October 26, 2022 - Reference Group Meeting


Summary Note

Summary Note

Date: October 26th, 2022

PPT Deck


This is a summary note of the Marketplace Reference Group meeting that took place on Wednesday October 26th, 2022.

 This second meeting followed the subsequent agenda points: (1) a quick recap on the objective of the Marketplace Research (Phase 1&2), and Reference Group; (2) an overview of the key feedback and research gaps/recommendations received from the Reference Group members during the kick-off meeting that was held in August; (3) a guest speaker from Nigeria’s Anambra State ICT Agency to share firsthand about their pain-points and digital needs from a government angle, and; (4) an interactive deep-dive discussion session on Phase 2 of the Marketplace research findings and the Marketplace features being prioritized (RFP Radar, Vendor Storefront, and the Comparison Tool).

See this PPT deck to review the content that was presented by the Digital Impact Alliance research team.  This meeting went well with the reference group members raising very crucial questions and providing dynamic feedback. The members were immensely helpful in validating some of DIAL’s research findings, but also challenged certain findings. Section 3 below list the discussion points raised during this meeting.

Guest Speaker Spotlight – Government Angle: Anambra State ICT Agency

Moving forward, DIAL plans to invite relevant guest speakers to share firsthand with the Reference Group, their pain-points in the digital ecosystem and how the Marketplace platform could be a useful tool for them.

  • Feedback from one of the Reference Group members: for other future guest speakers, it would also be great if they would present on what they are doing to create more open opportunities / levelling the playing field for digital public goods when they're planning digital data and technology programs and projects (showing how reused is prioritized before more traditional buy / build decision-making criteria).

For this first guest speaker spotlight, Sunday Folayan, the Technical Assistant to the Managing Director/Chief Executive at Anambra State ICT Agency presented during this session. Here is the PPT deck and the roadmap diagram he presented on the ICT Agency’s objective, pain-points and e-government priority areas. Below is a quick recap of the discussion points:

  • Anambra State ICT Agency follows a citizen-centered approach to government digital transformation.

  • They conduct in-depth analyses of the technology needs and gaps in the state and then assess internally if they have the capacity and resources to address them.

    • Feasible solutions to address these challenges are then outlined in a request for proposal – which is then advertised through their Bureau of Public Procurement.

    • As government resources are limited to finance these digital solutions on their own, the ICT agency prioritizes Public Private Partnerships and the use of functional and effective technology.

  • Key challenges and pain-points for Anambra State include limited operational computers within their agency (<200 operational computer), capacity upskilling needs in digital technology for government staff, and internet connectivity issues across Anambra.

    • Anambra State is landlocked, and they do not have fiber internet connectivity via the shore as in Lagos State or any of the other states that have coastal landings.

      • They depend on cable sharing with nearby states.

      • They prioritize digital solutions that support better internet connectivity and bandwidth. I.e., public Wi-Fi system that is available in hospitals, markets, convention centers.

  • A key mandate for the state is to build their digital ecosystem. Early October, they organized the Anambra State Tech revamp program which brought together different stakeholders active in their technology ecosystem - almost 300 people – representatives working in academia, businesses industry, blockchain experts and tech startups.

  • The objective is to build a connected community that is engaged and collaborates to bridge the digital divide and needs in the state.

  • Any Reference Group member wishing to collaborate with Anambra State or further discuss their digital development strategy, please feel free to contact Sunday Folayan directly via email at sfolayan@gmail.com and Grace Oluchi at cfa@ict.anambrastate.gov.ng

Deep Dive Discussion into the Marketplace Features

In this session, DIAL’s research team presented the research findings collected thus far in Phase 2 of the Marketplace research. During the Reference Group kickoff meeting that took place in August, the Reference Group members flagged a research gap - the need to organize in-depth consultations with procurement experts working at or with experience working with major donor agencies. This is to understand the procurement processes at these agencies, get direct feedback on the Marketplace platform to start facilitating buy-in by these donors, and discuss collaboration/ coordination method to publish their relevant tenders in the Marketplace platform.

The research team is aware that early market engagement is critical and has to be open, honest and genuine. The objective continues to be to listen to feedback from the Reference Group and incorporate them where possible.

As a result, in September and October, the research team reached out to multiple procurement experts with experience working at major donor agencies. The research team was successfully able to schedule meetings with procurment experts with experience working with the following organizations: GIZ, African Development Bank, World Bank Cameroon, KfW, African Union, UNICEF, and UNDP.

The PPT deck  provides a synthesis of the feedback and recommendations from the procurement experts. During the Reference Group meeting, the members were asked to challenge, validate, and/or share their general thoughts on the research data. Below is a summary of the feedback given by the Reference Group members. 

Vendor Storefront

Reference Group members were asked to react to the following:

  •  Should service providers pay subscription fees to access tendering opportunities – a fee that is not too high that it will restrict competition, but be enough to vet the vendors on the platform?

  • Have different categories/classes that vendors can subscribe to: basic profile creation category or pay a nominal amount to get additional services: upload up to 3-5 pages describing services they can offer, projects they have done in the past and quality assurance method (size, complexity, location and when)?

  • Should vendors list regions/countries they operate in, and specify whether they have experience with that region’s compliance laws, procurement regulations, and rules i.e., GDPR, EU public procurement rules?

  • Should we offer Storefront opportunities to independent consultants/ freelancers not affiliated with a specific company?

Feedback from Reference Group members:

  •  Having a subscription fee would lead to equity access issues. Concern with a fee is that vendors that are less financially stable due to world events causing this instability, will be left out even if they have the capacity and quality level to be included.

    • There could be a way to apply for a vendor profile that waives the subscription fee.

  • Questions were raised on what the rationale is in charging a fee (to make the Marketplace self-funding, etc.)? A subscription model feels potentially exclusionary if it's to gain access to supply opportunities... if a fee is required, perhaps base a (low) fee on revenue received following a successful award through the Marketplace.

  • An example was given around the concern of financial sustainability – on how funders are becoming less interested and able to fund digital system work. If projects/efforts do not include sustainability as a core component of the system design, it becomes very difficult (and expensive) to maintain.

    • This is an interesting twist given that that the Catalog is working mostly with open-source solutions. A vendor can be both an implementer and a contributor to core project. By tracking and awarding contributions, this can both improve strength of open-source community and show which vendors are best contributors.

  • Instead of a monetary fee, have more of a community trade – trading skills or expertise. This would lead to more community engagement on the platform.

  • Potential methods to facilitate the vetting process:

    • Have a tracking system in place with information on the success stories of these vendors – with information on the donors, funders, or development projects they have worked on.

    • The Marketplace could instead have a certification process where vendors are tested on multiple factors and then awarded a stamp of approval.  

    • Have a ‘how active’ feature could be a better way to keep track of the current active vendors. This would promote engagement rather than charging a subscription fee.

    • Most of the Reference Group members were pro listing of reference projects and anti-subscription fees to address the vetting process of the Storefront. Also having a pre-registration process could promote vendors listing reference of digital implementations.

    • Use the google search credibility to vet a vendor’s company page. Provide the option for vendors to agree in authorizing the Catalog to connect with their company, pull in and keep their data up-to-date – this would need to be funded and it could be costly for DIAL to pay.

  • Procurement is a cost and it’s embedded in cost of doing business. Serious vendors must be prepared to meet procurement cost through the platform.

  • Important to keep in mind of the very high cost it is for vendors to have to maintain yet another profile on a different platform and keeping it up-to-date - especially with a list of reference projects. The Marketplace should figure out how to automate the process and cross listing of similar vendor platforms/profiles.

RFP Radar Opportunities

Reference Group members were asked to share their thoughts on whether the RFP Radar feature should incorporate the following:

  • Host/publish RFI opportunities as well – in order for demand side actors to be able to gage interest, receive feedback on scope and map potential suppliers interested in the opportunity?

  • Provide support/guidelines to vendors that want to apply to these public tenders (through playbooks on what criteria needs to be met to apply for EU opportunities, GIZ procurement process and guidelines to use their platform, etc)?

Feedback from Reference Group members:

The members generally validated the two recommendations above. Below are the few discussion points that were raised:

  • It is important to keep in mind that sometimes procurers already have a vendor in mind for some of the RFP tenders they publish. It is very costly and time consuming for vendors (especially open-source implementers) to apply for RFPs, so ensuring those publishing RFPs in the Marketplace are genuine, fair and transparent is important.

  • Publishing tender opportunities ensures transparency and accountability is a priority for major donors. If an institution has a vendor in mind, then they use single source procurement instead of publishing a formal advertisement.

Product Comparison Tool

As part of the Comparison Tool, DIAL is developing a maturity rubric to evaluate the maturity of both open source and commercial products. The maturity rubric will be linked to the Comparison Tool. Since there was not enough time to have a discussion on this topic, the Reference Group members are asked to share their feedback on the indicators listed on slide 15 in PPT deck.

Next Steps

  • The research team will share the following:

    • Marketplace Research Phase 1 Report

    • Link to the Reference Group Confluence page

  • 3rd Reference Group meeting to take place in December. Proposed agenda points:

    • Rebranding of the Catalog/Marketplace: New name and logo

    • UX design and mockups of the Marketplace features

    • Marketing and promoting the Marketplace

    • Roadmap

 Please feel free to email the Marketplace research team with any questions or feedback you may have: sfarooqi@digitalimpactalliance.org and sjallow@digitalimpactalliance.org.

List of Attendees



Nelson T. Ajulo


Heath Arensen

Digital Impact Alliance

Wesley Brown

Digital Impact Alliance

Steve Conrad

Digital Impact Alliance

Taylor Downs


Hani Eskandar


Sunday Folayan

Anambra State ICT Agency, Nigeria

Eriol Fox

Simply Secure

Priscilla Serwaah Gyasi

Kumasi Hive &

Global Innovation Gathering

Sherman Kong

Digital Impact Alliance

Mateus Lachtermacher

Digital Impact Alliance

Rachel Lawson

Digital Impact Alliance

Nico Lueck


Angela Lungati


Stuart Mackintosh


Greg Martel



 Kingston Mame

International Project Procurement Specialist with experience working on AfDB, World Bank, AU, EU, FIDC and SADC Projects

Warren Smith


Sarah Farooqi

Digital Impact Alliance

Sainabou Jallow

Digital Impact Alliance