Cowater International Inc.

Finance and Operations Manager

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Last update: Apr 22, 2024 Last update: Apr 22, 2024


Deadline: May 6, 2024 Deadline for applications has passed
Location: Zambia
Job type:Contract, 12 months +
English English
Work experience:Min 10 years
Date posted: Apr 19, 2024


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Job Title: Finance and Operations Manager   
Sector: International Trade 
Duration/Level of Effort (short/long-term): Long-Term  
Position Location: In-Person (to be based in Lusaka, Zambia. With travel, as required, to the DRC and Mozambique) 
The “Facilitating Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Trade” (FIRST) project aims to improve economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa that is inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and empowers women, youth, people with disabilities and/or other vulnerable and marginalized groups by implementing a series of interrelated interventions which support the Ministries of Trade and Commerce in DRC, Mozambique and Zambia, trade-related institutions and MSMEs (particularly women Small Scale Cross Border Traders (SSCBTs) and MSMEs led by women and marginalized groups). FIRST will work with the Ministries of Trade and Commerce and trade-related institutions to ensure an inclusive approach to the development and implementation of trade and investment policies. In parallel, FIRST will improve access to the socioeconomic benefits of environmentally sustainable and inclusive trade and investment by improving the enabling environments at border crossings and strengthening the ability of MSMEs and SSCBTs to adapt and leverage new national/regional trade and investment opportunities. Finally, by improving the knowledge and skills of research institutions to gather, analyze and utilize gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable trade-related data and evidence, the Project will provide a source of data and evidence to assist policymakers with the development of inclusive trade and investment agreements, while also providing the information needed by women-led MSMEs and SSCBTs to conduct cross-border trade along the Beira Corridor.  
The FIRST project requires the services of a Finance and Operations Manager based in Lusaka, Zambia to oversee the program’s finances, human resources, administration, procurement, and logistics functions in support of the delivery of the GAC FIRST program.     
Working under the direction of the FIRST Program Director (PD) and in close coordination with the Team Leader, the expected services of the Finance and Operations Manager will include, but not limited to:     

  1. Program mobilisation and management to achieve the following results:  
  2. Contribute to all activities, as required, to set up the program office in Lusaka, including management of relevant procurement processes and establishment of all office permits; 
  3. Lead the establishment and implementation of business processes and procedures and operations, including training and oversight on adherence of the Processes and Procedures Manual, Financial Manual, Security Plan and tools to ensure overall efficiency of systems and processes and in compliance with Donor and Cowater safeguards and policies; 
  4. Oversee and manage procurement plans and strategies in collaboration with the Cowater Project Director to manage tender activities – including development of scope of services, specifications, basis of payments and forms of contracting – in accordance with program guidelines; 
  5. Establish, maintain and oversee a functional and secure IT system with support from Cowater HQ IT Department; and  
  6. Oversee the security operations and staff briefings in relation to security and advise the Team Leader, Cowater Program Manager and Cowater Risk and Security Advisor of any related issues.  
  7. Program financial management and administration by aiming on achieving the following results:  
  8. Prepare project budgets in coordination with the Team Leader and Program’s Technical Team; 
  9. Manage and maintain accounting and finance records for all program activities; 
  10. Oversee accounting and payment of all program invoices; 
  11. Track spending totals and provide regular forecasting projections and financial reports, as needed; 
  12. Assess financial and administrative capacity of partners, and coach them to enhance their capacity in these areas; 
  13. Manage the Due Diligence process for new partners and beneficiaries;  
  14. Assume overall responsibility for program administration including operational, logistical and administrative policies and tasks needed by the program in compliance with Cowater and GAC regulations; 
  15. Ensure maintenance, quality checks of accurate financial reports and quarterly budget forecasts on program implementation; 
  16. Work to develop the finance team’s capacity in financial management and reporting; 
  17. Oversee the financial management and accounting system, including fraud control and audit procedures; 
  18. Ensure expenditures are in accordance with the approved annual plan and implemented with strong financial, administrative and governance principles 
  19. Oversee all services related to the tendering, contracting, contract supervision, contract monitoring and financial management of activities identified in the annual plan; and 
  20. Respond to financial audits – including preparation of supporting schedules and information, consolidated reports, and documentation.  
  21. Planning and reporting to achieve the following results: 
  22. Provide budget development support to the Team Leader and Cowater Program Manager for the annual planning process; and  
  23. Work with the Team Leader, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Lead and the Cowater Program Manager to develop and deliver quality six-month narrative progress reports and quarterly finance reports.  
  24. Human resources management and contracting;  
  25. Oversee the staff performance assessment process for all personnel in collaboration with the relevant FIRST program staff;  
  26. Oversee the induction of new staff ensuring personnel are briefed with the program policies, including on gender, disability, fraud, anti-corruption, child protection, and the environment; and  
  27. Ensure locally sourced technical assistance is engaged in accordance with local labour laws and the market.  
  28. Program Risk Management: 
  29. Contribute to the ongoing assessment of and response to program and corporate risks;  
  30. Proactively monitor and report on risks and implement mitigation measures in consultation with the Team Leader and Cowater’s Project Director; and  
  31. Ensure that Cowater’s corporate interests are respected, including adherence to all relevant policies, procedures, systems and protocols. 


  • A University Degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent would be preferred) in finance, accounting, business administration or another relevant discipline.  

Minimum Experience 

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in donor funded project management and implementation as part of a large-scale and complex international development initiative in Southern Africa (experience in DRC, Zambia and Mozambique would be considered an asset) including but not limited to; 
  • Establishment and management of administrative and reporting processes and procedures; 
  • Management of relevant contracting and procurement processes; and  
  • Recruitment and human resource management.  
  • Experience working with donor organisations including FCDO, EU, GAC, Irish AID, USAID and the World Bank. 

Essential Skills 

  • Excellent project and financial management skills and knowledge of all areas of project management; 
  • Ability to identify opportunities for operational efficiencies and process improvements; 
  • Strong understanding of international assistance funding and related procurement and project management procedures; 
  • Ability to work under pressure and manage competing priorities within a dynamic environment; 
  • Strong interpersonal, cross-cultural and communication skills; 
  • Commitment to teamwork and ability to build constructive and effective relationships; 
  • Client oriented; and  
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives and a professional commitment to promote a culture of gender equality and social inclusion.  

Language Proficiency 

  • Professional fluency in English (writing, reading and speaking); Fluency in French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.  

Interested individual consultants must include the following documents when submitting the applications by 6th May 2024. Please note, CVs will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, so we would encourage all interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. 

  1. CV indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references. 
  2. Brief statement as to why the individual / consulting company/firm considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment. 

Qualified women, people with disabilities, people from diverse backgrounds, are strongly encouraged to apply. 
We thank all applicants, however only those shortlisted will be contacted. 
Founded in 1985, Cowater International is a leading global development consulting company. Headquartered in Ottawa and with corporate hubs in Auckland, Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Manila, Nairobi, Singapore and Stockholm, Cowater International has successfully delivered a portfolio of over 2500 projects and assignments in more than 95 countries. We work with governments, private sector actors and communities implementing projects that support socio-economic development, institutional strengthening, environmental improvements and advance equal opportunities for all. We are a diverse and experienced team committed to building a better tomorrow for the people we serve. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our yearly award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2017.
We thank you for your interest in building a better tomorrow.