Program Lead, MSME Finance at Mastercard Foundation: (Deadline 27 October 2020)

Program Lead, MSME Finance at Mastercard Foundation: (Deadline 27 October 2020)
  • Full Time
  • Rwanda

Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation

Program Lead, MSME Finance at Mastercard Foundation: (Deadline 27 October 2020)


Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. Through its Young Africa Works strategy and Canadian EleV program, the Foundation works with partners to ensure that millions of young people, especially young women, access quality education, financial services and dignified work. Mastercard Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is independent with its own Board of Directors and CEO.


We have entered a very exciting time at the Foundation as we scale up our operations across Africa to realize our Young Africa Works strategy. Our role at the Mastercard Foundation is to be a catalyst. Our Young Africa Works strategy focuses on working with others to spur systemic change so young people have the opportunity to find work that is dignified and fulfilling.

The Foundation has opened offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda, building a broader leadership presence in Africa to develop specific strategies that support youth employment.  Within a country, we work with governments, the private sector, educators and other funders to improve the quality of education and vocational training, prepare young people for the work force, expand access to financial services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and connect job seekers to dignified and fulfilling work.

We are ambitious and driven. Our values transcend and rise above everything else as our guide. 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.


Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in employment and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa. To address youth unemployment, the demand for labour will need to increase and it will need to increase within firms. In its new strategy, the Foundation has committed to efforts that improve the quality and quantity of jobs in African countries and working with MSMEs is vital to this mission. Constraints facing the growth of MSMEs fall under the following categories: investment climate, access to infrastructure, access to markets, access to finance, and training and skills. The Foundation will pursue systemic approaches to diagnose and work on several interventions that range from the firm to the bank to the policy level to address these constraints within target countries.

The MSME team supports the development of country strategies, provides technical support in the development of country-led programs, helps colleagues build a shared understanding of key issues and opportunities related to growing MSME employment in Africa, and contributes to the Foundation’s learning agenda.


Reporting to the Country Head, the Program Lead, MSME Finance will work collaboratively with MSME colleagues and other Foundation staff, such as Program country team members and Impact team colleagues. The Program Lead, MSME Finance will be responsible for a portfolio of access to finance and entrepreneurship support partnerships supporting micro, small and medium enterprises across all relevant economic sectors and focused on the Foundation’s Young Africa Works priorities and commitment to enable dignified and fulfilling work for young women and young people in general. She/he will provide expertise and interact effectively with senior levels of partner organizations and ecosystem stakeholders to advance the development and delivery of the Foundation’s country strategy.


  • Lead the origination and design of entrepreneurship ecosystem support interventions (access to finance, BDS, market, etc.) that contribute to the co-creation and growth of MSMEs across all relevant economic sectors and value chains.
  • Engage with mandated institutions, private sector/industry stakeholders and young people to co-create opportunities linking/ enabling young people access to dignified and fulfilling work.
  • Identify challenges and opportunities facing MSMEs that can be unlocked through education, labour and financial systems to drive job growth.
  • Provide expertise on MSMEs to support Foundation colleagues’ design and management of programs to scale country-level inclusive education, financial and labour systems in Africa.
  • Provide perspective and expertise on emerging issues and trends in the Financial Inclusion field, the MSME sector and entrepreneurship growth in Africa.
  • 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.


  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in Finance, Business, Development Economics and/or Financial Inclusion.
  • Minimum 10+ years of experience in financing and non-financial support to MSMEs or new enterprises is highly preferred. This should include commercial experience and project management in enterprise business development, investing in and/or financing MSMEs in developing countries.
  • Minimum 5 years of leadership and management experience including managing staff and coaching, mentoring and providing feedback.
  • Strong understanding of MSME segments (from early stage startups to growth-stage SMEs) in Africa and the systemic challenges constraining their growth. Understanding of the role MSMEs can play in economic transformation and job creation.
  • Experience with MFIs, banks or investment companies operational in Africa to finance SMEs.
  • Experience living and working in Africa; knowledge of African social, economic and political contexts would be an asset.
  • Possesses a strong understanding of the role of financial inclusion in economic growth and development in Africa. Understands systemic challenges to financial inclusion and best practices for addressing them.
  • Strong budgeting skills with the ability to manage a large portfolio of assets.
  • Strong ability to communicate progress and learnings from projects to colleagues and the wider development community.
  • Astute ability to provide expert technical advice to program managers and implementers.
  • 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.
  • Command of quantitative and qualitative business analytics.
  • Excellent project management skills, including multi-stakeholder projects.
  • Proficiency in English, written and oral is required. Ability to speak a local language is highly preferred.
  • Is willing to travel up to 40% of the time.
  • You are flexible, adaptable, and able to execute a range of job duties and changing priorities.
  • You possess excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills with the ability to articulate information to a variety of constituents across cultures.
  • You possess professional maturity, sensitivity with different cultures, and impeccable integrity that exemplify the Foundation’s values.

Deadline for Applications is October 27, 2020.

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, background checks, and proof of education are essential conditions of employment.




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