UN Offices

Investment Specialist (4 Vacancies - Multiple Locations)

UN Offices

Job Description

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 communities 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 grants, reimbursable grants, loans, and guarantees mixed with technical assistance to support early stage and growth businesses: SMEs, microfinance institutions and municipal investment projects. UNCDF is structured around on-balance-sheet de-risking investments and off-balance-sheet third party managed funds, for which UNCDF sources pipeline aligned with the SDGs, particularly in Least Developed Countries.  UNCDF’s balance sheet portfolio of loans and guarantees is growing, and demand for support from the wider UN System is accelerating.   UNCDF is now establishing a country-based network of investment specialists to identify opportunities for financial intermediation in left behind areas, and to respond to immediate and latent demand for support within the UN country teams. UNCDF is also actively working to ensure pipeline development in the context of its partnership with its new third party managed funds. Each investment should provide an immediate social impact.  At the same time, interventions should aim at finding deals which by their demonstration develop markets and break new ground for commercial finance. It may mean supporting an innovative structure or piloting a new untested idea which can, if successful, be  taken to scale by more commercial players than the UN. Domestic and international banks, including IFI/DFIs, institutional and individual investors, philanthropic offices, and capital markets are all important and potential collaborators. UNCDF aims to ensure that its investment and finance capacities contribute to development efforts of the wider UN Development System (UNDS) and contribute to strengthening overall enabling environments that make countries more attractive to private investors. Investment Specialists will provide the needed support at country level to innovate finance solutions in support of the full range of SDGs by assisting interested UN Country Team members  to identify viable entry points to support impactful public/private coalitions, particularly where other actors may lack the knowledge and capacity to “cross-walk” to the private sector, particularly the investment community. UNCDF investment specialists will engage with other UNCDF staff at country level, and with relevant UN partners, to work 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 be scaled and thereby support the work of the UN at the country level to make 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 to support government-led reforms in the business area and to provide demonstration value to wider pools of investors on 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 UN efforts at country level; this will allow other UN actors to leverage UNCDF’s accumulated expertise on issues of blended finance as well as its existing investment management policies, procedures, and systems. The four country-based positions are coordinated locally by the designated UNCDF country focal point for purposes of internal coherence at country level. They report to the Director of the LDC/IP (Least Developed Countries Investment Platform) unit, based in New York. The LDC/IP serves as UNCDF’s center of excellence on development finance by creating the conditions for investment viability in the “missing middle” or in riskier market segments. The aim of the LDC/IP 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. The four Investment Specialists will be stationed alongside other UNCDF staff (normally on UNDP premises) in Benin, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal.  Each Investment Specialist will cover up to three-four additional countries in the respective sub-region, as articulated in the project and donor agreements. At the policy level, the Investment Specialists will be able to offer advisory support to UN convenings and initiatives (through the RC, RR, other actors), 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 UNSDCF guidance includes a strong focus on strategic finance, where UNCDF expertise can be particularly useful to UN system Analysis and action. 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 Specialists, with prior substantive work-experience and strong technical expertise in areas of SME finance (primarily agribusiness and/or clean energy space) and/or Project finance, especially Public Private Partnerships and/or Managing Guarantee instruments and/or Investment in frontier markets’ financial institutions and/or strong advocacy work, promoting business environments in Africa/emerging markets. Duties and Responsibilities The country based LDC/IP Investment Specialists will translate UNCDF’s investment and finance capacities and mandate into the local country setting, as an active partner to members of the UN Country Team and contributing to the wider UN Development System (UNDS) efforts toward supporting the country’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Investment Specialist is expected to deploy approximately 80% of her/his time towards the below three work objectives:
  • Identifying investment opportunities which contribute to positive and scalable SDG outcomes;

  • Providing pre-investment business advisory support to increase their “bankability”

  • Deploying concessional financial instruments with the intent of unlocking additional commercial finance;

The Investment Specialist is expected to spend approximately 20% of her/his time in response to demands from the wider UN System to support wider dialogue and policy processes led by other UN agencies, the RC, and government, providing context and analysis, participating in advocacy and communications campaigns, contributing appropriately to SDG Fund applications and initiatives, and public events, particularly helping governments with activities which help put in place sound enabling environments for attracting long-term private finance. As part of UNCDF’s global staff and peer network on investment expertise, Investment Specialists will contribute to lessons and knowledge, to overall monitoring and reporting, and will contribute to corporate initiatives when and as called upon. Summary of key functions:
  • Sourcing and Screening of Investment Opportunities

  • Business Advisory Support to Selected Prospects

  • Due Diligence and Capital Deployment

  • Matchmaking with Commercial Capital and Structuring

  • Advocacy and Knowledge Management

Detailed Description of Job Roles and Responsibilities Sourcing and screening of investment opportunities:
  • Work with a range of UN agencies in different countries to identify innovative 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..

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

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 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.

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 innovative transactions to enable investees to access adequate volume and quality of capital.

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 members, in convenings, events, advocacy, communication, planning, and analysis related to strategic financing and investment 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.

Competencies Core Compentencies:
  • Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work;

  • Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow;

  • People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction;

  • Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform;

  • Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Technical/Functional Compentencies: Primary: Time Management 
  • Ability to work on multiple opportunities across products and sectors while working to deadlines and managing time effectively.

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

Secondary: Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge

Required Skills and Experience Education:
  • 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.

Professional Experieince:
  • A minimum of seven (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 an asset.
    • SME finance, preferably in the agribusiness and/or clean energy space.

    • Project finance, especially for projects structured as Public Private Partnership in a municipal context.

    • Managing Guarantee instruments and their application to different types of financial structures.

    • Investment in financial institutions, preferably in frontier markets.

    • Advocacy work, promoting business environments

    • Familiarity or experience working in or with inter-governmental bodies or public sector entities


Further, the interested applicants should be able 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,

  • Readiness to travel and work “on the road” for at least one third of their time

  • Computer literacy, including proficient use of research and applied software.

Language Requirement:
  • Full proficiency in verbal, written and comprehension of English is required

  • Full proficiency in verbal and written in both English & French is required for Benin and Senegal positions.

  • Knowledge of any other local/ regional languages knowledge will be considered an asset.

Disclaimer Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications. Applicant information about UNDP rosters Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements. Workforce diversity UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. Scam warning The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web. Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications. Applicant information about UNDP rosters Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements. Workforce diversity UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. Scam warning The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.
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