Nigerian households and businesses experienced decreased incomes because of market closures, travel restrictions, and reduction in demand due to the pandemic. In recent studies, Nigerian households have reported that their total income decreased compared to the same period a year ago, with this decrease evident across the three main sources of income (wages, agriculture, and non-farm enterprise). The majority of MSMEs surveyed have also reported the pandemic’s negative impact on their cashflows, sales and, consequently, revenues.

  1. Healthcare:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, measures of healthcare access in Nigeria remained below international benchmarks, contributing to dire health outcomes such as 1 in 8 Nigerian children not surviving to age 5. The pandemic may exacerbate preventable diseases and child and maternal deaths, as routine public health measures are likely to be interrupted due to people’s fear of attending health services during the pandemic, as well as shortages of supplies and personnel. Since the start of the pandemic, about half of Nigerian adults have reported experiencing price increases in medicines, with some Nigerian adults reporting that they are unable to access required medicines at all.

  1. Food:

According to recent surveys, one of the most widely experienced shocks in Nigeria continues to increase in the prices of major food items consumed. Approximately two-thirds of Nigerian households experienced food insecurity as of August. Since the pandemic began, farmers have reported higher prices of farming inputs and difficulty selling livestock or crops, presenting a risk of future food shortages if farmers are not able to invest in planting.

What is EFInA looking for?

Focus area: Financial service-enabled solutions that extend immediate access to liquidity, healthcare and food to low-income households/individuals and MSMEs following the emergence of COVID-19.  These solutions need to have the potential to be scaled out to multiple regions of Nigeria.

Thematic Areas: the thematic areas cut across the three most pressing needs of our target demographic (defined as those earning N50,000 or less per month):

  • Thematic Area 1: Access to Liquidity

Leveraging platforms and innovative models to facilitate electronic payments, enable income-earning opportunities, provide access to credit, and/or provide investment opportunities to low-income households and MSMEs.

  • Thematic Area 2: Access to Healthcare

Developing innovative ways to leverage financial service-enabled solutions to drive access to healthcare to low-income households and individuals, including solutions that can open access for women and children.

  • Thematic Area 3: Access to Food

Developing innovative ways to leverage financial service-enabled solutions to drive access to food for families in the low-income demographic.

COVID-19 grant details

  1. The duration of the COVID-19 Grant is a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years
  2. The individual grant range is £50,000-500,000.
  3. Applicants must have, or partner with an organisation that has, a track record of success for providing digital financial services
  4. Applicants must provide a strong business case that demonstrates how the proposed solutions meet the immediate needs of the low-income population (defined as those earning N50,000 or less per month) and/or MSMEs
  5. Applicants must demonstrate the gender inclusivity of their product design and customer acquisition plans
  6. Applicants must indicate that they have the capacity to implement the proposed project and demonstrate impact within 6 months
  7. In addition to immediate impact, proposed solutions must have the potential for long term impact and sustainability

Who can apply?

  • Eligible organisations are companies in Nigeria offering innovative financial service solutions (primary applicant or partner applicant)
  • Applicants must be legally incorporated within Nigeria
  • Applicants must have the capacity to implement the proposed project for the applied funding and evidence that the business is viable
  • All proposals need to demonstrate a clear path between EFInA grant funding and the proposed impact. All solutions proposed must be scalable.
  • All solutions proposed should show a clear path to sustainability following the completion of the grant project

N.B.: Applicants may be requested to provide guarantors to provide a formal assurance that all project conditions agreed by EFInA and the applicant will be fulfilled

Use of Funds

Eligible Expenditure
EFInA grant funding can be used to cover the costs of:

  • Technical assistance or special consultancy support
  • Training of agents/solution delivery personnel
  • Scaling the deployment of products/services
  • Market awareness campaigns and advertising expenses that are directly related to the project being funded
Non-Eligible Expenditure
EFInA funds CANNOT be used for:

  • Subsidising the organisation’s general operations and staff-related costs
  • On-lending to customers
  • Office relocation, branch infrastructure, general fixed assets
  • Advertising and marketing expenses related to other ongoing projects in the organisation
  • Obtaining a business operations license
  • Acquiring an equity stake in a new or existing business
  • Developing products, including the design, development and testing of concept or product features

How to apply?

All applicants must complete and submit the COVID-19 Grant application form AND financial work plan. Please access the COVID-19 Grant application form and financial workplan in the links below.

The completed grant application form and workplan, along with all required documentation, should be submitted to the EFInA Grants Team at by 5pm on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. EFInA will notify all applicants of the outcome of their applications by Monday, March 1, 2021.

EFInA hosted a Launch webinar for the COVID-19 Fund on Dec 8th to officially announce our request for proposals. Please click this link to access the presentation made at the launch webinar. You may use this link to access the recording for the webinar.

EFInA also hosted a Q&A session for the COVID-19 Fund on Dec 17th to address questions applicants had and guide them through the COVID-19 Fund application process. Please click this link to access the recordings of the webinar.

Download COVID Grant Application Form
Download EFInA-Financial-Workplan-COVID Grant Template
Download EFInA RFP 10 – Evaluation Criteria
Q&A from COVID-19 Fund Launch
EFInA COVID-19 Fund Launch Presentation



Data Sources:
Impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian MSMEs’ study
Nigerian COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS)

Follow our journey on promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria.

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