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With support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Aid for Trade Fund, The Asia Foundation (TAF) is undertaking a year-long project to help develop e-commerce and e-trade in Lao PDR. The project aims to address the enabling environment and capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to engage in e-commerce through targeted assistance, technology solutions, and effective policy development.

Following a series of online meetings throughout held from late March until early June 2020 with representatives of Lao-based MSMEs primarily in the handicraft and food and agriculture sector, together with participants from logistics and technology-based businesses, a number of possible solutions to e-commerce bottlenecks were generated. These solutions were primarily focused on education, logistics, digital payments, and policy/information dissemination.

The following Scope of Work (SoW) addresses the digital payments stream of these discussions.

Overall goal:

The overall goal of this SoW is to explore and map what MSMEs across Lao PDR are already doing in relation to digital payments: how they are transacting with local and overseas consumers when engaging in e-commerce, what forms of payment they are accepting, and the particular challenges they are facing in receiving and managing digital payments. It also aims to identify what the private sector, banks, and development partners are already doing to address digital payment challenges, and to briefly explore the solutions reached in other ASEAN economies, with a particular focus on payment aggregation.

The overall goal of this stream is to gather information and make recommendations that can assist MSMEs as well as government stakeholders, such as the Online Payment Systems Department of the Bank of Laos, in accelerating the country’s progress in accessible digital payment solutions that can drive the e-commerce participation of MSMEs throughout Lao PDR.

Key objectives:

OBJECTIVE 1:    To create a map and assessment of the full range of payment solutions currently used by MSMEs in Lao PDR when transacting with both local and overseas customers.

OBJECTIVE 2:     To identify and understand what the Lao PDR private sector, banks, and development partners are currently doing, and are planning in the near-term, to facilitate MSMEs to receive payments from local and overseas customers.

OBJECTIVE 3:    To identify solutions adopted by other ASEAN economies to increase accessibility and ease of use of digital payment solutions, particularly in regard to digital payment aggregation and settlement.

Scope of Work:


1.     Interview a range of Lao-based MSMEs across the country to better understand the variety of payment solutions currently being used to transact with both local and overseas customers. This should include not only digital or online Point of Sale platforms, but approaches related to currency conversion and local and international banking.

2.     Develop a comprehensive map of the current payment solutions being offered or used in Lao PDR (both domestic and international payment methods), with commentary on their ease of use / feasibility for MSMEs.   

3.     Conduct a brief review of private sector, government, and non-government initiatives currently being carried out in Lao PDR to promote or develop e-commerce payment solutions for use by local and overseas consumers. The survey would include initiatives currently being driven by companies and banks as well as development partners (e.g. UN agencies, GIZ, World Bank/IFC).

4.     Produce a report highlighting the range of initiatives, as well as potential gaps. This should include:

a.       A review of the relevant current government regulations, and discussion of how these regulations support or inhibit accessibility of digital payments for Lao MSMEs.

b.       A brief discussion of successful digital payment solutions, including regulatory approaches, in neighboring ASEAN economies, which might hold lessons for Lao PDR.

c.       Recommendations for future action on digital payment solutions, with an emphasis on making digital payments more inclusive and accessible for Lao MSMEs, which can form the basis of further discussions with policymakers, regulatory bodies, banks, and the private sector.

5.     Provide a brief written summary of findings in English and in Lao language for TAF to share with the donor and stakeholders.

Candidate Qualifications:

The successful candidate(s) should have capabilities in Lao and English language, be familiar with the e-commerce landscape in Lao PDR, as well as advanced education or equivalent experience related to finance, economics, or business. Familiarity with the Lao banking sector and digital transactions a plus.

 Instructions for bidding

There is no specific format for proposals, but applications to conduct the activities should include:

-          How the applicant will develop and deliver the SoW, and the timeframe

-          Discussion of how the applicant will coordinate with others working on digital payment solutions

-          A summary of past similar work assignments, with concrete examples of deliverables

-          A listing of key team members, including their relevant background, expertise, and proposed role

-          A detailed cost proposal

Proposals should be submitted to Tamara Failor, Program Director at The Asia Foundation in Lao PDR, at: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis but should be received no later than 5 July 2020, at 11:59 pm. We encourage interested parties to submit their proposals as soon as possible. 

The Asia Foundation
TAF E-commerce Solutions - Digital Payments SoW - Final.pdf
Jun 15th 2020

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