Senior Program Manager: Agriculture/Agrifood Systems , Agribusiness

Every member of the Mastercard Foundation has been given a gift – an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. We are honoured, we feel privileged, and we take our responsibility seriously. Our goal is to help 30 million young people to secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

ABOUT MASTERCARD FOUNDATION

Mastercard Foundation is a global foundation based in Toronto, Canada with several offices in Africa. Our programs promote financial inclusion and advance education and learning in Africa, primarily for young people, and in Canada for Indigenous youth. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. From inception, the Foundation was designed to be a separate entity and independent from Mastercard. Our policies, operations, and funding decisions are made by our President and Board of Directors.

The Foundation believes that youth employment is key to unlocking prosperity, both for youth and their societies. Enabling young women and men from disadvantaged communities to secure dignified and fulfilling work will ensure inclusive development and economic growth in Africa.

Values are timeless, they transcend and rise above all. They guide everything we do, as employees of the Foundation. We share a common vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. We make mistakes, we reflect, and we grow so that we can impact our world – it’s why we are here. We are ambitious and driven. We encourage you to bring your bold ideas, curiosity, and expertise to your work. We laugh at ourselves and with each other. We are a team. Our journey together makes our impact even more meaningful.

THE WORK AT THE FOUNDATION

Agri-food, agribusiness and rural SMEs are often a critical link in the economic transformation of a country as they allow farmers to commercialize their activities and lift themselves out of subsistence farming. Much of the population across Africa depend on the agricultural sector for livelihoods and employment and agri-food, agribusiness and rural SMEs can help to provide a route out of poverty for smallholder farmers and rural communities while spurring economic diversification, sustainable development, creation of jobs and trade.

Africa remains a continent where most people, and a large majority of disadvantaged people, live in rural areas and rely on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. Under the Rural and Agricultural Finance (RAF) initiative, the Foundation has committed over $175 million in funding to programs that provide financial services to smallholder farmers, provides access to essential inputs, and strengthens their capability to apply tested farming practices to improve the productivity of their farms. The initiative supports MFIs, banks, agribusinesses, MNOs, investment funds, and technology companies to provide these services to farmers. As a learning institution, the Foundation continues to generate and disseminate evaluation analysis to guide its future programming under its new Young Africa Works strategy and to benefit the wider financial inclusion industry.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The Senior Program Manager will report to the Country Representative, Ethiopia. The Senior Program Manager will work collaboratively with the country-based expertise, Agriculture Technical Expertise Group and other Foundation staff including Program country team members who are developing country strategies to develop partnership pertinent to Young Africa Works in Ethiopia (YAW-E) strategy and support the implementation of such programs and their interlinkages. YAW-E is focusing on three key priority sectors providing opportunities for young people secure dignified and fulfilling jobs: Agriculture/Agribusiness, Manufacturing and Tourism.

The Senior Program Manager will be responsible for a portfolio of agriculture/agrifood systems and agribusiness related programs and partnerships in Ethiopia. This individual will be expected to interact effectively with senior levels of partner organizations to advance the current work of the Foundation, while concurrently contributing to the Foundation’s country strategy development and new programs.

The Senior Program Manager will be expected to provide expertise to identify constraints that prevent agricultural systems from functioning effectively at the country level. This work includes identifying constraints that prevent young people from developing skills relevant for work in the sector and that prevent agribusinesses from accessing the finance, capacity and markets needed to grow; the development and design of programs in the agricultural sector and incorporating the agricultural sector’s needs into country strategies.

WAYS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE

  • Identify challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector that can be unlocked through education, labour and financial systems, to drive job growth.
  • Provide agricultural sector expertise to support country program and Foundation country teams in the design and management of agricultural and agri-finance programs to scale country-level inclusive education, financial and labour systems in Africa.
  • Support Country program in the development or implementation of new programs, including co-creation of programs and due diligence of potential partners and projects.
  • Work closely with the Ethiopia country team and other team members to achieve team goals.
  • Provide perspective and expertise on emerging issues and trends in the agricultural and agrifood/agrifinance and agribusiness sector.
  • Manage agriculture programs, distilling learnings for Foundation staff and country teams. Includes oversight of day-to-day activities of particular programs or processes, conducting field visits, and reviewing project budgets.
  • Communicate progress and learnings from projects to foundation colleagues and the wider development community.
  • Work closely with the program and country teams to leverage synergies across programs and across geographies.
  • Build relationships with partner organizations, communities of practice, and global stakeholders.
  • Represent the Foundation and collaborate with key internal and external audiences.
  • Identify and help overcome challenges and other barriers to team effectiveness.
  • Share knowledge and learning and offer insights and solutions.
  • Contribute insights to the Foundation’s thought leadership on youth employment in Africa.

WHO YOU ARE

  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness, Business Development, and/or financial Inclusion.
  • Six (6) plus years of experience in agriculture/agrifood systems/agribusiness and/or financial inclusion is required. This experience could include project management and/or field experience working in developing countries.
  • Experience with commercial agricultural companies operational in Africa.
  • Experience living and working in Africa.
    • Demonstrates a strong understanding of the role of agriculture and agriculture finance in economic growth and development, particularly in Africa, and as it relates to small holder farmers.
    • Understands market and systemic challenges to financial inclusion for rural and agricultural economics in Africa and best practices for addressing them, including M4P (Markets for the Poor) and facilitating market systems.
    • Experience with global grant making, especially in designing market systems development programs. This experience may come from working in another funding organization, corporation or an NGO.
    • Demonstrates strong understanding of agricultural markets in Africa and the systemic challenges leading to stagnant growth.
    • Understanding of the role agri-food and rural SMEs can play in economic transformation and job creation.
    • Demonstrates strong analytical skills, the ability to think strategically and contribute as a thought partner in the Foundation’s strategy development
    • Experience and understanding in a variety of value chains (cash and food crops), the small businesses and SMEs along the value chain, and supply chain / logistics in agriculture.
    • Possess understanding and knowledge of current trends and innovations in agri-finance for value chains, agri SMEs and smallholder farmers.
    • Demonstrates strong budgeting skills with the ability to manage a large portfolio of assets.
    • Demonstrates the ability to communicate progress and learnings from projects to colleagues and the wider development community.
    • Demonstrates experience in providing expert technical advice to program managers and implementers.
    • Command of quantitative and qualitative Business analytics.
    • Excellent project management skills, including multi-stakeholder projects.
    • Excellent presentation and listening skills.
    • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to be flexible and adaptable.
    • Proactive, engaged and a self-starter.
    • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
    • Bilingual English and Amharic oral and written language skills preferred.
    • Is willing to travel up to 40% of the time.

    The Mastercard Foundation values the unique skills and experiences each individual brings to the Foundation and are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone. We appreciate your interest and advise that only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted directly.

    Completion of satisfactory Business references, background checks (criminal and credit) and proof of education are essential conditions of employment.

    If you require accommodation during the recruitment and selection process, please contact the People and Culture Department. We will work with you to provide a positive recruitment experience in a confidential manner.

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