Request for Proposals – Consultant – Clearing agent training expert

The Alliance is looking for a specialist in customs broker training to support its projects in Zambia and Malawi.

Request for Proposals – Consultant – Clearing agent training expert

Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation/ Center for International Private Enterprise

1. Background

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) is a public-private partnership for trade-led growth, supporting governments in developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Alliance projects cut through red tape and end costly delays at borders by bringing together governments and businesses of all sizes as equal partners to deliver targeted trade reforms. The Alliance is led by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the International Chamber of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, Germany, and Denmark.

CIPE, on behalf of the Alliance, is implementing two projects to modernize the framework for the licensing for customs clearing agents (customs brokers) located in Zambia and Malawi. Because customs brokers serve as the intermediary between the Customs administration and traders, a well-functioning border relies heavily upon brokers’ knowledge, professionalism, and integrity. Both the private sector and the Governments of  Zambia and Malawi have underscored substantial concerns about the current licensing system and its negative impacts on trade.

Under current practices, some brokers can obtain licenses without proper training, proof of knowledge of applicable customs laws and requirements, demonstrated compliance with customs requirements, or even demonstrating a physical address for their business. The private sector believes that brokers often lack sufficient knowledge and expertise in clearing goods because there is no proper customs brokers framework, training, and examination in place. The Governments of Zambia and Malawi have expressed concern about the lack of knowledge and understanding of the duties and responsibilities by importers and their customs brokers.

The objective of these projects is to support Zambia and Malawi in designing and implementing modern, equitable, robust and fit-for-purpose customs broker licensing frameworks. After the completion of the project, it is expected that:

  1. Zambia and Malawi have bodies of highly qualified, trained and capable customs brokers who are able to facilitate faster clearance and transit of goods across borders, thereby boosting economic growth and reducing poverty’
  2. The respective governments have efficient and sustainable customs broker licensing frameworks; and
  3. Both countries realize full implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement Article 10.6

The Alliance launched the projects in 2019 and structured them into three distinct phases as shown below.

  1. Improving the framework – During this phase, the Alliance assessed all elements for a modern customs broker framework to create a clear roadmap for the creation of a licensing system that incorporates a training course and an examination.
  2. Development of exam and training – The new framework envisions two major parts: a training course, and (2) a subsequent compulsory examination for existing and prospective brokers. This phase developed such a training course in association with ZRA and MRA, the customs broker association(s), and the broader private sector including those outfits identified to lead training and exam implementation.
  3. Implementation of training and examination – The examination and training will be a new condition introduced into an existing established industry. The project will gradually phase them in to avoid disruption.

The project is directly supporting the implementation of Article 10.6.3 of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). This article states “[w]ith regard to the licensing of customs brokers, Members shall apply rules that are transparent and objective.”

To support the implementation of the project, CIPE wishes to contract the services of a clearing agent (customs broker) training specialist who will work closely and cooperatively with the Zambian and Malawian Revenue Authorities, the designated training institutions, the project working groups, and the Alliance team.

2. General objectives

The objective of this RFP is for the technical experts to complete three assignments as shown below. Applicants can choose to submit their proposals for one, two or all three assignments together.

Assignment 1: Optimize existing Zambia and Malawi training programs for online delivery, adding quizzes, assignments, and recorded lectures (deliverable-based),

Assignment 2: Create training materials in the areas of classification, valuation and origin (deliverables-based),

Assignment 3: Provide technical advice in the areas of customs clearing agent legislation and regulatory frameworks as needed (hourly rate).

3. Scope of services (for three assignments)

The successful candidate will be expected to conduct, as a minimum, the following activities:

  • Review all relevant documents related to the Alliance’s projects in Zambia and Malawi.
  • Participate in meetings with the project working groups in Zambia and Malawi as needed.
  • Communicate regularly with key project stakeholders including, but not limited to: Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Zambian and Malawian customs clearing agents, Zambia’s National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and Malawi Polytechnic.
  • Review existing customs broker/clearing agent courses to identify elements and best practices that could be applicable to the Alliance’s projects in Zambia and Malawi.
  • Identify and produce universal materials in the areas of classification, valuation and origin to be used in a future online self-paced course, incorporate any universally applicable materials from Zambia and Malawi courses.
  • Produce monthly report of activities.
  • Provide technical advice in the areas of customs clearing agent legislation and regulatory frameworks as needed.

3. Deliverables

Assignment 1: Optimize existing Zambia and Malawi training programs for online delivery, adding quizzes, assignments and recorded lectures (deliverable-based)

A. Inception report

Report detailing the methodology, updated work breakdown structure and updated project schedule for all project deliverables.

B. Assignment/quiz development for Zambia/Malawi training program

This deliverable provides for the development of online-optimized, country-specific assignments and quizzes for Zambia and Malawi in the topics of Customs Classification, Customs Valuation, and Customs Rules of Origin. The questions and cited answers provided in these assignments and quizzes will be unique from those already provided in the Zambia and Malawi databases as those questions are to be used for future examinations. Questions for country-specific quizzes and assignments should be based on the respective country’s HTS, regulations, trade agreements, etc. and tailored to the local context. Each topic for each country will have a minimum of 200 questions/answers/citations packaged into multiple online-ready assignments and quizzes. A total minimum of 1,200 unique question/answer/citation combinations to be produced in a minimum of 12 unique assignments and quizzes. Deliverable also includes training of trainers’ exercise focused on constructing assignments and quizzes.

C. Pre-recorded lectures: material organization & tabbing

Training course students will receive physical copies of all course reference and training materials including the respective harmonized tariff schedules, relevant federal regulations and guidelines, and preferential trade agreements. Students will also receive a set of tabs dividers to help organize materials for quick reference during the timed accreditation exam. This deliverable provides for the preparation of pre-recorded “how to” tabbing exercises to guide students through efforts to organize their own materials for Zambian and Malawian training courses.

D. Online training delivery: live lectures, q&a sessions (classification, valuation, origin)

This deliverable provides for the preparation and delivery of online live lectures and live question and answer sessions for fifteen pre-identified lessons within the topics of Customs Classification, Customs Valuation, Customs Rules of Origin topics for Zambian and Malawian training courses (Please see Annex 1 for more information).

Assignment 2: Create training materials in the areas of classification, valuation, and origin (deliverables-based)

A. International training materials for customs clearing agents

Based on the materials already developed for the clearing agent courses of Zambia and Malawi, the technical expert will produce a stand-alone, self-paced, online ready and internationally applicable training course related to classification, valuation and origin that will help potential students develop the necessary core skills and knowledge to facilitate the process of becoming a licensed customs broker or clearing agent. In addition to training materials, a total minimum of 600 unique question/answer/citation combinations to be produced.

4. Ad-hoc advisory services

Assignment 3: The selected technical expert will provide an hourly rate to be applied to ad-hoc requests for on-demand advisory services related to customs brokers/clearing agents in areas other than training including licensing, regulatory frameworks, etc.

5. Selection criteria and characteristics

The estimated duration of the assignment is 12 months.

Evaluation will be based on the following factors:

o CV and Relevant work experience of the provider (70%)
o Financial proposal (30%). The financial proposal will be made in USD and will include all expenses necessary for the implementation of the consultancy (including taxes)

6. Public official disclosures

Proposals should disclose whether any owner, senior officer or manager, or key employee of the provider is a public official or related by blood or marriage up to second-degree to a public official. “Public official” includes, a person holding a legislative, administrative, military, or judicial office for any country, an employee of a government-owned or controlled enterprise, an official of a public international organization and/or an official of a political party.

The fact that a public official is employed by or associated with an applicant will not disqualify a company from consideration, however no proposal will be considered unless it includes this information.

7. Application requirements

Candidates are requested to submit a technical and financial proposal, no longer than 5 pages long by February 25, 2022, to with the subject line “Clearing Agent Training Expert – Zambia & Malawi”. In the financial proposal, include all costs and detailed cost calculations needed to accomplish the assignment(s).

Required Skills and Experience (applies to individuals or companies):

  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Law, Economics, Business, Information Technology, or another relevant field.

Professional experience

  • Demonstrated experience in customs broker/clearing agent training development and delivery
  • Demonstrated experience working for or with revenue authorities (Customs administrations)
  • Demonstrated understanding of the customs clearing agent industry and the role and responsibilities of a customs clearing agent
  • Sound working knowledge of project management techniques, tools and software.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Experience working both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment is essential
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English


Reference Materials

Country Reference Material Page Count



Harmonized Tariff Schedule 518
Customs and Excise Act & Regulations 317
Protocols on Rules of Origin 713
Student Manual 358






Harmonized Tariff Schedule




Customs and Excise Act & 10 Codes (Air Traffic, Bonded Warehouse, Origin Preference, Customs Warehouse, Excise, General Importation, Road Importation, Industrial Rebate, Miscellaneous, Temporary importation)




Course Curriculum

Country Topic Instructor (Rnd. #1) Lesson #Slides
Zambia Tariff Classification Alliance (Consultant) INTRODUCTION TO  CLASSIFICATION, LEGAL, AND EXPLANATORY NOTES 29



Alliance (Consultant)

Clearing Agent Compliance NIPA
Entry Requirements / Processing NIPA
Rules of Origin Alliance (Consultant) RULES OF ORIGIN 38
Bonded Warehouse / In Transit Bonds NIPA
General Exemptions NIPA
Enforcement Procedures NIPA
Recordkeeping NIPA
General offences/Seizures/Fraudulent Import Document NIPA
Duty Drawback NIPA
Post Clearance Audit NIPA
Temporary Admissions NIPA
Duty Rates NIPA
Commercial Invoice Requirements NIPA
Malawi Classification Alliance (Consultant)
Valuation Alliance (Consultant)
Broker/agent compliance legislation POLYTECHNIC
Entry requirements/processing POLYTECHNIC
Rules of Origin Alliance (Consultant)
Bonded Warehouse/ In Transit Bonds POLYTECHNIC
General exemptions POLYTECHNIC
Enforcement Procedure POLYTECHNIC
Recordkeeping POLYTECHNIC
General offences/seizures/prohibit goods POLYTECHNIC
Post clearance audit POLYTECHNIC
Temporary admissions POLYTECHNIC
Commercial Invoice Requirements POLYTECHNIC