TechnoServe is the implementing agency for the Africa Food Security Fund’s (AFSF) Technical Assistance Facility (TAF). The AFSF is a second-generation fund managed by Zebu Investment Partners (ZIP) and targets high-growth Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the food value chain in Africa. Africa’s food requirements are expected to double in the next 30 years with a food import bill estimated to reach USD 50 –70 billion per annum. Food value chains remain weak and underdeveloped, while agriculture is the main form of economic activity for most people on the continent. Private investment in the agriculture sector is critical for Africa’s food security and growth. The AFSF will target deal sizes of USD 2–8 million, with the goal of investing in a minimum of 10-12 agribusiness SMEs over the next 8 years. This segment of SMEs often faces challenges related to business skills, weak accounting and management systems, poor visibility and/or limited bandwidth to take advantage of market opportunities. And yet, SMEs are able to pivot and scale quickly, when the right resources are provided.
In conjunction with access to finance, technical assistance (TA) is a critical component necessary to de-risk investments and grow companies further. Donor funding is needed to share/buy-down risk and maximise social returns. TA can be leveraged to introduce innovative inclusive business models that incentivise companies to link smallholders and micro-enterprises to their supply chains; bringing expert knowledge to support effective and sustainable operationalisation as well as drive innovative growth strategies at the company-level to propel investee companies to reach their growth potential.
TechnoServe works alongside ZIP to implement the AFSF TAF alongside the AFSF. This is a $1.9m grant-based facility tasked with supporting the capacity building of AFSF portfolio companies and deepening the development impact of the AFSF investments. The facility is tasked with providing TA to AFSF portfolio companies that receive investment through the AFSF, promoting new opportunities for smallholder farmers, farmer business groups, rural communities and enhancing local economic development. This will be achieved by linking private equity investments to economic opportunities for smallholder farmers (including women and youth) and micro-enterprises; promoting uptake by AFSF investee companies of inclusive business models thereby increasing beneficiary incomes and thus enhancing economic access to food. Moreover, the TAF will support AFSF investee companies with their growth objectives by providing them with expertise and support that drive best practice and innovation.
The AFSF TAF is able to support projects in and around portfolio companies under the following components: Inclusive Business Technical Assistance
Inclusive business TA supports investee companies to plan and pilot new business models that improve commercial and broader community (or development) impact often demonstrating the business case for smallholder sourcing and supporting SMEs to integrate more farmers into their supply chains and micro-retailers into their distribution chains.
Illustrative Inclusive business TA includes:
- Upstream initiatives extending SHF supply chains (incl. access to extension, key inputs and agribusiness services);
- Downstream distribution schemes, expanding supply of key products/services to supply SHFs;
- Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) distribution schemes to improve distribution of food products by BoP consumers via micro-enterprises (whose sales and incomes are enhanced).
Core Business Support
The Core Business TA is intended to enable AFSF portfolio companies to attract and take full advantage of capital investments from the AFSF, realising their potential as high-growth companies, creating jobs and contributing to the agricultural and economic development of Africa.
Illustrative Core business TA includes:
- Piloting unique and disruptive distribution approaches utilizing the latest technologies related to market intelligence and logistics;
- Right-sizing product portfolios with affordable, relevant and quality products, built with the emerging consumer in mind
- Making measurement and tracking the cornerstone of business success to allow for data-driven decision making;
- Using pre-existing networks and technical expertise to design skills development initiatives that move the dial for both the business and individual;
- Maximizing the efficiency of resources including water, energy and human capital (particularly related to women and youth)
- Facilitating linkages between SMEs and other market participants to transfer knowledge, innovations and technologies
Ecosystem Development Technical Assistance:
Ecosystem Development projects will seek to strengthen market systems around AFSF portfolio companies and will be measured by quantitative indicators such as finance mobilised as well as qualitative indicators for market development such as policy change, industry influence and stakeholder learning. This component will serve as an important knowledge sharing conduit emphasizing key thematic and common areas/issues identified through the scoping, design and execution of TA.
Illustrative Ecosystem Development TA projects include:
- Piloting rural finance schemes for smallholders (e.g. input credit, revolving funds, insurance schemes etc.);
- Policy analysis and recommendations to enhance private sector enabling environment;
- Market linkages to key market actors providing core and innovative agribusiness;
- Technologies and Platform projects that share lessons and knowledge to replicate models across different markets, geographies and sectors.
TechnoServe seeks qualified candidates to serve in the role of Programme Director to provide technical and administrative leadership and expertise in the implementation of the AFSF TAF.
Specific Duties & Responsibilities
Stakeholder Management and Representation
- Cultivate and maintain strong relations with key stakeholders including the fund manager, AFSF TAF donors and portfolio companies; government, industry bodies and other development actors
- Manage and maintain the independent governing body of the AFSF TAF, namely the Technical Assistance Committee (TAC)
- Ensure effective communications across key stakeholders particularly ZIP, portfolio companies, donors and TA service providers
- Build the reputation of the program through sharing of evidence-based impact and participation in key stakeholder events
- Represent TechnoServe and/or the fund manager at relevant industry and sector specifics conferences and events
- Regular meetings with the SoA Regional Leadership on programme progress
- Coordination with Finance, HR and Procurement functions as required to ensure smooth implementation of the program.
- Develop, present, and implement the strategic vision, goals, and objectives of the program in line with the overall strategy and objectives
- Scope, design and implement impactful TA projects across the different programme components at AFSF portfolio companies with additionality, scale and sustainability in mind
- Lead the procurement, contracting and management of TA service providers across the AFSF TAF portfolio
- In coordination with ZIP and AFSF donors, develop annual work plans to deliver outputs and objectives against agreed targets
- Manage and update project charters and operations in line with donor-approved programme delivery processes
- Takes overall accountability for delivery of program outputs and objectives against targets
- Ensure strict compliance with TNS’s objectives, strategies, policies and procedures
- Identification of opportunities for synergy with other programs, within TechnoServe and beyond, to further the aims of the programme and to grow the TAF practice area more generally
Budgeting & Financial Management
- Review program expenditure on a monthly basis to identify and explain any budget variances
- Timely tracking of programme expenditures, budget and liquidity management including programme disbursement requests from AFSF donors
- Close tracking of project budgets holding service providers accountable for budget variances
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
- Ensure preparation and timely submission of high quality quarterly reports to the fund manager and AFSF donors
- Submission of adhoc reports and information requests from TechnoServe, AFSF donors and the fund manager
- Ensure timely collection and reporting of M&E data in coordination with TechnoServe’s M&E requirements
- Active participation in the TA practice area allied groups sharing lesson learned, thematic trends and the latest best practices
Basic Qualification & Experience
- A Master’s degree in Business, Economics, Finance or other relevant disciplines with a minimum of 7 years of professional experience in a relevant field of management consulting, business administration or value creation.
- Should possess excellent analytical skills with ability to undertake in-field work
- Good knowledge and understanding of impact value creation at the business and community levels
- Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse team and to deliver results in a time-bound manner
- Excellent communication skills both written and oral
Experience that would make a candidate more desirable include:
- Management consultancy, business advisory services or experience managing local consultants and service providers
- Experience within private equity and food value chains on the African continent
- Managing multiple projects and complex stakeholder relationships
- Strategic planning and innovation
- Either private sector experience in agribusiness or management of a donor-funded private sector development programmes
- Strong skills in business software (Excel, PowerPoint etc.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- Strategic and innovative thinker
- Identifies opportunities and builds strategic relationships with other organizations to help achieve business goals
- Proactively takes advantage of opportunities to learn and actively applies new knowledge and skill
- Analyses both successes and failures for clues to improvement.
- Analytical, able to diagnose problems, identify the key issues, and think strategically to evaluate alternative courses of action and produce a logical, practical, and acceptable solution. Works persistently to overcome obstacles
- Able to take ownership of decisions but show sound judgment in escalating issues where necessary
- Works cooperatively and flexibly with key stakeholders to achieve a common goal. Ability to build and maintain effective relationships and networks.
- Effectively plans, schedules, and prioritizes activities; effectively manages resources to accomplish plans.
- Provides leadership and mentorship to the staff and clients to build their leadership and management capacities.
- Listens openly and effectively and ensures accurate understanding; able to adjust communication to the needs of the audience and work at multiple levels; facilitates the open exchange of ideas and information in individual and group situations.
- Transparent in dealings with others, admits mistakes, and is trusted. Inspires confidence in the team of honest intentions and fairness.
- Report writing; monitoring and data management
- Understands and manages human, financial, and operational resource issues to improve overall programme
- Sound understanding of business management and inclusive growth models, including a strong client focus. Able to understand the client’s concerns and priorities to provide appropriate business advisory solutions.
- Strong ability and commitment to team working and collaboration
Monthly travel to regional projects expected once travel restrictions ease and it is deemed safe to travel.
- Job City Johannesburg, South Africa