UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments—through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance—can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to SDGs 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13, and emphasizes the deployment of sustainable public and private financial models that leverage in follow-on domestic and international investment. The Strategic Framework foresees in particular the need for the public and private spheres to come together around a more action-oriented agenda to make finance work for the LDCs, particularly in the first 10 years of Agenda 2030 to ensure that graduating LDCs have access to sustainable finance models that are SDG-positive. The SF also foresees a stronger inter-agency offer for UNCDF, to assist the whole of the UN to lift its approach to public/private finance in pursuit of SDG achievement at country level.
Approximately US$1.7 trillion flows from the developed world to the developing world from a diversified set of actors and with equally distinct motivations, ranging from purely philanthropic to market-rate return on investments. By being innovative in the way development assistance is deployed it can have the potential to extend the reach and effectiveness of the aid through for example the complementary deployment of private capital i.e. by blending public and private funds for enhanced development results. The development assistance then has the potential to expand the pool of foreign and domestic capital available for economic development for e.g. small and medium enterprises, Agriculture
, infrastructure and key public services.
UNCDF uses a combination of grant, reimbursable grant, loans, guarantees and/or technical assistance to support early stage businesses, SMEs, projects, microfinance institutions and municipal investments. Up till today UNCDF’s use of loans and guarantees is growing and there is now an ambition to make better use of these financial instruments and the last year has seen a steep increase in the issuance of loans and guarantees. UNCDF works to provide Access to Finance
by using a range of financial products is available to all segments of society, at a reasonable cost, and on a sustainable basis. UNCDF has also seen a strong increase in demand for its services with regard to financial instruments from other UN agencies, not least UNDP, and UNCDF is now building a service function to be able to respond to this demand. Another workstream is to set up a joint fund with a third-party fund manager to attract other type of capital to UNCDF’s pipeline of projects. It will require some active structuring with the use of guarantees and loans.
Moving forward, UNCDF aims to ensure that its investment and finance capacities benefit the wider UN Development System (UNDS) under the “One UN” approach and contribute to strengthening overall enabling environments that make countries more attractive to private investors. Resident Coordinators (RCs) and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) at country level are looking for entry points to support public/private coalitions around financing of the SDGs but lack the knowledge and capacity to “cross-walk” to the private sector, particularly the investment community. With adequate resourcing, UNCDF is ideally positioned to provide the expertise and peer networks to support, upon request, such country-based expertise and ensure the capacities are put in service to UNDP and the wider UN system – and to use those demonstration effects to support government-led reforms to the business climate.
UNCDF will achieve this objective by working simultaneously at two levels: (i) at the policy and enabling environment level and (ii) at the transactional level, by creating concrete demonstration effects that can help feed into and support the policy and advocacy work of the UNDS at the country level geared to making countries more attractive to private investors. This dual focus is mutually reinforcing and essential to UNCDF’s theory of change. The work to source and finance SDG-aligned transactions will provide the lessons and evidence that other agencies can use to support government-led reforms to the business climate. Moreover, by deliberately capturing and broadcasting that knowledge, other UN agencies can showcase to wider pools of investors the opportunities for SDG-aligned investing in LDCs.
To this end, UNCDF can put its capital mandate and wider toolbox of financial instruments, including loans and guarantees, at the service of the UN system by providing Investment Specialists that support RCs and the UNCTs in the field; this will allow other agencies to leverage UNCDF’s accumulated expertise on issues of blended finance as well as its existing investment management policies, procedures, and systems.
In this context, the Least Developed Countries Investment Platform (LDCIP) pillar is envisaging the creation of four new country-based Investment Specialists staff positions, embedded with its HQ team. UNCDF’s LDC Investment Platform (LDCIP) serves as UNCDF’s centre of excellence on innovative development finance by creating the conditions for investment viability in the “missing middle” or in riskier market segments. The aim of the LDCIP is to be part of a system that (a) demonstrates to domestic and international investors that LDC markets can and do generate returns, provide opportunities for successful investment, and merit the attention of a wider range of investors and that (b) uses those demonstration effects to support policy and regulatory improvements and scale up by other actors of what works. All these new country based- staff roles will be reporting to the UNCDF’s Investment Platform Director, based in New York, USA and will be stationed in UNCDF’s country offices in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal respectively – covering up to three different countries in their respective regions and actively supporting up to three different UNCTs.
At the policy level, this country level Investment Specialist will be able to offer advisory support to RCs, upon request at the country level, to help governments identify and respond to barriers to attracting long-term finance for the SDGs, including in relation to the so-called “missing middle,” i.e. small and medium enterprises (SMEs) finance. This would include using lessons learned from the demonstration effects of blended finance transactions to support government-led policy reforms; convening and engaging with private capital and businesses to understand the opportunities and challenges they face to integrate SDG support into their business models; working with governments to design and implement new financing vehicles or mechanisms that can catalyze private investment for the SDGs; and capturing and sharing knowledge from specific transactions to help deepen financial markets and improve local investment climates.
At the transactional level, the exact contours of support in each country will depend on national priorities and the UN Sustainable Development Country Frameworks (UNSDCFs). (It is important to note in this context that the new UNSDCF guidance includes a strong focus on strategic finance, where few RCs/UNCTs are currently equipped to engage meaningfully but is an area where they will be increasingly seeking to be active). The transactional work undertaken by UNCDF and other actors has proven to be especially effective in stimulating SME growth. Indeed, SMEs are the mainstay of many LDC economies and play an essential role in creating formal employment, empowering women and youth, and reducing inequalities. Similarly, essential small-scale local infrastructure projects can foster local economic development and contribute to the “leave no one behind” agenda. However, their development is often hindered by their difficulty in accessing adequately structured and priced finance.
UNCDF is looking to build a cohesive and well-knit team of Investment Specialist, with prior substantive work-experience and strong technical expertise in areas of SME finance (Agribusiness and/or clean energy space); Project finance, especially Public Private Partnerships in a municipal context; Managing Guarantee instruments; Investment in frontier markets’ financial institutions and strong advocacy work, promoting business environments in Africa/emerging markets.
This P-4 level role is based in Conotou, Benin and is a re-advertisement. Previous applicants are welcome to apply. The role requires full french language fluency.
Summary of key functions:
This country based LDCIP Investment Specialist will aim to ensure that UNCDF’s investment and finance capacities benefit the wider UN Development System (UNDS) at country level. In her/his capacity, she/he will work with the UN Country Teams (UNCTs) which is composed of the different UN agencies present in the country, operating under the coordination of the UN Resident Coordinator (RC). About 80% of her/his time will be dedicated towards the below three work-objectives
While 20% of her/his time will be dedicated at supporting the UNCT, under the supervision of the RC, on issues of strategic finance more broadly and particularly helping governments put in place sound enabling environments for attracting long-term private finance.
Detailed Description of Job Roles and Responsibilities
1) Sourcing and screening of investment opportunities
· Work with a range of UN agencies in different countries to identify revenue-generating projects across their programmatic operations that require additional investment to grow and have a greater impact.
· If and where needed, initiate new specific sourcing activities such as requests for proposals, challenge funds, market scans, etc..
2) Business advisory support to selected prospects
· Provide pre-investment business advisory support to prospects that show strong commercial and impact promise but are still not considered “investment ready” by investors, it may include drafting business plans, building financial models, valuing assets, registering land, initiating feasibility assessments, defining Standard Operating procedures, etc.
· Provide post-investment business advisory support to investees to ensure a continued growth of the business and the social impact, including successful management of debt/equity
3) Due Diligence and Capital Deployment
· Assess company financial accounts (balance sheet, income statement and cash flow Analysis) of the prospective investee
· Conduct onsite due diligence of the investment opportunity, including company, industry and country analysis, and prepare the required documentation.
· Smartly use UN concessional funding to improve the prospects probability to also access more commercial finance.
· Follow and comply with UNCDF’s investment policy and procedures for approval, including presenting the transactions to an Independent Impact Investment Committee.
· Deploy grants and/or concessional loans and guarantees to selected prospects.
4) Matchmaking with Commercial Capital and Structuring
· Develop a network of potential financiers, beyond the traditional financiers, to increase the fundraising potential of different UN agencies for revenue generating investment opportunities.
· Collect information about potential financiers and populate a central investment matchmaking platform.
· Support selected prospects to access additional commercial funds by matchmaking them with a variety of financiers, such as domestic investors, local commercial banks, international impact investors, and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs
· Help structuring transactions to enable investees to access adequate volume and quality of capital.
5) Advocacy and Knowledge Management
· Adopt approaches to ensure that the lessons learned from the transactional work are captured and disseminated. Document and share lessons learned from the transactional work to inform investors, government officials, DFIs, and development partners.
· Initiate policy work based on the experience of Country Team investments to both demonstrate the commerciality of transactions, as well as the barriers to accessing adequate finance for investments in areas related to the SDGs and national priorities.
· Support Country Team, coordinated by the RC, to engage and convene governments, financiers, and private sector businesses around an actionable agenda for mobilizing more investments for the SDGs.
· Engage with governments and other relevant stakeholders to design and implement reforms or mechanisms that can catalyze more private investment for the SDGs.
Support the development of national ecosystems and financing architecture that get finance flowing to where it is most needed.
Partnership and Networking: Ability to build the relations and to develop a network of relevant external contacts, as well as internally across different teams.
Analytical and Research Skills: Including the ability to analyze company reports, sector data, economics and relevant political events
Financial Analysis & Modeling: Credit analysis skills and ability to analyze company`s financial statements and make commercial assessments. Financial Modeling
Change Management: Ability to contribute to setting up administrative structures, financial product design and propose adequate processes for loan and guarantee management in UNCDF
Knowledge Management: Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge
· An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Economics, Finance, or Business Administration
. A professional Accountancy/Financial qualification with master’s equivalence is also acceptable.
· A first university degree in related fields, with two additional years of relevant experience will also be acceptable, in lieu of a master’s degree.
· Chartered Financial Analyst
(CFA) diploma, or similar, is regarded as an asset.
Required Experience & Technical Competency Profile
· A minimum of sever 7 years of relevant work experience in either the financial sector or the private sector or a mix, preferably with investment and/or business management expertise.
· Experience working in venture capital and/or Banking
within an international financial environment, preferably in development finance institution, impact investor or similar, is highly preferable.
· Experience in private credit and/or equity for investments with a social mission in emerging/frontier markets, is highly preferable.
· Experience in project preparation and/or in development of investment opportunities, especially for projects in developing countries.
Additional/Substantive Work-Experience in any one or more of the below-mentioned investment/operational work-areas is considered highly preferable.
o SME finance, preferably in the agribusiness and/or clean energy space.
o Project finance, especially for projects structured as Public Private Partnership in a municipal context.
o Managing Guarantee instruments and their application to different types of financial structures.
o Investment in financial institutions, preferably in frontier markets.
o Advocacy work, promoting business environments
Further, the interested applicant should be to demonstrate:
· Active interest in investing in developing countries and understanding of emerging market environments, opportunities and barriers to investing
· Strong knowledge of financial markets and financing for sustainable development, with ability to apply it to strategic and/or practical situations.
· Full familiarity with a range of debt and equity instruments.
· Competency with financial modeling and analysis in Microsoft excel.
· Ability to work in a multicultural environment, with a willingness to travel
· Computer literacy, including proficient use of research and applied software.
Full working proficiency in English is required
Full working proficiency in both English & French is required for Benin position.
Knowledge of any other local/regional languages knowledge will be considered an asset.