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Senior Program Manager, “Terimbere” SME Support Facility

Kigali, Rwanda
About Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) :
Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) is a Rwandan not for profit company established in 2010 to promote financial inclusion and financial sector development. AFR is currently funded by Sweden, Jersey Overseas Aid, and the MasterCard Foundation.

Access to Finance Rwanda is part of the broader Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) in Africa that seeks to create a transformative impact on the ending of poverty by supporting efforts to improve financial inclusion and financial sector development by helping financial institutions and markets drive a more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. 

AFR supports the removal of systemic barriers that hinder access to financial services by low-income people, particularly the rural poor, women, youth and MSMEs. AFR supports the development and provision of financial services including savings, credit, insurance, investment, payments, and remittances.
AFR is guided by the Market System Development (MSD) approach recognizing that efforts to increase financial inclusion and financial sector development must be market-led, profitable and sustainable.

About Terimbere SME Support Facility 

Although SMEs play a critical role in driving inclusive growth, they continue to face multiple challenges including low business management capabilities, limited tailored and sustainable business development services, limited access to appropriate financial solutions and gaps in regulations and policies promoting SMEs access to finance. Such constraints hinder the potential for economic growth and job creation including for youth and women-led SMEs. 

In line with its Phase III strategy and in collaboration with key stakeholders, AFR will continue its journey towards addressing the roots causes to access to finance constraints for SMEs in Rwanda through “Terimbere” SME Support Facility. The Facility seeks to support the financial market system to better serve SMEs in productive sectors leading to business growth, improved profitability, and decent jobs creation, with a strong emphasis on jobs for women and youth. 

The Facility has the following two interconnected projects:

1.    SME Financing Readiness Support

The project seeks to strengthen SMEs’ capabilities to overcome gaps in financial management practices, sound business management procedures and practices, business growth skills and information asymmetry by enhancing technical, managerial, market knowledge, financial and non-financial capacity to prepare them for appropriate financing and growth opportunities. 

2.     Enhancing SME Finance through innovation, capacity building and risk mitigation

The project comprise several interventions including the provision technical assistance to Financial Services Providers (FSPs) to deliver innovative SME-centric solutions, evidence-based advocacy for improved policy, legal and regulatory environment and enabling infrastructure to unlock SME Finance and managing a credit guarantee scheme to spur SME Financing.

The Role

The Senior Program Manager, “Terimbere” SME Financing Facility bears the prime responsibility for the impactful implementation of two components/interventions under the Facility:
  • SME Financing Readiness Support; and  
  • Credit guarantee scheme
 In addition, s/he is responsible for strategic networking and relationship-building with implementing partners and other key stakeholders within the SME support space and acts as AFR’s primary representative; providing thought leadership and utilising influencing strategies to support the achievement of the Facility’s objectives.

The role requires a dynamic SME finance specialist and seasoned project manager who can build relationships with different actors in SME finance and SME Finance readiness support spaces, understand their challenges, identify opportunities, and support the implementation of innovative solutions for enhanced access to appropriate finance, growth, jobs creation and resilience of SMEs in Rwanda.

Reporting line: The position reports to the Chief Programs Officer at AFR and works closely with the Head of Finance for Growth and Jobs.

Supervises: Project support officers and Intervention Managers 

Duration of the contract: Two years renewable based on performance. 

Scope of Responsibilities 
The Senior Program Manager will be responsible for the following key tasks in relation to the SME Finance Readiness support and the credit guarantee scheme projects (“the program”) under the Facility:   
  • Provide thought leadership to the “Program” team and relevant stakeholders on how to drive SME Finance development and inclusiveness.
  • Manage and coordinate the “program” effectively ensuring the theory of change is kept updated and that results are achieved, risks are managed, projects are delivered and learnings from projects are fully utilised to maximise impact and innovation.
  • Clarify the ways in which achievement of the SME Facility objectives (and the ‘the program” objectives in particular) depend upon influencing the mindset or behaviour of others (e.g., Implementing Partners, policymakers, Regulators, SMEs & other stakeholders); lead the development, implementation, and results- measurement of an innovative Communications & Influencing plan for the program.
  • Manage the finances associated with the program, aiming to maximize the efficiency achieved with the available resources; manage risks arising from the work in the facility and ensure compliance with AFR and donor policies.
  • Lead the relevant Program team and consultants in a manner that empowers them to add value to SMEs and deliver high standards of performance.
  • Provide expert technical guidance and assistance to the implementation team. 
  • Collaborate with the AFR senior management team to define and monitor staffing requirements for all functional supporting areas of the program.
  • Oversee the efforts of assigned staff for the program to ensure they carry out project-specific activities and meet project objectives.
  • Prepare projects work plans, schedules, cost estimates and other planning documents to meet program objectives and requirements.
  • Monitor project execution to ensure conformance with AFR /donor policies and procedures and Rwandan Laws and Regulations 
  • Identify and manage risks within the program.

Educational Qualifications
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or a related field applicable to this position. Advanced degrees will be an added advantage. 
  • Additional professional qualification and relevant accreditations are an advantage. 
  • Certification in Project Management is preferred.

Experience and technical skills 
  • Minimum 5 years working experience, including at a senior level, in SME finance environment (e.g., SME oriented financial institutions, SME Finance and Finance readiness projects within for profit and not for profit institutions)
  • Clear understanding of SMEs finance especially for high growth sectors and with jobs creation potential (e.g.: Agriculture, Light manufacturing, Export, Logistics, Tourism and Hospitality, etc.)
  • At least 2 years’ experience working with credit guarantees. 
  • Proven experience in project management, implementing strategic initiatives, policies, and operational decisions.
  • Track record of managing relationships and influencing stakeholders including key public and private sector actors at all levels of seniority.
  • Good general knowledge of financial management practice and high ethical & financial standards for managing funds.
  • Understanding of the monitoring and results measurement concepts and processes
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, prepare reports and make impactful presentations.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.

  • Familiarity with major players in financial sector development and MSME Finance space in Rwanda.
  • Prior experience working with Market Systems Development (MSD) approaches.
  • Languages: French, Kinyarwanda.

Attitude/ competences
  • Strategic thinking and thought leadership.
  • Strong drive for results 
  • Strong sense of engagement, sense of initiative, and decisiveness
  • Pro-innovation
  • Of a dynamic nature and initiates and maintains positive relationships with others.
  • Strong communication and influencing skills.
  • High degree of professionalism and integrity.
  • Learning and resourcefulness 
  • Team oriented, collaborative, flexible and can adapt to a changing environment.
How to Apply

The application should contain a Resume with an e-mail address, daytime telephone contact, qualifications, achievements, experience, and names & addresses of three professional referees together with a cover letter (maximum 2 pages) summarizing why you consider yourself particularly well suited for the position. Do not attach any other documents at this point.

All applications will be selected on merit and only shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews.

For any questions regarding the application process please contact recruitment@cedarafricagroup.com

  • This position is open to nationals, non-nationals residing in Rwanda and East African Community candidates.
  • Qualified Women candidates are encouraged to apply.

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