Job: AgriFin Accelerate is looking for a Country Director – Tanzania


AgriFin Accelerate seeks to address the inclusion gap for smallholder farmers who lack access to affordable, accessible, demand-driven products and services that drive higher productivity and income for farm families. The AgriFin Accelerate program utilizes a market ecosystem approach, working with carefully selected partners to build sustainable models, where farm and crop management tools and financial services are “bundled” in affordable, unified platforms leveraging digital channels to promote mass uptake commercially.  The program involves three interrelated components that seek to address low farmer productivity and capability, and improve institutional ability to deliver appropriate products and build ecosystems to drive scale. We work with farmers, banks, mobile network operators, MFIs, research institutes and other ecosystem players in well-defined partnerships to sustainably bundle services, leveraging the offer and outreach of all partners, while increasing the range of services, access points and value for farmers. The program works with partners to identify, prototype, test and scale successful digitally-enabled services for smallholders, with a key focus on expanding access to financial services, using a rapid iteration approach to product development and client-centric design techniques.

Our project goal is for smallholder farmers to gain full access to impactful, demand-driven, technology-enabled financial products, tools, channels and knowledge that significantly increase farm productivity and family income, delivered by vibrant ecosystems of diverse service providers.  Program operations will take place in three countries anchored around a central “Hub” officeKenya, expanding to serve Tanzania and Zambia over a two year timeline.

The Agrifin Accelerate Tanzania Director (AATD) will be responsible for the implementation of the overall country program in Tanzania, including formulating and managing the program inception/research phase, establishing the country office, hiring and managing well qualified staff and consultants, followed by establishing program partnerships, conceptualizing and leading project development with program partners to fulfill program objectives and targets.  The AATD will be responsible for overseeing performance of all country projects, supported by technical teams from the Hub office in Kenya, as well as coordinating with other country programming and ensuring that a strong cross-learning, monitoring and evaluation stream of activities is consistently applied.
The AATD will take the lead role in developing and managing private and public sector partnerships for the program, including core partnerships with leading banks, mobile network operators, insurers and technology providers focused on service to smallholder farmers, as well as with other ecosystem partners including farmer unions, MFIs, agricultural buyers and suppliers and insurance providers.  The AATD will provide both technical and project leadership on all program engagements with program partners and ensure adequate internal and external resources are provided to ensure their success.  The AATD will be responsible for managing program budgets and developing country-level program reports to the donor, as well as taking a leading role in overall program thought leadership, contributing to program publications, representation and events.   The AATD will take the lead in communicating country activities and learning within the AFA program.  The AgriFin Accelerate program will align and coordinate the original AgriFin Mobile program and other AgriFin and relevant programming efforts throughout Mercy Corps.


Manage Program Inception & Ongoing Development
  • Lead establishment of the Tanzania office, including country registration, securing premises, operational setup and full hiring, aligned with Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
  • Lead initial country research, including ecosystem, payment and farmer-centric research with strategic partners Dalberg Strategic Advisors. Work with the AgriFin senior management team to develop AgriFin Accelerate program strategies for Tanzania which establish maximize internal and external resources and partner relationships in order to achieve program goals and objectives.
  • Develop and maintain a clear vision and country strategy for the program that can be clearly communicated to team members, government, partners, investors, media, Mercy Corps colleagues and program clients, as well as strong strategic links and cross learning with other AgriFin programming within Mercy Corps, with the support of the AgriFin Accelerate team.
  • Hire and supervise a diverse team, working to build staff skills, and provide leadership on the implementation of the program and provide accountability to the deliverables, objectives and workplan.
  • Lead origination, implementation and ongoing oversight of all contractual relationships with consultants, partners and vendors.
  • Provide strong leadership to staff, promoting teamwork, honesty, efficiency and a commitment and joy for the job.
Develop and Lead Partner Engagements
  • Identify opportunities, conceptualize and strategize business models for bundling of mobile financial and agricultural mobile bundled services.
  • Lead on targeting core and secondary partnerships in Tanzania and take the lead in building and managing key relationships among partners, donors, ecosystem players and other support agencies in a collaborative manner, building and leveraging overall AgriFin and Mercy Corps programming.
  • Work with program partners to structure technical engagements, including digital financial product development, distribution channel development, farmer capability platforms and technology start up support, which build and expand bundled digital services for farmers, ensuring that they meet AgriFin standards and align with the program learning agenda.
  • Serve as technical lead on all Tanzania-based program engagements, leveraging the AgriFin Accelerate matrix team and program consultants, ensuring highest standards of project implementation and building out potential for follow on projects to increase program impact.
  • Lead the process of product development including technology requirements, pricing, and a value proposition for program partners, drawing on technical support from Hub team and consultants, as needed.
  • Develop and write business plans for each of the countries program and partners.
  • Update business plans annually based on new opportunities, including products, financial and outreach projections with the support of technical teams and consultants as needed.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
  • Work closely with Director for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Communications Manager to ensure that program learning is well documented, communicated and aligned with program MEL strategy.
  • Take the lead in country thought leadership linked to program learning goals.
  • Actively engage with Director for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) to document all lessons learned from the program and prepare periodic case studies, beneficiary stories and annual e-books for publication.
  • Lead the process of writing, editing, assembling, and submitting country-level program reports as well as publishing all program related case studies, ebooks and lessons learned.
  • Oversee process of MEL with assistance from program staff.
  • Ensure easy public access to MEL reports and data and make sure they are widely distributed.
  • Facilitate workshops and regular internal and external learning events for effective work planning and capturing of lessons learned.
Program Representation and Communications
  • Develop close and productive working relationships with all project participants and stakeholders – including the primary private sector stakeholders and other ecosystem players, working to establish a shared vision of the project and achieve objectives;
  • Establish and maintain good working relations with the relevant government ministries, as well as other higher-level stakeholder groups.
  • Represent Mercy Corps and AgriFin Accelerate at public events, conferences and workshops to promote the AgriFin Accelerate program and disseminate learnings.
  • Build strong constituencies to include Mercy Corps headquarters and regional teams, national and international investors and partners, government officials, donor community officials, vendors, media and the general public.
  • Lead country level implementation of Mercy Corps’ AgriFin Accelerate’s communication plan in program countries and abroad with the media, donors, colleague NGOs, local partners and the government.
  • Work closely with the Program Director and Regional Program Director to ensure that the AgriFin Accelerate program and its complicated set of activities are woven into overall country and regional strategies so that at no time does it become a stand-alone initiative separated from the broader strategies in which it was intended to function.
Administrative and Operational Responsibilities
  • Establish the country office legal registration, structure, procurement and recruitment and training of staff.
  • Maintain operational systems that ensure proper administrative support for programs and coordination with overall regional programming, as well as segregation of duties while ensuring effective, transparent use of resources in compliance with Mercy Corps and donor policies/procedures.
  • Lead contracting and budget management of contractors and consultants for the country program based on Mercy Corps procedures, with support from AgriFin Accelerate operational team. Ensure all consultant and subgrant agreements are properly structured, ensure that detailed specifications are prepared in a timely, objective, fair and transparent manner, including the reporting responsibilities and administration of terms and awards.
  • Prepare and ensure timely submission of country-level donor and internal Mercy Corps reports.
  • Direct and supervise the day-to-day operations of the country program, working in close coordination with the Program Director and guided by the program planning and workplan.
  • Maintain an adequate human resource plan consistent with Mercy Corps’ policies, including current position descriptions for all positions, personnel orientation and professional development plans, personnel evaluation systems.
  • Manage all aspects of the country program budget within approved spending levels and oversee program cash flow plan to ensure a steady and adequate supply of funds for program activities. Ensure all program funds are spent in accordance with donor rules and regulations including private funds.
  • Maintain strong operational relationships with Mercy Corps finance, administration and logistics teams to ensure clarity and full support of program activities.
Organizational Learning  
As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Tanzania Program Officer, Logistics/Admin Assistant, Finance/HR Assistant, Finance& Reporting Officer and relevant consultants

REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: AgriFin Accelerate Program Director (Kenya)

WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: AgriFin Accelerate Advisory Committee, Zambia Country Director, Regional Program Director, Director for MEL, Finance Manager, Digital Farmer Capability Hub Manager, Technology Product Manager, Agriculture Manager, Financial Services Manager, Program-Related Consultants and other Program Stakeholders

  • Minimum MA/Sc/MBA or equivalent in business administration, information technology, agriculture, finance or related field required;
  • Minimum ten years’ relevant working experience required; preference for experience in both private and public sector and a strong working knowledge of IT, financial services and agriculture;
  • Demonstrated experience in development of digitally-enabled products and services for low income markets, including extensive development of products, pricing, marketing strategies, delivery channels, SWOT analysis, financial projections and building value propositions;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop sustainable and socially actionable business models through partnerships, including private sector, development agencies, advocacy groups and government;
  • Strong experience in developing, working within & maintaining complex programs, organizational relationships & partnerships in the international context;
  • Proven track record of ability to lead and manage projects including workplans, budgets, reporting, HR management and commitment to deliverables and timeframes; with international country office start up experience in Africa preferred,
  • Strong written, oral communication and presentation skills;
  • Full proficiency with MS Office software (i.e., Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), mobile phone applications (i.e. iPhone, Android, USSD, SMS, MMS, WAP, IVR, STK) and project management software (i.e. MS Project) required.
  • Innovative, decisive and inclusive leadership approach
  • Demonstrated technical skills in technology, financial services and/or agriculture
  • Proven experience managing teams
  • Proven experience working within diverse teams
  • Highest sense of responsible financial stewardship
  • Demonstrated self-starter and problem solver
  • Excellent communication and team-building techniques
  • Cultural knowledge, sensitivity and respect
  • Ability to manage ambiguity, frustration and stress in self, partners and others
  • Ability to travel frequently nationally and internationally
  • Ability to maintain a sense of humor throughout.

The position will be based in Dar es Salaam Tanzania and may require minimal travel to other urban centers (less than 10%).  Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city and is the largest city in Eastern Africa by population. It is also the most populous Swahili speaking city in the world. It is situated on the East coast of Africa with an international airport that has flights to most hubs around the world. There are hospitals, supermarkets and international schools available. This is an accompanied post for partners and children.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in country venues.