Hiring Organization: Creative Associates International

R&D COVID-19 Officer

West Africa Trade & Investment Hub


Creative Associates International is a dynamic, fast-growing global development firm that specializes in education, economic growth, democratic institutions and stabilization. Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has a field presence in more than 25 countries with a strong client portfolio that includes the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, among others. Since its founding in 1977, Creative has earned a solid reputation among its clients and is well-regarded by competitors and partners alike.

Project Summary:

The USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (hereinafter referred to as the Trade Hub) is a five-year, $140 million trade and investment facilitation activity that seeks to improve private sector competitiveness in West Africa through a market-based approach. By working in partnership with the private sector and fostering co-investments, the project will generate new private-sector capital investment into key sectors to create jobs and increase trade between the U.S. and West Africa, including through increased utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The project comprises of three main components:

Design and administration of a Co-Investment fund for private sector partnerships, including a portion for partnerships targeting modernization in agriculture with Research and Development (R&D) initiatives;
Technical assistance (TA) that directly supports, coordinates, and engages with qualifying recipients (i.e., partners and grantees) to achieve USAID’s trade and food security objectives;
Urgently respond to the secondary economic impacts of COVID-19, notably to 1) increase access of working capital with financial actors, 2) prevent and mitigate job losses, and 3) help respond to local and regional supply chain disruptions and shortages of critical medical supplies and services as well as for agricultural inputs and food staples.

The R&D component of the Trade Hub’s Co-Investment Fund aims to support proven technologies and innovations in agriculture on a grant matching principle with public/private sector actors and research institutions that promote smallholder farmer productivity and incomes in Nigeria. The component engages with R&D organizations with initiatives that engage in smallholder productivity and/or processing improvements and align with the Trade Hub’s targeted value chains (maize, soy, rice, cowpea, aquaculture) and regions (Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Benue).

Position Summary:

The R&D COVID-19 Officer will support R&D efforts in establishing co-investment projects related to agriculture and COVID-19 rapid response in Nigeria. The R&D COVID-19 Officer’s responsibilities will include:

Building partnerships with private and public sector organizations and firms implementing new and innovative technologies in agriculture and operating in Trade Hub’s strategic target sectors in Nigeria, primarily within five value chains (maize, rice, soy, cowpea, aquaculture) and seven target states (Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Benue, Delta, Cross River);
Leveraging existing network and contacts to engage with private and public agricultural/agricultural research organizations in Nigeria to achieve proven results;
Completing preliminary analysis and evaluations of potential agricultural research and innovation projects;
Conducting and supporting technical screening efforts of potential R&D partners to the Trade Hub;
Supporting grantees during the implementation of activities as the technical point of contact.

Reporting and Supervision:

The R R&D COVID-19 Officer will report to the R&D Partnerships Director with additional support provided by the Technical Director and PPP Director.

Primary Responsibilities:

The R&D COVID-19 Officer will be primarily responsible for:

Identifying strategic partnership opportunities in close coordination with the R&D Director to develop and expand partnerships pipeline for the Trade Hub co-investment grants.
Maintaining the CRM system (Smartsheets) to track the pipeline, log discussions and update with notes from meetings with potential R&D applicants
Developing comprehensive mappings of key actors already operating or in the process of developing solutions related to targeted agricultural value chains to enhance the quality of the existing pipeline.
Facilitating registration and application process with potential R&D applicants on the SMART grants’ online platform.
Collecting and reviewing information from potential co-investment grantees to ensure strategic fit, market potential and cost sharing ability.
Completing preliminary analysis and investment memos for projects and partners and provide recommendations for shortlisting.
Managing and participating in internal risk reviews and presentations, conducting proposal meetings, assigning tasks and setting deadlines, tracking progress, communicating information from partners and internal project departments, and ensuring that project’s technical and contractual requirements and deadlines are met.
Assisting the R&D and Technical Director rollout new R&D grant co-investment activities and project reporting.
Providing inputs for project annual work plans in accordance with the Trade Hub scope.

Required Skills and Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in agronomy or relevant field is mandatory. Graduate degree is strongly preferred. However, in circumstances where a candidate possesses exceptional relevant experience but lacks a graduate degree (defined as a minimum of 8 years of experience), the exceptional relevant post-education experience will be considered.
Minimum of 5 years of work experience, preferably with experience working with agricultural private sector in Nigeria, notably within the five target value chains (maize, rice, soy, cowpea, aquaculture).
Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with institutional and private sector partners and stakeholders, including research institutions.
Excellent written and spoken communication skills required, including ability to manage clients and prepare presentations for clients and partners.
Experience working on USAID programs preferred.
Experience managing a project with a high volume of grants desired.
Problem solving, stress management and time management skills are required
Proficient at using Microsoft office software: MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. Prior experience using web-based applications preferred.
Fluency in one or more of the local languages used in Nigeria is preferred.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their CVs as PDF or word format as one document to [email protected]
Local candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
Only finalists will be contacted.  No phone calls, please.
Creative Associates International Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Disability/Veteran.