Manager – Gender and Partnerships

About AECF

The AECF is a leading development finance organization that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, and leverage investments to build resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalized communities in Africa.

AECF’s goal is to bridge the investment gap between early-stage enterprise and business maturity for entrepreneurs serving the poorest communities. Through various financing instruments, we provide patient capital to new and innovative business models in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa. To supplement finance, we also offer advisory services, investment support, and knowledge and insights.

Since 2010, AECF has made significant progress toward Gender Lens Investing (GLI). In 2017, AECF reviewed her agribusiness portfolio impact which inspired deeper insights and lessons and resulted in the development of a GLI strategy for rural prosperity.

The strategy seeks to identify, nurture, and accelerate solutions that result in the full and equal participation of men/boys and women/girls in the value chains in which we invest. It also aspires to ensure consideration of gender norms and work around gender barriers to improve gender outcomes across the investment cycle.

The implementation of this strategy has seen an increased focus on mobilizing funding towards women-owned/led companies and expansion of pathways for income generation and improved livelihoods among women, youth, and people living with disabilities in fragile contexts. We have strengthened our capacity on gender and sex-disaggregated data reporting enabling us to visualize specific impacts, needs, and gaps for investing in men and women.

At the end of 2021, we recorded great wins in our journey to realizing gender lens investing strategy, impacted the lives of 30 million lives, 49% women, created and sustained 26,912 jobs approximately 30% to women, invested in over 410 companies across 26 countries in Africa, with 20% being women-owned/led. Currently, AECF implements 5 programmes focused on women’s entrepreneurial leadership and investing in women-owned and led businesses totalling $39 Million. Our ambition is to grow this portfolio and curate investment vehicles that attract investments into women-led SMEs in climate-resilient sectors across the continent.

AECF is headquartered in Kenya with offices in Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania.

The Role

As the Manager – Gender and Partnerships, the incumbent will maintain, develop and scale AECF’s portfolio of work focusing on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and gender-lens investing.

The role holder will also strengthen partnerships with key institutions and alliances, contribute to designing investment vehicles focusing on harnessing the potential of women-led or managed businesses in key value chains, and develop investment opportunities and proposals to de-risk and catalyze commercial financing in AECF gender-focused portfolio companies.

The incumbent will support the institution in growing into a gender-smart organization, contribute to developing AECF’s knowledge products and position the institution as a thought leader in gender lens investing in small and growing businesses in Africa.

She/He will lead the AECF Gender team, a fast-growing team operating from across sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Responsibilities:

Securing partnerships and resources to deploy high-impact gender-lens and women economic empowerment investments (60%)

  • Continuously challenge and deepen AECF’s strategy, vision and mission to contribute to tackling the root causes of gender inequalities in business, investment, and power relations.
  • Work with the Partnerships team to manage current high-priority partners and identify strategic future partners (including funders, implementation, and knowledge partners or consortium partners), understanding their partnership priorities and their near- and long-term goals.
  • Design and deliver investment vehicles, investment proposals, or risk-mitigation instruments, contributing to growing the volumes of investment into women-empowering ventures and contributing to bridging the gender investment gap.
  • Nurture and grow existing fundraising streams including grant applications.
  • Conduct research and draft proposals and concept notes of innovative and cutting-edge vehicles to tackle gender inequalities in the financial sector, and empower rural women in their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Stand as a key account manager for relationships with the gender lens investing ecosystem of funders, like-minded institutions, and grassroot partners.
  • Prioritize and lead on new business pipelines.
  • Contribute to the establishment of appropriate linkages with the relevant state/government departments, implementing partners, donors, private sector bodies, potential project partners, and civil society.

Institutional development and gender strategy implementation (40%)

  • Develop and mainstream, at all internal levels, the implementation of AECF’s Gender Strategy – including working closely with teams across AECF to ensure that AECF’s gender lens investing offering is fully embedded across all systems, governance documents, and operating procedures and ensure the effective roll-out of key products developed by the team including those related to training and capacity building, tools, and manage internal/external communications.
  • Management of the gender team and ensuring that the portfolio and impact teams receive the necessary support to apply a gender lens across investments and throughout the investment cycle.
  • Continuously aim to improve and deepen AECF’s ability to learn from impact and understand how empowerment and that change happens for women and communities.
  • Management and oversight of internal working groups and AECF’s Gender Lens Investing Community.
  • Represent AECF at internal/external stakeholder engagements related to AECF’s gender lens investing work.
  • Active participation across several of AECF’s flagship markets shaping gender initiatives and partnerships in the field.

The Candidate

Suitable candidates should:

  • Hold a Graduate/Master’s qualification in Development Finance, Gender, Entrepreneurship Studies, or any other relevant field of study.
  • Have a minimum of seven (7) years of experience in income generation from partnerships, secured/retention of multi-million-dollar partnerships, and leading high-profile partnership engagements.
  • Have a strong commercial acumen and deep understanding of women’s economic empowerment and gender-lens investing space in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as an understanding of dynamics and key sectors operating in rural economies (particularly Agribusiness and Renewables) in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Have experience in financial engineering for inclusive investment vehicles, and experience developing proposals for bilateral donors, philanthropies, and in partnership with commercial investors in blended vehicles.
  • Have excellent analytical and communication skills with the ability to prepare proposals, reports, and concept papers to a high level of proficiency.
  • Have experience in leading teams and growing junior staff.
  • Be fluent in English. Knowledge of French is an added advantage.

How to Apply

The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants will be considered based on merit without regard to race, sex, colour, 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 on:

To be considered, your application must be received by: 26th January 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.

Over the course of 13 years, we have supported over 375 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.