UN-Habitat Cities Investment Facility (CIF) programme is seeking a partner to jointly create a digital platform to underpin and create greater efficiencies for the UN-Habitat’s Cities Investment Facility. The Digital Transformation Partner (DTP) partner is expected to develop a digital backbone that will improve the service provision and analytics of the CIF, and in turn ensure that early-stage urban development projects, from emerging and frontier markets, are well supported in their journey towards financial close. The digital platform is expected to be developed incrementally and iteratively during the piloting of the CIF in 2021. Interested organisations are invited to express interest and commitment to this partnership. More information on the Cities Investment Facility can be found in the CIF brochure appended.

Submissions should be in PDF format and limited to not more than 1500 words. They may include photos or other graphics, and may be presented as a slide deck.

  1. Please provide a narrative of no more than 250 words describing the basic information of your organisation:
    1. Name, location of the organisation;
    2. Description of the applying organisation: aims, business scope, special competencies.
    3. Name, title and contact details of the individual who will serve as a contact point for communication with the UN-Habitat CIF programme.
  2. Please provide a narrative of no more than 1250 words outlining why your organisation should be selected to partner with UN-Habitat, which shall cover:
    1. Understanding of the task at hand, including roles and responsibilities;
    2. Specific areas where the organisation sees collaboration opportunities: network, subject matter expertise, previous experience in the field, and any financial / in-kind contributions able to be made;
    3. A proposed business model: including projected financial and operational details, reasonable pricing strategy, implementation plan, and cost information, as well as contributions of their own investment/CSR funding;
    4. Evidence that the organisation supports the principles of the UN Global Compact.
    5. Description of team and bios of key staff
  3. Candidate organisation will be expected to submit a Statement of Commitment that will serve as the first step in engagement with UN-Habitat.
  4. Please send to: by Friday 6 November 2020.
  5. Note: More detailed information on the Cities Investment Facility, and the partnership, will be shared at a later stage to entities that meet the requirements of this Expression of Interest.

Appendix: High-Level Terms of Reference

Cities Investment Facility Digital Transformation Partner (DTP): Terms of Reference


1. Background

The Cities Investment Facility (CIF) is a multi-stakeholder initiative centred around unlocking greater capital flows to urban impact projects, by supporting their processes of ideation, design, and financing, using a series of partnership-based instruments. CIF aims to direct significant capital towards financing sustainable urban development projects that are inclusive, masterplan-integrated, and align with UN-Habitat’s existing geographical footprint, in secondary cities in frontier and emerging markets.

The Cities Investment Facility enables the flow of capital into urban impact projects by supporting the process of ideation, design, feasibility, and financial close through a series of instruments that engage city authorities, investors and other stakeholders. The instruments comprising CIF include:

  • The Cities Investment Portal (CI Portal), which allows city officials to reach out to a global audience of investors, bringing together a community of stakeholders at the ideation stage. The Portal will display information about available projects, host a grant platform, and a knowledge hub. More information at
  • The Cities Investment Advisory Platform (CIAP), an incubated initiative advising pre-feasibility and upstream project preparation and design, and bankability of projects in the CIF pipeline. SDG-impact profiles from UN-Habitat will support the work of the partner. More information at
  • The Cities Investment Vehicles (CI Vehicles), are brokers within which diverse and blended sources of capital can be pooled to finance de-risked, bankable, and sustainable urbanization projects.
  • The digitization of the Cities Investment Facility, will build up the CIF Digital Backbone Infrastructure, transforming the existing platform and tools into a more intelligent solution. The intelligent infrastructure developed by the CIF DTP should act as a mechanism through which data and successful project models can be collected and analysed by CIF, whilst also improving the security, efficiency and accuracy of the project filtering, advisory support and investor-project matchmaking processes.


2. Goals and Responsibilities

The CIF Digital Backbone will be jointly developed by UN-Habitat and an external partner. It is expected that the external partner’s responsibilities will be:

  • Design and conceptualise effective solutions for the secure management and communication of data, information, feedback, and advice, across the various elements and partners of CIF, and between client investors, client project promoters, and the CIF;
  • Design strategies to use digital technologies to develop a smart Project Origination Form to allow project promoters to submit sectoral and geographically relevant data;
  • Incrementally and iteratively develop the digital transformation strategy as the CIF is piloted, by understanding and gathering data.
  • Develop a feasible business model and mobilise funding to establish this digital infrastructure;
  • Co-implement a digital transformation of the CIF following the piloting of the facility, as appropriate.