Aceli Africa Project Manager

  • Galana Road, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Full-time

Company Description

Location(s): TBD (either Nairobi, Kenya or Kampala, Uganda) 

Length of Commitment: At least two (2) years. 

Application Deadline: September 6, 2019, 17:00 GMT+3 (Early applications are strongly encouraged!)

Desired Start Date: October 1, 2019 

About GDI: The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is an organization that builds startups, incubates partnerships, and strengthens existing organizations for social impact around the world. 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. Please visit our website for more information: 

About Aceli Africa: For East African countries to create economic opportunities for a growing population, the agricultural 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 into the formal economy. Yet most agricultural SMEs fail to realize this potential in 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 Aceli Africa. Aceli Africa is a market-based platform that seeks to mobilize $700M in private sector lending to inclusive agricultural SMEs across East Africa by 2025. It draws upon groundbreaking data to build local financial markets and unlock the potential for agricultural SMEs to strengthen local food systems. To date, Aceli Africa has garnered support from leading bilateral and philanthropic funders, including DFID, MasterCard Foundation, Omidyar Network, Small Foundation, and USAID. 

Job Description

Position Description: We seek a Project Manager (PM) to coordinate the evaluation of Aceli Africa. The position involves a mix of engaging with financial institutions, stakeholders, and policymakers as well as developing research opportunities. The Project Manager will work closely with research and policy experts from the International Growth Centre housed at the London School of Economics to lead the following initiatives: 

1. Supervision of evaluation: The project manager is expected to lead evaluation of Aceli Africa, specifically to understand the impact of access to credit and technical assistance on agri-SMEs as well as beneficiary livelihoods (i.e. farmers and agri-SME employees). 

2. Supervision of data collection: The project manager will work closely with Aceli Africa and financial institutions to ensure the systematic collection of high-quality data for the evaluation. The project manager will supervise the data collection efforts by the financial institutions as well as obtain data from central banks, credit registries, etc. 

3. Fostering research agenda: GDI in conjunction with IGC will draw on a considerable network of world-leading researchers to commission research projects that build up knowledge on loan markets, their impact on livelihoods as well as agri-SMEs and agricultural value chains more broadly. The project manager is expected to take a leadership role in forging relationships with stakeholders to develop the potential for the research projects. 

Duties and Responsibilities 

1. Develop an understanding of the research objectives of the team 

2. Cultivate relationships with policymakers, financial institutions, and other stakeholders involved in any of the above projects. 

3. Line manage the data manager 

4. Regularly communicate with the Research team and Aceli Africa team 

5. Lead data collection 

6. Monitor the logistics, budget, and timelines of the projects 


Desired qualifications: The candidate should possess a curious and entrepreneurial mindset, a relentless drive to get things done and a commitment to thinking critically and creatively about social change. Additionally, the candidate should possess or meet the below essential and/or desired criteria: 

 Knowledge and experience 

o MPA/MPP/MSc/MA degree in development economics, economics, public policy/administration, or a related discipline. 

o Demonstrated understanding of policy-relevant economic research and expertise with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. 

o Ability to write in English cogently and clearly, and to construct clear and concise arguments to translate research into policy recommendations. 

o Experience working in East Africa. 

o Experience of coordinating and/or disseminating research or policy projects and supporting the policy dialogue by drafting notes, briefs and blogs. 

o Experience of programme management of multi-stakeholder projects and understanding of monitoring and evaluation methods and processes in the field of development economics or a related area. 

o Experience of participating in the delivery of policy events and conferences. 

o Experience of engaging the media on economic policy issues. 

 Communication 

o Evidence of excellent written and oral communication skills, in particular evidence of explaining technical information to non-specialist audiences. 

o Experience of producing written documents, papers and / or blogs targeted to a specific audience (e.g. policy makers, NGOs) to a high standard 

o Evidence of acting as a point of reference for others and contributing to the development of new knowledge and understanding within the development field. 

Teamwork and motivation 

o Strong evidence of initiative and problem solving skills. 

o Experience of working as part of a team in a multi-cultural context, ideally in East Africa. 

o Ability to work with a range of teams and with a variety of stakeholders (private and public actors) 

o Interest in researching private-sector development in fast-growing countries 

 Liaison and Networking 

o Ability to lead on networking and maintain relevant networks by identifying and engaging with key people to foster working relationships with. 

o Demonstrated ability to interact with policymakers through, for instance, past work with government officials, NGOs, think tanks and aid agencies. 

o Demonstrated ability to work with others to organize events, such as policy conferences, stakeholder workshops and research/policy seminars. 

 Planning and organization 

o Ability to work independently and to take initiative with minimal supervision in challenging environments. 

o Demonstrated ability to plan and organize own workload in order to consistently meet deadlines, and to carry out tasks according to a priority assessment. 

o Demonstration of attention to detail whilst being able to produce outputs within set deadlines. 

o Ability to carry out both technical and operational duties required for the effective support of research work and its dissemination, as well as other country activities.