Investment Specialist


UNDP /UNCDF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. UNDP/UNCDF does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks. The United Nations 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 three channels: inclusive digital economies, connecting individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; local development finance, that capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and investment finance, that provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to Sustainable Development Goal-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 and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a broad diversity of SDGs. UNCDF uses a combination of grant, reimbursable grant, loans, guarantees and technical assistance to support early stage businesses, SMEs, projects, microfinance institutions and municipal investments. Up till today UNCDF’s use of loans and guarantees has been growing and there is now an even higher ambition to make better and wider use of these financial instruments. UNCDF has also seen a strong increase in demand for its loan and guarantee services from other UN agencies, not least UNDP. In response to the need to deploy different kind of risk tolerant capital a blended finance impact fund was launched by Bamboo Capital Partners, as the result of a joint initiative between UNCDF and this private asset manager. The fund, called BUILD, has recently been incorporated and will be able to provide finance to an additional set of potential investees coming from UNCDF and the wider UN system. UNCDF’s LDC Investment Platform (LDCIP) serves as UNCDF’s center of excellence on innovative development finance by creating the conditions for investment viability in financially underserved areas, in the LDCs. The aim of the LDCIP 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 which will help the scale up of investment activities. 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 (Agribusiness and/or clean energy space and/or companies promoting digitalization in the context of financial inclusion); Project finance; Micro finance institutions; Managing Guarantee instruments. LDC Investment Pillar LDCIP team in New York consists of 8 people. 4 investment specialists are focused on transactional work. There is one person managing the TA facility. There is one person responsible for portfolio monitoring, a programme associate and a Director leading the LDCIP pillar team. This fixed-term staff position is based in UNCDF New York Headquarters.

Duties and Responsibilities

The overall responsibility of the Investment Specialist will be to help UNCDF better exploit its investment mandate and architecture. The Investment Specialist will provide guidance throughout the investment process, including the initial assessment of new opportunities, the due diligence and credit analysis, and the monitoring and follow-up of deployed transactions. The Investment Specialist will support UNCDF’s programmes and country teams in sourcing and screening relevant investment opportunities which can be supported through the use of loans and guarantees. The Investment Specialist will carry out independent risk assessments and sometimes help structure the financial transaction. Some investment opportunities will be sourced from the wider UN system and those agencies may need more elaborated support in due diligence and structuring. Some investments may need to be referred to the BUILD fund. Along with the transactional work, it will be important to continuously build new knowledge from investing in different geographies and thematic areas and be able to share that knowledge with UNCDF’s constituency. Lastly, the work will also include activities to partner over new initiatives and raise funds for the same initiatives.  

Summary of key functions:

  1. Sourcing and screening
  2. Due Diligence and Capital Deployment
  3. Knowledge Management and Advocacy
  4. Partnerships and Fundraising Management
1)     Sourcing and screening of investment opportunities
  • Identify revenue-generating projects across the programmatic operations of UNCDF and the wider UN system which require additional investment to grow and achieve greater impact.
  • If and where needed, initiate new specific sourcing activities such as requests for proposals, challenge funds, market scans, etc.
2)     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.
  • Carry out a credit risk score, assess and/or build a financial model in excel, and produce a credit opinion for each individual transaction.
  • Help structuring transactions to enable investees to access adequate volume and quality of capital.
  • Contribute to the design of an impact results framework.
  • Present the transactions to an Independent Impact Investment Committee.
  • Prepare all required legal documentation ahead of closing.
  • Deploy concessional loans and/or guarantees to selected prospects.
3)     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.
  • Train staff from UNCDF and potentially the wider UN system on the use of financial tools such as loans and guarantees to further developmental impact.
  • Contribute to the development of knowledge of the nexus of financial risk and reward and impact risk and reward,
4)     Partnership and Fundraising
  • Forge new partnerships to increase the relevance of UNCDF’s investment operations.
  • Supoport fundraising for current and new initiatives


Core Competencies: Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Level 5: Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Level 5: Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform, strong presentation skills Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others Delivery: Ability to get things done Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions.   Technical/Functional Competencies: Time Management: Ability to work on multiple opportunities across products and sectors while working to deadlines and managing time effectively. Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Partnership and Networking: Ability to build the relations and to develop a network of relevant external contacts, as well as internally across different teams. Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Analytical and Research Skills: Including the ability to analyze company reports, sector data, economics and relevant political events Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Financial Analysis & Modeling: Credit analysis skills and ability to analyze company`s financial statements and make commercial assessments. Financial Modeling Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Change Management: Ability to contribute to setting up administrative structures, financial product design and propose adequate processes for loan and guarantee management in UNCDF Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor) Knowledge Management: Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge Level 5: Integrate & Empower (Strategic Advisor)  

Required Skills and Experience

• 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.
Experience & Technical Competency Profile:
• 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 investment projects with social objective in developing countries.
• Experience from fund management, preferably a fund with both financial and impact targets.
Additional/Substantive Work-Experience in any one or more of the below-mentioned investment/operational work-areas is considered highly preferable.
o SME finance, preferably in the agribusiness and/or clean energy and/or the digital space.
o Project finance, especially for projects structured as Public Private Partnership.
o Managing Guarantee instruments and their application to different types of financial structures and to different financial institutions.
o Investment in micro finance institutions.
o Advocacy work, promoting business environments
Further, the interested applicants should be 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, with a willingness to travel
• Computer literacy, including proficient use of research and applied software.
Language Requirements:
  • Full working proficiency in English is required
  • Working proficiency in French will be considered an asset but is not required.
  • Knowledge of any other local/regional languages knowledge will be considered an asset.


Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders) 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.

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Location: New York, United States Deadline: 22/12/2020 Application link

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