Heifer International is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with some form of disability.
Heifer International Nigeria is implementing a signature program - Naija Unlock – which seeks to collaborate with local value chain actors and smallholder farmers (SHFs) to unlock the country’s potential for food sufficiency and meet local demand while closing the living income gap for 1,000,000 households in selected value chains by 2025. This will lay the foundation for scaling up the impact to a cumulative figure of 2,000,000 households by 2030. the program will achieve this vision by facilitating collaboration with private sector firms in resolving constraints that smallholder farmers are currently experiencing in target value chains. Naija Unlock targets five value chains (rice, tomato and poultry as primary value chains, while cattle and small ruminants (i.e. goats and sheep) are the secondary value chains.
The Access to Finance Specialist will be responsible for driving the Access to Finance (A2F) component of Heifer Nigeria Signature Program “Naija Unlock”. Emphasis would be on increasing access to finance for smallholder farmers and other value chain actors through loans, credits, equity investment, blended financing, grants, etc. The Access to Finance Specialist would oversee end to end process for innovative funding design, implementation, oversight, and reporting. S/he will identify and work with partners and stakeholders to increase capacity of farmers and other value chain actors for ease of accessing funding while attracting finance from financial institutions, impact investors (including Heifer Impact Capital), development partners, angel and equity investors etc.
ESSENTIAL CHARACTER TRAITS
The ideal candidate is self-driven, team player, communicates clearly and frequently, technically competent, honest, responsible, ambitious and, goal-oriented. Additional traits include: Strong collaboration and partnership skills with people and teams across organizational levels, and analytical approach to work with strong problem-solving skills.
Responsibilities & Deliverables
Project Management and Effectiveness (60%)
- Provide technical and management support to broaden access to agribusiness finance for Naija Unlock smallholder farmers and value chain actors.
- Work closely with the Program Director and Naija Unlock technical team to develop strategic approaches and work plans that address the financial and investment needs of smallholder farmers, farmer-owned agribusinesses (FAOBs), and other value chain actors.
- Coordinate with Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) to assist smallholder farmers, cooperatives, FAOBs, processors, and other value chain actors to understand the needs and requirements of partner financial institutions and investors, and assist in developing comprehensive business plans that involve strategic planning, financial structuring, feasibility analyses, and market research; and completing loan applications with financial and cash flow projections.
- Identify interested financial institutions, including microfinance institutions, and work with them to better understand the financial needs of actors throughout various value chains, including rice, poultry, tomatoes, small ruminants, livestock, etc.
- Provide support to financial institutions to expand their agribusiness lending and create jobs, especially for women and youth.
- Improve access to finance for household livelihoods development, with a particular focus on increasing access to savings and financial services through savings mobilization, savings and loans groups, and services embedded in financing.
- Monitor and oversee activities that improve access to financial services for smallholder farmers, FOABs, and partner agribusiness MSMEs.
- Carry out investment analysis and appraisal on agribusiness financing opportunities and make recommendations on the viability or otherwise of the agribusiness/opportunities.
- Work closely with the MEL team in data gathering and measurement of the impact of Access to Finance interventions.
- Design, implement and regularly evaluate the Naija Unlock access to finance strategy in line with set objectives.
Capacity building (20%)
- Work with Heifer Nigeria team and service providers to design and/or improve training modules that will increase farmers access to funding.
- Provide the agribusinesses with technical support to make them investment ready, complete and submit applications for loans, grants, or investor pitch.
- Assist agribusinesses, farmers cooperatives, and related enterprises to document business plans and cashflow projections to increase their capabilities to access loans.
- Provide technical and management support to broaden access to agricultural finance for actors across various value chains, especially market system actors, smallholder farmers, agriculture cooperatives, women, and youth.
- Provide training and technical assistance to financial institutions (MFIs, commercial banks, equity investors) in institutional strengthening, risk management, product design and outreach.
- Support financial institutions in the structuring of innovative agribusiness deals/transactions, including creation and review of financial models, business plans, and blended financing options.
Relationship Management (15%)
- Facilitate and create linkage between smallholder farmers and partner agribusinesses with funding partners (banks, investors, Heifer Impact Capital, development partners etc.)
- Identify and develop strong relationships with banks, lenders, and investors and regularly organizing stakeholders’ engagement meetings between financial partners and smallholder farmers/FOABs.
- Identify FOABs and agribusiness SMEs operating with Naija Unlock target value chains and geographical focus areas that are credit or investment ready and match them with available resources.
Any Other Assigned Functions (5%)
- Perform other job-related duties as requested.
- Bachelor’s degree in Economics and/or Statistics, Financial Management, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration or another related field.
- Demonstrated experience in coordinating and working with financial institution or development organization with access to agribusiness finance focus.
- Minimum of five (5) years of directly supporting smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to access finance through loans, impact investment, grants, equity investment, blended financing etc.
- Must be eligible to work in Nigeria.
- Strong network in the access to finance space and the financial ecosystem in Nigeria, particularly within financial institutions, private lenders, equity investors, impact investors, development partners etc.
- Proven experience raising funds for own business or other institutions.
- Experience working to build capacity for MSMEs towards accessing funding
- Excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills.
- Must possess experience working with smallholder farmers, funding partners and a practical understanding of the needs and challenges that exists in relation to agribusiness financing.
- Practical experience training on financial management and business planning can be an added advantage.
Most Critical Proficiencies
- Innovative, analytical, and solutions-oriented.
- A good understanding of and sensitivity to issues associated with poverty, hunger, agriculture and the environment, and knowledge of the context in which non-profit organizations operate.
- Knowledge of market systems interventions and linkages to poverty alleviation.
- Excellent organizational skills, including strong attention to detail.
- Proven experience in building the capacity of partner institutions to document and disseminate industry information, manage knowledge, measure progress and plan and advocate within the industry.
- Proficient knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, presentation tools, electronic mail (Microsoft Office preferred) and Internet.
- Demonstrated proficiency in English, both oral and written.
- Ability to work in a team.
Essential Job Functions and Physical Demands
- Demonstrated creativity, ability to think systematically, willingness and ability to incorporate innovative solutions.
- Willingness and ability to assign and review the work of direct reports and to use participatory management skills with junior and senior staff.
- Proven team leadership and supervisory skills with the ability to train and work cooperatively with a diverse staff, including field staff in various locations.
- Constant face-to-face, telephone and electronic communication with colleagues and the public.
- Working with sensitive information and maintaining confidentiality.
- Ability to manage and execute multiple tasks with little supervision while meeting sometimes inflexible deadlines.
- Willingness and ability to travel.
Illustrative Key Performance Indicators
- FY23 costed workplan for Access to Finance component of Naija Unlock.
- Access to finance needs assessment report with recommended strategies .
- Access to Finance strategy brief and business model to guide the intervention delivery
- Profile of financial institutions influenced to address systemic constraints in rural agricultural financing.
- Training curriculum articulating a strategy for building the capacity of financial institutions and farmers cooperatives.
- Summary of Access to Finance results at output and outcome level at end of each quarter.