Terms of Reference

Title: Market Research Consultant
Purpose: Conducting market research on renewable energy in developing economies, in particular sub-Saharan Africa
Department: Innovation Unit
Location: Flexible location
Start Date: Immediate
Duration: 3 months
Reporting to: Co-lead, Innovation Unit


Lack of access to safe, clean and affordable energy is a main barrier to providing health, education, protection and other critical services to children, especially in rural and marginalized communities.  Energy access is an issue of public health, poverty reduction and sustainable development, where technology or investment alone cannot solve for the challenge.  Extending energy access to bottom-of-pyramid (usually rural) markets requires an integrated strategy on electrification and community engagement from the household to policy levels.  Presently, there is limited evidence for proven business models that extend off-grid electrification sustainably and at scale.

The market research would provide insight on renewable energy in emerging markets, and contribute to UNICEF Innovation’s strategy and work in extending equitable access to information and infrastructure for the most vulnerable children and their families.


Conducting market research for UNICEF and partners on renewable energy in developing economies, in particular sub-Saharan Africa, in consultation with Partnerships Division, Climate and Environment team, Innovation Unit and other stakeholders in the organization.

Specific Tasks

  1. Desk review of previous market research on renewable energy, especially pertaining to access and impact on children
  2. Undertake interviews and consultations with stakeholders, including UNICEF issue area experts, programme specialists, external scholars, industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors etc.
  3. Present first and second drafts (approximately 10-20 pages each) to supervisor and/or the advisory committee, compile comments and feedback
  4. Compile a comprehensive market analysis report (approximately 20-30 pages) based on feedback received through wide consultations
  5. Communicate weekly with supervisor providing regular progress reports and responding to information requests


The research should provide facts, data and assessments to (not limited to) the following areas:

  • Overview: introduce basic information including definition, application, industry chain structure, policy environment, and global industry overview
  • Market size and segmentation: provide data on market and segmentation by
    • Type of clients (residential and commercial, grid-connected and off-grid)
    • Type of clients by income levels (deep dive): for example, less than $1/day, $1 – $3/day, $3 – $5/day etc., as well as their geographic distributions
    • Technology
    • Application (health, education, income generation activities etc.)
  • Industry value chain: provide information on suppliers, distributors, buyers and consumers
  • In-depth analysis on renewable energy industry, with a focus on emerging markets in the sub-Saharan region. Research should include, but not limited to:
    • Current sources of financing
    • Competitive landscape
    • Capacity
    • Production
    • Cost
    • Price
    • Profit
    • Production value
    • Gross margin
    • R&D status
    • Other relevant areas
  • Country profiles: create 10-15 country profiles from all continents and regions, that are representative of different types of markets. Each country profiles should include
    • Regulatory considerations within each national market: the presence/absence of policy incentives; laws, taxes or tax credits which might effect legal structures, project economics or the ability to offer certain products/services
    • Baseline metrics: willingness to pay (volume of service and monetary amount), current sources/uses of energy (particularly lighting), current usage amount, quality and quantity of current products/services used
    • Extant distribution channels: current customer reach and the capability distribute additional products
  • Market leaders profiles: create global, regional and local market leader profiles, including products, technology, pricing, target users, contacts and other relevant information
  • Investment feasibility and investment return: provide preliminary analysis on the feasibility and return for different types of UNICEF’s engagement and/or investment in renewable energy projects
  • Market trend: provide analysis and forecast on market trends on the 3-5 year horizon, including growth rate, high-potential regions, technology advancements etc.
  • Recommendations: provide informed recommendations to UNICEF Innovation’s future strategy in promoting equitable access to energy
  • Annex: related research, industry associations and major publications.

Expected Deliverables

  1. Proposed work plan
  2. First draft
  3. Compilation of feedback from consultations
  4. Second draft
  5. Final report

Qualifications and Competencies of Successful Candidate

Qualifications and experiences

  • Academic Qualifications in social sciences or in a related field such as market research, operational research, renewable energy, business, development, children or social research.
  • Good qualitative and quantitative research skills including experience in conducting community-based processes and/or research on social issues (Essential).
  • Experience conducting research specifically on child protection would be desirable.
  • Familiarity with the renewable energy industry and experience in sub-Saharan Africa would be desirable.
  • Excellent knowledge of English (knowledge of an additional language a plus).
  • Experience in computer data entry for research analysis is recommended.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people of various professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

How to Apply
Qualified candidates are requested to submit:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Monthly rate in US dollars (applications without this information will not be considered)
  3. CV
  4. P-11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.html

The above information should be submitted to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with subject line “Renewable Energy Market Research” by 24 August, 2015.