Country Director at Access Finance Rwanda

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Job description

About Access Finance Rwanda

Access Finance Rwanda (AFR) seeks to build a deeper and more inclusive financial sector that supports the livelihoods and well-being of low-income people in Rwanda. It was founded in 2010 by the Governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom.

AFR focuses on increasing access to and usage of financial services to improve people’s lives. AFR is currently in the final year of its second strategic phase, which finishes in April 2021. AFR’s current funding envelope is supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), formerly Department for International Development (DFID), The Mastercard Foundation (MCF), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Rwanda’s financial landscape has been progressing, and exceptional gains have been made in expanding access to finance over the last decade. Rwanda has the ambition to reach lower-middle-income status by 2024 and sees the deepening of the financial sector as a key channel to mobilize capital and investment, sustaining a new phase of private sector-led growth. Against this background, SIDA and FCDO have committed funding for AFR’s next strategic phase which will focus on access to finance for investment, growth, and jobs as well as increased resilience of marginalized groups through increased financial inclusion. Preliminary scoping work has shown that AFR’s finance for growth agenda will seek to generate impact in agriculture and light manufacturing due to these sectors’ job creation potential while continuing to champion digital finance and targeted FSD network collaborations in affordable housing. A more detailed draft strategy is currently under development which the new Country Director (CD ) is expected to own and adapt.

AFR follows a market systems development approach. This approach seeks to influence the way markets work so that poor people can engage alongside other key actors and can join in the benefits of growth and economic development. The approach applies the operational principles of facilitation and adaptive management to achieve systemic change. This requires a detailed understanding of (financial) market systems and a clear vision of the future. AFR looks to address identified systemic constraints and opportunities to bring about large-scale and sustainable change. Importantly, AFR is a facilitator or market catalyst, and not a market player or provider of financial services.

A broad range of partnerships is core to AFR’s work encompassing both public and private sector actors, the former including regulators and policymakers, and the latter including local and international financial service providers, fintechs, and service providers. AFR also works with civil society actors such as local NGOs and community-based providers.

About the Role

Access to Finance Rwanda is seeking to appoint a visionary, strategic, and committed Country Director (CD) who will be responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the organization. Working closely with AFR’s governance bodies and private and public sector partners, the Country Director will provide guidance and leadership, consolidate learning, and strengthen the organization to ensure that AFR remains at the cutting edge in promoting financial sector development that benefits poor people as well as finance for investment, growth, and jobs.

In response to AFR’s ongoing objective to strengthen its application of the market systems approach, AFR has embarked on an ambitious plan to revise its strategy, systems, results framework, processes, and human resources. The new CD will play a key role in finalizing this organizational change process.

The CD will be supported by a Head of Programmes and Head of Finance and Operations to ensure that the organization has the capability to be programmatically effective.


The Country Director will be based at the AFR offices in Kigali. The post will require frequent national and some international travel. The CD is expected to play an active role in the pan-African FSD network which spans nine (9) sister organizations across the region.

Key Responsibilities:

Thought Leadership and Strategy

Provide thought leadership to the AFR team and stakeholders, supporting the development of innovative strategies for enhancing inclusiveness and growth of Rwanda’s financial sector and, through that, supporting targeted areas of the real economy:

  • Identify relevant new thinking across the field by keeping up to date with developments in the financial sector; engage with the international financial sector development community to bring global best practices and key innovations back to AFR
  • Review learning from AFR Partners’ and from the FSD Network; use the insights gained to identify opportunities for AFR and develop theories of change related to those
  • Proactively engage with key stakeholders, including the Board and its committees, team members, donors, government, policymakers, regulators, and private sector players in order to incorporate their perspectives and priorities into AFR strategies
  • Actively contribute to the FSD Network through the FSD Network Council and various collaborative efforts
  • Lead the development of a whole country strategy and balanced portfolio of projects, staying true to market system development principles; secure Board approval for strategy and any subsequent adjustments
  • Lead and provide support to key staff in the development of AFR’s annual operations and business planning processes, ensuring all activities are planned, budgeted, and aligned with the agreed strategy.

Leadership and Empowerment of the Team

Take the lead in developing and building an AFR team that is fully engaged and committed to delivering the overall objectives of AFR; drive the development and execution of the overall people strategy and systems:

  • Ensure the organisation has a fit-for-purpose structure in place, and an appropriate complement of qualified, competent, and motivated staff for the achievement of AFR’s agreed plans
  • Build an effective and coordinated team, aligned behind shared strategies and values; troubleshoot any teamwork challenges, conflicts, or performance bottlenecks
  • Lead and manage the team towards high standards of performance through clear roles and responsibilities and provision of appropriate support; proactively address performance issues through timely constructive feedback, coaching and appropriate corrective action
  • Build and encourage talent through on-going staff development, succession planning, career management and utilisation of a leadership style that will drive employee engagement
  • Ensure development of an inclusive environment; lead the development and implementation of policies and ways-of-working that provide for diversity and equal opportunities
  • Ensure staff are managed in accordance with good HR management practice and provided with a safe and conducive working environment; includes ensuring that all legal and statutory obligations are fulfilled

Strategic Relationship Management

Build relationships with key actors; ensure the development and implementation of influencing strategies and interventions that drive mindset change and widespread uptake of pro-poor and pro-development financial practices:

  • Ensure AFR builds on its reputation as a well-respected thought leader in financial sector development in Rwanda, particularly as it pertains to influencing the direction of the financial sector
  • Lead the process of stakeholder analysis to determine key players who have the potential to contribute to the achievement of AFR’s strategic goals; establish and actively sustain productive relationships with key individuals in these
  • Establish a robust research agenda that builds a relevant fact-base to influence behaviour within government agencies, market leaders (public and private), and other key stakeholders
  • Support the communication lead and others in the development, implementation and management of a comprehensive influencing and communications strategy that will result in transformative change
  • Personally contribute to the implementation of the influencing and knowledge management objectives including:
  • Publishing papers and articles in relevant journals
  • Engaging in conferences and high-profile forums
  • Liaising with major institutions and government departments; especially national policy-makers and implementers
  • Acting in an advisory role to national and international (strategic level) partner organisations
  • Harmonising strategies and coordinating efforts with other key development players

Governance of AFR

Work with the AFR Board and its committees to develop and implement effective governance for AFR; lead the development of appropriate policies, procedures, structures and systems:

  • Support effective governance by reviewing and implementing a framework for reporting and facilitating Board decision-making that will enable the Board to fulfil its governance functions, in accordance with statutory requirements and its own charter
  • In collaboration with the Board, lead the review, refinement, and monitoring of policies and procedures, to ensure alignment with sound practice, along with relevance and responsiveness to the market and key external stakeholders
  • Ensure that systems, procedures, and action plans that are aligned with Board directives are developed and consistently followed by team members; account to the Board for the success of the investment process and achievement of results
  • Take the lead in identifying and advising the Board of risks; bearing accountability for ensuring that a comprehensive understanding of AFR’s risks has been developed and that strategies are in place and implemented for effective risk management
  • Oversee the development, review, and execution of agreements/contracts; bear ultimate responsibility for managing AFR’s exposure to risk

Impactful Interventions

Lead the team to achieve operational goals and effectively manage learning; ensuring that quality of performance meets the standards and expectations of the strategic plan and key stakeholders (Board and funders):

  • Ensure that investments are chosen to maximise progress towards the achievement of AFR’s mission and optimise value for money; aim to increase effectiveness over time and preferentially deploy limited resources on activities with the greatest impact
  • Assume overall accountability for programme and project design and delivery, from inception to implementation; lead the team in the pursuit of impact and excellence
  • Ensure that systems, tools and ways-of-working are in place to continually monitor and manage impact and ensure timely, quality delivery against annual work plans; ensure that learning is fed back into the development of future business plans and strategy (adaptive management), and foster a culture of academic integrity and learning
  • Regularly liaise with funders and other stakeholders to jointly strategize and co-design impactful projects and interventions; continuously engage with stakeholders to determine their level of satisfaction with AFR’s performance, impact, and contribution

Financial Viability, Risk and Resource Management

Ensure the financial accountability and thus viability of AFR through effective resource mobilisation and management; ensuring that financial risks are identified and adequately managed:

  • Drive the development of AFR’s funding base, ensuring a variety of donor funding and build strong relationships of mutual trust with those funders
  • Monitor the financial performance of AFR ensuring that planned strategic and operational activities are implemented in a timely manner and that all funds are appropriately accounted for
  • Ensure the development and implementation of an internal audit plan; lead the implementation of corrective actions arising, and create a culture of continuous improvement
  • Ensure that AFR’s financial management complies with national and international financial reporting standards and other regulations; and that financial record keeping will support effective auditing and timely reporting to both the funders and the Board
  • Develop and maintain a risk management framework and effective policies for AFR; clearly define AFR’s risk appetite including the level and type of risks AFR is willing to take in achieving its strategic objectives
  • Support the Director Finance & Admin to strategically manage the resources of the organisation (finances, people, assets, procurements and vendor management); ensuring compliance with AFR’s and funders’ policies and with international good practice in resource management

Core Competencies:

Setting Strategy

  • The ability to create and articulate an inspiring vision for the organisation
  • The inclination to seek and analyse data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organisation’s overall strategy
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organisation and push the boundaries within the financial system in Rwanda
  • The ability to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organisation is capable of handling, to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful

Executing Results

  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organisation to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations
  • A risk-taker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended circumstances from decisions; someone who takes smart risks
  • A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in his/her approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the organisation

Leading Teams

  • The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others
  • The ability to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers
  • A leader who is self-reflective and aware of his/her own limitations; leads by example and drives the organisation’s performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self- improvement

Relationships and Influence

  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive
  • Encourages others to share the spotlight and visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team
  • Creates a sense of purpose for the team that generates motivation beyond his/her own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the organisation as a whole

Does this sound like you?

Professional Background:

  • Significant management experience at a senior level within the financial (or another relevant) sector
  • Deep experience of working in financial inclusion and in financial market system development; demonstrating thought leadership at the cutting edge; driving change, and creating opportunities for growth
  • Demonstrated experience in formulating, developing, and implementing new strategies; strong analytical skills with experience in utilizing data to define organizational strategy
  • Strong relationship management experience with a proven track record of influencing a diverse range of stakeholders at the highest levels (within Rwanda or cross-culturally if applying from outside Rwanda)
  • A successful track record achieving results in a complex or pioneering environment
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, manage and develop a high performing organization composed of both technical and operational staff
  • Significant professional experience of working in emerging economies, ideally in Rwanda or, if not, elsewhere in East Africa.

Personal Attributes:

  • Commitment to the inclusive financial sector development agenda
  • Committed to delivering high quality results, with cost-effective use of resources
  • Highly professional, organised and efficient, able to multitask effectively and prioritise work based on minimal direction and multiple competing priorities
  • Integrity and high personal ethical standards
  • Can-do approach, a driven self-starter with high levels of initiative
  • Innovative and enterprising approach that is quick to search out alternative solutions to needs or problems
  • Positive, flexible, supportive attitude to work
  • Exhibits a helpful behaviour beyond strict job requirements
  • Discreet and respects confidentiality.

Method of Application

Submit your CV and Application on Company Website : Click Here Closing Date : 13th December, 2020.

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