Programme Manager at Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund

The AECF is a development institution that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, and leverage investments and markets to create resilience and sustainable incomes in rural and marginalized communities in Africa. It provides concessional capital, technical assistance, and support to the wider enabling environment for emergent and scaling SMEs. Over the past 12 years, AECF has supported almost 400 businesses in more than 40 value chains and 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In the renewable energy and adaptive climate change sector, AECF has supported businesses across solar home systems, mini and micro-grids, biogas, financial services, and adaptive climate change technologies. AECF focuses on agribusiness, renewable energy, and adaptive climate technology sectors while addressing the cross-cutting themes of gender, youth, and fragile contexts to reduce rural poverty, promote resilient communities, and create jobs.

  • Experience 7 years
  • Location Kano

The Programme

  • This is a five-year integrated investment initiative intended to support female entrepreneurship in value chains where women predominate principally in climate smart agriculture by increasing investment in innovative and climate smart solutions, thereby increasing their economic resilience in a changing climate.
  • It will address systemic challenges facing women around access to finance, technical and business competence, inequality impacts of climate change and discriminatory gender norms whilst leading to sustained increase in incomes for resource constrained women farmers.
  • The interventions include providing- grant financing to women owned or led SMEs and women’s co-operatives as well as grants to stimulate loans to women from financial institutions.
  • The provision of matched grant funding will enable women to expand their business operations in ways that they could not otherwise do because of the lack of access to the formal financing system.
  • Additionally, the programme will provide technical assistance to women owned or led SMEs and women’s co-operatives that is an essential complementary component to finance, addressing low levels of business knowledge and capacity as well as the introduction of innovative concepts such as climate smart agriculture.
  • The programme will operate across Kano Region in northern Nigeria offering sustainable demand driven market system based and climate smart solutions and managed by a team operating from Kano with a range of partners.

The Role

  • The Programme Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the programme work plan, including direct supervision of up to six programme staff.
  • The Programme Manager will work closely with the Head of Programmes – Agribusiness and coordinate between AECF teams, relevant regional and national government institutions, partner organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure the goals and milestones of the programme are realized.
  • The position holder will lead on the technical delivery of the project and field operations support – as well as be the principal contact for all stakeholders.
  • The incumbent will be based in Kano and will be expected to travel to the field to visit the various programme stakeholders.
  • He/she must ensure overall employee satisfaction and productivity, to deliver strategic and operational excellence.

Key Responsibilities

  • Take the lead in setting up programme office, team management and prudent execution of the programme activities in line with the approved proposal and budget, including all aspects of programme reporting to the donor.
  • Lead the planning and execution – together with external consultants – of the detailed market assessment and gender-focused value chain analysis that will underpin the design of the programme including assessing the potential for synergies and partnership strategies with other programmes and agencies, i.e., women’s rights organizations, Community Based Organizations, training providers, etc.
  • Lead planning and execution of the programme including overseeing the competition/challenge process, identifying, and shortlisting potential investible businesses and associations; conducting and coordinating operational, financial, and strategic due diligence reviews, and preparing investment memos.
  • Oversee the contracting of investee companies and associations, carry out ongoing management of selected companies to achieve program goals.
  • Plan and use resources (people and/or finance and/or physical assets) in accordance with AECF guidelines and delegated accountability so that objectives are achieved in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
  • Coordinate capacity needs assessments for design of technical assistance and business development service products and monitor delivery of the same.
  • Undertake the capacity needs assessment (technical, financial, equipment, knowledge, etc.) of the investees and work with the Enterprise Development team on appropriate interventions.
  • Maintain productive working relationships and linkages with donors, and other development partner organizations, international organizations, government departments, private sector partners, sector leaders, etc.
  • Working with the AECF Impact team, develop and maintain results measurement plans ensuring they align with the programme objectives and theory of change.
  • Ensure compliance with internal controls and integration of AECF’s enterprise-wide risk framework into the programme.
  • Represent AECF in relevant activities with key stakeholders in Nigeria.


  • Hold a Master’s Degree or equivalent in Business, Finance, Economics, Agriculture, Sustainable Development, or related field.
  • Have at least seven (7) years of experience in private sector development, sustainable finance, strengthening value chains or economic diversification industries.
  • Be a recognised thought leader in gender equality and/or gender lens investing in the region and have a proven track record working with SMEs. Experience working with women-owned and managed enterprises will be essential.
  • Have an ability and demonstrate experience in designing and appraising inclusive business cases.
  • Have a demonstrated track record in project management, specifically in project planning, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and financial management for large scale donor funded projects.
  • Be fluent in English and Hausa.
  • Have experience managing gender-responsive programmes/investments.
  • Have excellent analytical and communication skills with the ability to prepare reports to a high level of proficiency.
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills including strong work ethic, impeccable integrity, and judgment.

Method of Application


  • 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.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Interested and qualified? Go to Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund on to apply

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June 2024