South Africa nationals: Research Officer - Inclusive Agricultural Finance

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Pretoria, South Africa 🇿🇦


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center is seeking a dynamic & multi skilled candidate to join its office in Pretoria, South Africa, as a Research Officer – Inclusive Agricultural Finance.

“Ukama Ustawi, a Regional Integrated Initiative of CGIAR, aims to support climate-resilient agriculture and livelihoods in 12 countries in East and Southern Africa by assisting millions of smallholders in intensifying, diversifying, and de-risking maize-mixed farming through improved extension services, enterprise development, and private investment. One pathway to success is unlocking access to funding, investment, and technical assistance: opening doors to capital from financiers in support of innovative environmental and social enterprises and providing tailored technical assistance to agribusinesses, including via CGIAR expertise. To this extent, Ukama Ustawi aims to facilitate $5 million of investment (equity, debt, grants) into up to 50 climate-smart agribusinesses in the next 2 years. This will be achieved through multiple accelerator programs, coordinated under Ukama Ustawi’s Work Package Three, “Business Acceleration.”

IWMI is searching for a research officer to address Africa’s food, water, and climate change challenges through research and development. The successful candidate will work closely with the Ukama Ustawi Work Package Three team (Business Acceleration) to support activities related to the launch of a call for applications for the first cohort of the accelerator program.

The candidate, therefore, should have a strong background in agricultural economics and agricultural development, as well as hands-on experience in designing experimental research for business and financing models.

The Research Officer is expected to implement research for development on sustainable and inclusive financing modalities for investing in climate-smart agricultural innovations and agricultural and water management solutions in East and Southern Africa. Research approaches will combine technical understanding of water management and farming systems in a changing climate. The person will facilitate public and private sector engagement and partnerships to accelerate investment in agricultural innovation scaling and adoption. Finally, the person will support the monitoring of climate-smart research activities of the CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative in East and Southern Africa.”


Develop inclusive financing modalities for investments in climate-resilient innovations,

  • Design research to develop irrigation investment cases and financing models for climate-resilient agriculture.
  • Provide administrative support for the Food Systems Accelerator program spanning four African countries.
  • Co-develop and implement a climate-smart agriculture framework enabling the quantification of sustainability outputs for agri-investors.

Contribute to research outputs resulting from the technical assistance provided to agribusinesses in the Food Systems Accelerator.

Facilitate public and private sector engagement and partnerships to accelerate investment in agricultural innovation scaling and adoption,

  • Initiate and facilitate collaborations and partnerships with research institutions, public, and private sector partners active in the finance, agriculture, and irrigation sectors in East and Southern Africa.
  • Contribute to scaling the inclusive financing modality for investments in climate-resilient innovations with the public and private sectors.
  • Identify potential investors and create an investor database.



  • Masters degree in agricultural economics, development studies, finance, business management, business administration or related disciplines.
  • A minimum of 2 years of experience in research or development work related to agricultural finance and investment, development studies, and financial business models.
  • Demonstrated experience and insights into the agri-entrepreneurship sector.
  • Experience collaborating with research institutions and private sector partners from various disciplines.
  • Previous internship experience in consulting, venture capital, private equity, or startups.


  • Demonstrated interest in corporate sustainability, ESG criteria, and inclusive business or sustainable finance.
  • Proficiency in utilizing a blend of qualitative and quantitative research methods and participatory approaches to design and conduct field research within a systems thinking context.
  • Strong ability to communicate research findings effectively in English.


  • Excellent oral and written language skills in English, including effective listening and strong verbal and written communication abilities.
  • Proficiency in local languages spoken in cocoa-producing regions.


This is a nationally recruited position and only South African nationals will be considered. IWMI offers a competitive salary and benefits package, inclusive of health insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and long-term disability coverage. The duration of the contract will initially be for a period of two years.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) on October 05, 2023 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Your application must include a CV, cover letter, and three (3) references, which may be contacted if you are shortlisted. Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

IWMI believes that diversity powers our innovation, contributes to our excellence, and is critical for our mission. We offer a multi-cultural, multi-color, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary working environment. We are consciously creating an inclusive organization that reflects our global character and our commitment to gender equity. We, therefore, encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, and gender identities.





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