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West African Coastal Areas Management Program Call for Innovation - World Bank Group

Updated on May 04, 2020 650 views
West African Coastal Areas Management Program Call for Innovation - World Bank Group


The World Bank Group is launching a Call for Innovation under the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA). More specifically, the call is part of the ongoing WACA Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP), a multi-country regional project that aims to support present assets and strengthen the resilience of coastal communities for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo. These six countries, covering approximately 2,200 km of coastline, have particularly vulnerable coastal areas due to erosion, flooding, and pollution, but they also have a will to properly address the unwanted consequences. The WACA Program supported these countries to develop a multi-sectoral investment planning processes, culminating in WACA Multi Sector Investment Plans (MSIPs) available on the country-pages of this website.

This Call for Innovation focuses on the issue of coastal degradation in West Africa, and in particular, addresses the impact of large commercial ports on sediment movement and coastal erosion. This Call for Innovation concerns innovative solutions for the afore-mentioned six countries as a start and may extend it to all of the 17 coastal countries that will be part of the program at a later stage. The scale and the complexity of coastal issues require an inter-disciplinary and regional approach and a level of financing and support involving many stakeholders and partners. The aim of the call is to find innovative yet feasible solutions for coastal degradation. 

Understandably, innovative solutions are often associated with technical and financial feasibility challenges. While it is important for applicants to keep this in mind, it should not discourage them from presenting very ambitious or very simple ideas. Furthermore, while the call focuses on six countries, all proposals will have to keep an integrated approach in mind and take into account the potential impact of proposed solutions on neighboring countries. 

Below are some useful links providing relevant background information:


This Call for Innovation seeks to identify innovative and feasible solutions to fight coastal erosion and flooding issues associated with the ongoing development of large commercial ports and maritime operations in West Africa, mainly for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo, but with also an outlook for the rest of the countries in West Africa. In most cases, existing ports were built with limited planning and considerations of potential exacerbation of coastal erosion. The significant threat is that this shortcoming is also occurring for designing and constructing new ports.

The scope is to identify innovations that allow to avoid, mitigate, and remediate the geomorphological and ecological impacts (i.e. coastal erosion and decline in marine ecology) associated with existing and planned commercial ports in West Africa. Proposed solutions will need to be innovative, feasible and sustainable, and may include: infrastructures to be implemented along the coast to control erosion from existing and planned new ports; infrastructures to be implemented at existing and planned new ports and lagoon systems to control water flows and sediment loads; operation and maintenance practices for existing and planned new ports; Public Private Partnerships (PPP) business models and contracting options for existing and planned new ports.


Participants could be a single entity, or a consortium made of more entities. To be eligible, an entity must be a university (public or private), a research organization (public or private), or a private enterprise (i.e. an engineering firm, a construction firm, or a consulting group). An entity can only submit one application only. Therefore, an entity that has already submitted a proposal, either alone or as part of a consortium, is not allowed to submit another proposal (either alone or as part of another consortium).


A demonstrated passion and interest in building resilience is a key ingredient to any successful application. All proposals need to address in an innovative and sustainable manner the issue of coastal erosion associated with existing and planned port infrastructures and operations in West Africa, in particular in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo. Proposed solutions may be focusing on an issue at regional level, tackle the challenges at national level, or even be applicable to all six countries. If a regional solution is chosen, it would be advantageous to explain how this could be scalable and potentially have some implications also at national level, or even for all interested countries, and show a clear path to ultimately be financed and operationalized on-the-ground.

Proposed solutions and business models will have to demonstrate a good understanding of West Africa’s coastal situation, including climate resilience, port infrastructures and operations and environmental issues associated with coastal processes, and present a strategy that would allow to address the issues of coastal erosion in a more sustainable manner.

This Call for Innovation aims to bridge the gap between innovators and port developers/owners to build sustainable and integrated costal management. Participants are requested to submit a proposal for one of the four thematic challenges listed below and for which WACA is looking for innovations. Participants need to clearly indicate in their application which of the four thematic challenges they have chosen to address. Applicants are encouraged to focus on one solution at the time. Proposal addressing two, three, or all four thematic challenges are allowed. However, proposed solutions will have to be clearly separated by thematic area.

The Call for Innovation is open to proposals around the following four thematic challenges:

  • Thematic Challenge 1. Which type of infrastructure (green, grey, or a combination of both) could be put in place to manage the impact of port development and port management on sediment movements which lead to unwanted coastal erosion? 
  • Thematic Challenge 2. Which planning measures and port and lagoon operation management practices could be taken upstream to reduce environmental impacts, coastal erosion and lagoon/canal water quality and flow management in particular?
  • Thematic Challenge 3. What new features of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) (i.e. Government Funding, Corporate or On-Balance Sheet Finance, Project Finance), business models, and contracting options could be proposed to take sustainability into account in the design and management of maritime transport related infrastructures? 
  • Thematic Challenge 4. What are examples of good global practices in ports and lagoons management and successful case studies that could be proposed to West African countries to better manage the cumulative environmental impact of existing port operations and predict consequences of future infrastructures?


To apply, download the form, fill it out and submit it via email to by July 1, 2020 (midnight Washington DC) 

When can I apply?

The call for proposal will be launched February 28, 2020 and close on July 1, 2020. This is a three-stage competition where the best ten, five, and three proposals will be chosen and will run from February 28, 2020 and be completed with a Demo Day on November 11, 2020. 

Who can apply?

Participants could be a single entity, or a consortium made or more entities. To be eligible an entity must be a university (public or private), a research organization (public or private), or a private enterprise (i.e. an engineering firm, a construction firm, or a consulting group).

What is the purpose of this competition?

This Call for Innovation is to identify innovative and feasible solutions to fight coastal erosion and flooding issues associated with the ongoing development of large commercial ports and maritime operations in West Africa.

Can I apply more than once? 

No. An entity can only submit one application.

What do I get if I win?

The top-five shortlisted competitors will be invited to present their innovation at a live and virtual audience. The top 3 Winners will be invited after the event to individual follow-up meetings with the World Bank and receive additional media coverage.

How is the selection done?

The selection will be done in three stages. The World Bank Group reviewers will assess compliance of received proposals and longlist the top ten. A panel of experts and a jury will then select the best five and three proposals respectively. The selection will be done based on these criteria: innovation;  feasibility; adaptable to national context; impact; co-benefits; and implementation readiness.

We notice that the call has a heavy stance towards engineering and infrastructure solutions. However, within thematic challenges 3 and 4 we see innovations requests on the “softer” side, nevertheless, would any innovations that are proposed within these two thematic challenges need to have a link to current or future engineering / infrastructure solutions? Our current innovation idea is not linked to coastal engineering / infrastructure solutions per se and therefore we would like to know if our idea would be eligible within this current call.

Proposals need to focus on at least one of the four thematic challenges. This means that you are most welcome to submit a proposal that addresses thematic challenge no. 3 or no. 4. You are also welcome to address both thematic challenges if you wish (no. 3 and no. 4), providing that these are clearly separated (i.e. up to three pages to describe how you would address challenge no. 3, and up to three pages to describe how would you address challenge 4).

Will the top 3 winners be invited to submit a proposal to actually execute their application? And if so, what is the available budget and time-frame for the execution of (part of) their application? The time to develop a proposal is very short, even for organisations with quite a profound background and knowledge of and experience with the Western Africa coastal erosion-related problems. These days, the submission period is additionally burden by the international health issues and their organisational consequences for everybody. Therefore, can it be considered to postpone the submission date by e.g. 14 days?

  • The top 3 winners will be individually invited to follow-up meetings with senior WBG members to discuss opportunities to make their proposals more visible. This exposure may lead to some more opportunities; however, this is not guaranteed.

  • As above, at this stage there are no certain plans for executing the winning proposals.

For this initial phase of the call, which ends on July 1, applicants are to submit only their Expression of Interest, as indicated in the WACA call for innovation webpage and also in the form to download. If your project is long-listed, you will be notified and asked to provide a Detailed Proposal describing in more details your innovative solution/s for each of the thematic challenges you have chosen in your EOI. The deadline to submit your detailed proposal is August 3, as indicted in the WACA call for innovation webpage. We believe this is sufficient time for applicants to provide the additional information required for the second phase, considering we are not seeking detailed designs. As for allowing for an extension for the first deadline (July 1) we will not allow for it since, as mentioned above, in this phase all we are only seeking an Expression of Interest with a very high-level description of the proposed solution/s. When we will notify long-listed applicants, we will also inform them if the second deadline will be postponed due to the current the international health issues.

Is there any reimbursement offered for the time spend and/or traveling costs associated with the making of the Detailed Proposal, the Demo Day and the follow-up meetings?

At this stage, the World Bank will not be paying participants for their submission of the EOI and following Detailed Proposal (for top 10 longlisted) and will not reimburse for any associated travelling costs. In terms of attending the Demo Day (for top 5 shortlisted) and follow-up meetings (for top 3 winners), the World Bank may be able to pay for the trip to the Demo Day for one representative per application in alignment with the World Bank's procedures.


This is a three-stage competition where the top 10, 5, and 3 proposals will receive different degrees of visibility and recognition, which will be tailored depending on the type and content of their proposals. In particular:

  • The top-10 Longlisted competitors will see a summary description of their proposals in a WACA Innovation Book at the end of the competition;
  • The top-5 Shortlisted competitors will be invited to present their proposal to a Demo Day, a live and virtual audience of World Bank Managers, Partners, and Investors.  Their proposals will also be presented in the WACA Innovation Book.
  • The top-3 Winners will be invited after the Demo Day to individual follow-up meetings with the World Bank, in view of having their ideas pitched at an upcoming WACA Marketplace and receive additional media coverage.


Submitted proposals will be screened in three different phases where they will be ranked according to the information requested and the following criteria:

Longlisted selection

The World Bank Group reviewers will assess the compliance (pass/no-pass) of received proposals against the requirements for Parts A-E and undertake a quantitative assessment (has met; partially met; exceeded and not met) of Part B (Description of organization/s details). The rating will be based on the following: 

  • Information showing that they are qualified in the field of the assignment;
  • Information on the technical and managerial capabilities of the firm;
  • Information on their core business and years in business; and
  • Information on the qualifications of key staff that worked on this proposal.

The reviewer will also highlight strengths and weaknesses of each proposal, focusing on the following:

  • Situation analysis (i.e. higher points to proposals that better assess current situation);
  • Feasibility challenges (i.e. higher points to proposals that better optimize or effectively enhance the existing infrastructures instead of building new ones);
  • Financing mechanisms (i.e. higher points to proposals that better assess typical PPP financing mechanisms and suggest new ones).

Based on the scoring received, the top-10 proposals will be longlisted and will be asked to submit additional details.

Shortlisted selection

A Panel of international experts will rate the longlisted proposals (in the range of 1 to 10). More details on the selection criteria for the shortlist will be disclosed at that stage of the competition. Based on the scoring received, the top-5 proposals will be shortlisted and will be asked to prepare a five-slides presentation.

Winners selection

During the Demo Day, a Jury, made up of international experts different from the Panel, will rate the presentations submitted by the five shortlisted applicants and their pitches. Criteria for the selection of the winners will be disclosed prior to the Demo- day. 

Based on the scoring, the top-3 winners will be selected. 


If your project is longlisted, you will be notified and asked to provide a Detailed Proposal describing in more details your innovative solution/s for each of the thematic challenges you have chosen in your EOI. A maximum of 10 pages is allowed per thematic challenge. This means that you may have a Detailed Proposal of up to 10 pages if one challenge was chosen, and a maximum of 20, 30, and 40 pages if in your EOI you decided to address 2, 3, and 4 thematic challenges respectively. 

Your detailed proposal may include one or more of the following information, depending on the thematic area/s you have chosen:

  • Suggested type of infrastructure that could be put in place;
  • Suggested infrastructure planning measures and port and lagoons operation management practices;
  • Suggested new features of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), business models, and contracting options;
  • Suggested examples of good global practices in ports and lagoons management and successful case studies that could be proposed to West African countries;
  • A very high-level estimate of what it would cost to implement the proposed solution;
  • A preliminary Social Impact Assessment;
  • A preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment.

If your project is shortlisted, you will need to submit a 5-slides summary presentation (you will receive a WBG template), which will be provided to the Jury before the Demo Day, and which you will use to pitch your ideas in person at the Demo Day.  Once you submit your presentation the WBG team may request additional information and coach you. You will then need to present your presentation physically at the Demo Day which will be held in Washington DC, and which will also be broadcasted live via the WACA website. You will have a 10/15-minutes session for pitching your idea to the Jury, followed by 15-minutes open session for question and answers.


The Call for Innovation is expected to be launched on February 28, 2020. Below is a summary of key dates and deadlines (all dates refer to midnight Washington DC).





Launch of the Innovation Call.

February 28, 2020



Deadline for Q&A session and opening of submission’s portal (22 business days before submission deadline).

June 1, 2020



Deadline for submitting EOIs and call closure.

July 1, 2020



Notification to longlisted candidates and request to submit Detailed Proposals.

August 3, 2020



Deadline for longlisted candidates to submit requested Detailed Proposals (20 business days after notification).

August 31, 2020



Notification to top 5 shortlisted candidates and announcement on the WACA website.

October 2, 2020



Deadline for each shortlisted idea to submit their draft 5-slides presentations and start of the coaching period (13 business days after notification).

October 21, 2020



Demo-Day in DC where shortlisted competitors will present their pitches, and Winner selection by the Jury of top-3 ideas.

November 11, 2020


Link to Application Form

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MyJobMag HR Team

This article was written and has been reviewed by our HR team.

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