Stawi Africa Regional Director

  • 6th Floor, Galana Plaza Galana Road, Kilimani P.O. Box 100657, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Full-time

Company Description

Since its launch in 2013, GDI has incubated some of the most innovative initiatives in blended finance (Convergence Finance), health (citiesRISE, EYElliance), and economic development (Partnership for Economic Inclusion, Precision Agricultural for Development). GDI takes a hands-on approach to partner with innovators in developing scalable and self-sustaining initiatives that address global problems.

Stawi Africa Overview: For East African countries to create economic opportunities for a growing population, the agriculture sector must transform from subsistence and trade to surplus and value creation. This transition requires multifaceted solutions spanning farm inputs, technology, markets, infrastructure, policy, and more. One critical and dramatically under-leveraged solution is access to finance, specifically for small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs). Agricultural SMEs have the potential to facilitate pathways out of poverty for both smallholder farmers and low-skill workers, particularly women and youth, transitioning (often from subsistence farming) into the formal economy. Yet most agricultural SMEs fail to realize this potential in large part because they lack access to finance and the capacity to manage it.

Over the past year, the Global Development Incubator (GDI) and the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) have teamed up to develop Stawi Africa. Stawi Africa is a market-based platform that seeks to mobilize $700M in private sector lending over the next five years to inclusive agricultural SMEs. It draws upon groundbreaking data to build local financial markets and unlock the potential for agricultural SMEs to strengthen local food systems. Stawi Africa will launch in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania with potential to expand to other countries in a second phase. To date, Stawi Africa has garnered support from leading bilateral and philanthropic funders, including DFID, MasterCard Foundation, Omidyar Network, Small Foundation, and USAID. Stawi Africa now seeks a highly motivated professional to join the design team in building out an operations plan, launching the initiative in January 2020, and leading its implementation in the coming years.

Job Description

Position Description:  The Regional Director will manage all launch and implementation activities for Stawi Africa in East Africa, including building and leading a growing team, selecting and supervising a facility administrator, and developing and stewarding partnerships with lenders, technical assistance providers, industry alliances, and government agencies. The Regional Director will report to the CEO of Stawi Africa and be employed by GDI Kenya, a nonprofit entity registered under Kenyan law and affiliated with GDI, Inc., a nonprofit registered in the United States.

Submission Process & Deadline: Qualified candidates are invited to submit a cover letter outlining your interest in Stawi Africa and why you would be a good fit for this role in addition to your resume using GDI’s job portal here. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until a deadline of May 31, 2019.  Applications that do not include a cover letter will not be considered. East African nationals are highly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities: The Regional Director’s responsibilities will span the following areas:

1.     Vision & Strategy (25%)

  • Work closely with the Executive Director to develop the vision and strategy for Stawi Africa and play an active role in iterating the model based on learning from implementation
  • Engage key stakeholders, including donors, the board of directors for Stawi Africa, and, once the initiative has been launched, multilateral institutions (e.g., World Bank) and national policymakers
  • Represent Stawi Africa at external events to share learning and promote data-driven approaches for mobilizing private capital to achieve development impact

 2.     Partnerships (40%)

  • Supervise the selection process and oversee a Facility Administrator to verify documentation associated with financial incentives and technical assistance
  • Manage the selection process for 15+ lenders (including commercial banks, non-bank financial institutions, and social lenders that are members of CSAF) and technical assistance providers to participate in Stawi Africa
  • Align topline objectives for the financial incentives and technical assistance (access to finance for credit-constrained SMEs, economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and enterprise employees) with operational implementation to ensure that donor funding is optimally mobilizing private capital for development impact
  • Lead design of the innovation component for Stawi Africa to promote disruptive solutions that accompany the financial incentive and technical assistance strategies already developed
  • Collaborate with stakeholders (e.g., Kenya Bankers Association, Uganda Agribusiness Alliance) to generate buy-in to Stawi Africa at the country level and position the initiative to influence policymakers in the medium-term

 3.     Senior Management (35%)

  • Build a high-performing core team (7 full-time staff in East Africa by year-end 2019 and expected growth thereafter) with emphasis on commitment to impact and learning, operational excellence, collaborative mindset, and adaptability to shifting market conditions
  • Develop systems, processes, and team culture to deliver on commitments to multiple stakeholders, including financial institutions, technical assistance providers, donors, industry alliances, data and learning partners, and national policymakers


  • Passion for mobilizing finance to build prosperity in East Africa through enterprise-driven agricultural growth that improves livelihoods for smallholder farmers
  • 15+ years of professional experience in banking as well as impact investing and/or international development in East Africa, including a strong understanding of agricultural finance for SMEs
  • Track record designing and implementing innovative financial mechanisms to address market failures and achieve development impact
  • Demonstrated ability to build and lead high-performing teams across multiple geographies
  • Highly networked in the financial services sector in East Africa
  • Outstanding skills managing multi-stakeholder projects with government and private actors in East Africa as well as with international donors and multilateral institutions
  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to engage a range of stakeholders
  • Appetite to work in a fast-paced and rapidly evolving environment, including ability to travel internationally (both within Africa and globally) ~30% of the time

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.