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 - AGRICULTURE 

Agri-food 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. The majority of the population across Africa depend on the agricultural sector for livelihoods and employment and agri-food 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.


Agriculture subject matter experts are required to ensure that the Foundation leverages the great opportunity for youth employment that the agricultural sector offers, and support the development of country strategies. They work to help colleagues build a shared understanding of key issues and opportunities related to inclusive agricultural economies in Africa, and contributes to the Foundation’s learning agenda.


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

Reporting to the Country Representative, the Lead will be responsible for a portfolio of existing Rural and Agricultural Finance programs and partnerships. They will work collaboratively with the programs team and other Foundation staff.

They will be expected to provide expertise to identify constraints that prevent agricultural systems from functioning effectively at the country level, including, those that prevent youth from developing skills relevant for work in the sector; 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.

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.

WAYS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE

  • Identify challenges and opportunities in the agri-food system that can be unlocked through education, labour and financial systems, to drive job growth.
  • Provide agricultural sector expertise to support program managers and partners in the co-creation and management of agricultural and agri-finance programs to scale country-level inclusive education, financial and labour systems in Africa.
  • Provide perspective and expertise on emerging issues and trends in the agricultural and agri-finance sector, including climate change.
  • Lead and supervise small teams of colleagues and/or junior experts by providing coaching and support necessary for success and growth.
  • Manage current and future programs as appropriate; including programs in the rural and agricultural finance initiative and distill learnings for Foundation staff.
  • Lead and supervise small teams of colleagues and/or junior experts by providing coaching and support necessary for success and growth.
  • Communicate progress and learnings from projects to colleagues and the wider development community.
  • Work closely with program and country teams to leverage synergies across programs and geographies.
  • Build relationships with partner organizations, communities of practice, and global stakeholders.
  • Represent the Foundation and collaborate with key internal and external audiences.
  • Participate in governance activities related to programs, such as investment committees, advisory committees or other stakeholders to provide oversight or elevate and leverage learnings.
  • Identify and overcome barriers to team effectiveness by sharing knowledge and learnings while offering insights and possible solutions to issues and/or program challenges.
  • Contribute insights to the Foundation’s thought leadership on youth employment in Africa.
  • Other duties as assigned.

WHO YOU ARE

  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Finance, Business, Agricultural Economics and/or Financial Inclusion.
  • Ten (10) plus years of experience in financing agricultural companies and farmers is required. This experience could include project management and/or field experience working in developing countries.
  • Minimum of five (5) years leadership and management experience including managing staff and coaching, mentoring and providing feedback.
  • Experience working in commercial agricultural companies operational in Africa
  • Experience living and working in Africa.
  • Demonstrates a strong understanding of the role of financial inclusion 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 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 the agri-food system.
  • Understanding of the role agri-food and rural SMEs can play in economic transformation and job creation for youth.
  • Demonstrates a strong understanding of agricultural markets in Africa and the systemic challenges leading to stagnant growth. Possesses understanding and knowledge of current trends and innovations in agri-finance for value chains, agri SMEs, smallholder farmers and youth engaged in the agri-food system. 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 analytical skills, the ability to think strategically and contribute as a thought partner in the Foundation’s strategy development
  • 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 translating technical advice into practical recommendations for program managers and implementers. Command of quantitative and qualitative business analytics.
  • Excellent program management skills that include programs implemented within multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • Excellent presentation and listening skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to be flexible and adaptable and have a comfort for ambiguity.
  • Proactive, engaged and a self-starter.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Willing to travel up to 40% of the time.

 

The Mastercard Foundation values the unique skills and experiences each individual brings to the organization and we are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone.

Completion of satisfactory business references and/or proof of education, as well as background checks (criminal, credit and social media) are essential conditions of employment.

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

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