Head of Programme, Sudan Catalyser

The incumbent will oversee the implementation of AECF’s operations in Sudan, representing the organization to the government, donor partners, business community, and other stakeholders.

He/ she will specifically focus on mobilizing and managing the Sudan Catalyser, a major programme offering support to SMEs in the agriculture, renewable energy, and digital technologies sectors in collaboration with local Sudanese consultants.

This programme will be established in three operational centers in Kassala, el Gadarif, and another to be determined.
The initial phase of the programme is an emergency financing facility that is expected to last for the next 18 months and to mobilize upwards of USD10m into up to 70 SMEs along with technical assistance.

The role holder will supervise a team of up to ten staff overseeing the implementation of a challenge fund competition to identify and recruit SMEs, design and oversee advisory support, identify and resolve risks and challenges to implementation and support fundraising to bring additional capital into the Catalyser.

The assignment will be implemented in the operational areas in the country.

The role will report to Sector Lead- Agribusiness

Key responsibilities:

  • Identify, recruit, and manage, together with AECF’s operations in Nairobi, a team of portfolio officers, ESG compliance staff, and other support staff.
  • Design and implement communication strategies together with the AECF’s communications team in Nairobi and local Sudanese partners that effectively inform the SME sector, government stakeholders, and donors on the details of the programme, its implementation, and, in due course, its results.
  • Provide effective liaison with donors to ensure collaboration with other interventions in the SME development space in Sudan.
  • Identify and engage with technical implementing partners, including financial institutions and business development service providers, to define, tender, and implement support services for the effective implementation of the programme.
  • Understand and effectively navigate the complex political and conflict environment to ensure that the programme can proceed without undue external influence.
  • Supervise the preparation of applicants for the Investment Committee by the local Sudanese consultants, including designing persuasive investment memos in English and supporting project sponsors to navigate the selection process.
  • Oversee the transparent selection of grantees for the programme, ensuring that politically compromised persons are not included in the funding.
  • Ensure grantee compliance with all aspects of AECF’s funding programme, including ESG and the Sudanese consultants recruited for programme monitoring.

Required qualifications and experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of full-time work experience in the design and delivery of financing mechanisms for SMEs in the sub-Saharan African context, including in Sudan.
  • A degree in International Development, Economics, Finance, Business, Mathematics, Communications or a related field.
  • Experience working in private sector development and a deep understanding of the sector with a bias toward agribusiness, renewable energy, and climate adaptation and/or digital solutions in Sudan.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the Sudan SME sector.
  • Possess comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Sudanese investment environment, including excellent appreciation of the political sensitivities and strategies to manage these.
  • Possess strong grant or investment management competencies with experience in designing investment memos, taking applicants through investment committees, and managing large and complex grant or investment programmes.

How to Apply

The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants will be considered based on merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

AECF does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, processing, training, or any other fees).

If you believe you can clearly demonstrate your abilities to meet the relevant criteria for the role, register and apply at: https://recruitment.aecfafrica.org . To be considered, your application must be received by December 15, 2023.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

About AECF

AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) is a leading non-profit development organisation that supports innovative enterprises in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs.

We catalyze the private sector by surfacing and commercializing new ideas, business models and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmer incomes, expand clean energy access, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to the effects of climate change. We finance high-risk businesses that struggle to access commercial funding; we are committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go.

To date, we have supported over 400  businesses in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 30 million lives, created over 27,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $771 million in matching funds.