The Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment. To achieve this goal, the Activity focuses on four interrelated components: (i) improving the enabling environment for agricultural sector growth; (ii) broadening access to finance by mitigating the credit risks of agribusinesses; (iii) promoting and facilitating investment opportunities for agribusinesses to expand and scale up operations; and (iv) sustainably enhancing the performance of agribusiness micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs). In line with the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil-based economy, these efforts will increase the quality, quantity, market access, and diversification of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector. The Activity focuses on five value chains (Maize, Soya, Rice, Cowpea, and Aquaculture) in seven states (Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger).
The Component 1 of the Activity is saddled with the responsibility of addressing regulatory burdens faced by agribusinesses – whether producers, aggregators, processors, or other actors in the value chains is constraining their productivity, profitability, and growth. The Activity seeks to implement reforms to improve Nigeria’s agricultural and agribusiness enabling environment at the state and federal levels. The goals include but not limited to making relevant regulations less cumbersome, lowering the cost of compliance; reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to promote more exports and import substitution; addressing infrastructure; improving the process and security of land ownership; minimizing the time it takes to perform statutory business functions; and limiting the scope for bureaucratic discretion. The Activity also works to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the policy reform process, including building capacity in monitoring policy impact, conducting policy analyses, and institutionalizing public-private sector dialogue (PPD) forums. One such intervention is helping states and other federal ministries and agencies to review their agricultural policies (gender and youth as the case may be) to be more effective in realizing the huge potential agribusiness has in contributing to state level job creation, trade, taxes, inclusion, health, nutrition, competitiveness, and import substitution
Agribusiness Investment Activity is calling on experts and specialists in the field of policy development, reform, and advocacy to submit their CVs (along with a cover letter) for inclusion in its data base. Consulting with stakeholders and organizing formal, mixed public-private review bodies has helped to identify the barriers and inefficiencies in the business environment process and any remaining regulatory bottlenecks. From the PPDs conducted in Cross River, Ebonyi and Kebbi States, there were some ‘’low hanging fruits’’ in the areas of policies and policy advocacy that needed to be quickly addressed and included the following:
- Absence of a well-documented Agricultural Policy;
- The high cost of inputs (specifically on fish feeds);
- Multiple taxation;
- Land availability and accessibility;
- Contract Enforcement;
- Gender and Youth development.
Some of the bottlenecks identified are as a result of implementation problems which included corruption, lack of continuity in government policies, inadequate human and material resources, all of which often led to implementation gaps. Most services are regulated, in some way, by official or unofficial policies. Sometimes, it is necessary to change those policies with the support of critical stakeholders to make sure that programs and services are accomplishing what they are supposed to. Thus the Activity is looking for qualified, committed and passionate candidates to support its policy reform and advocacy efforts, engage with private sector stakeholders, and make concrete recommendations to improve the enabling environment for agribusinesses in our targeted states and value chains. The Activity expects to award several short-term contracts to such experts in the field of agribusiness policy, legal, and regulatory development, assessments, advocacy, and ultimately reform over the next four years. The experts shall have demonstrated experience in policy review and development, policy advocacy and regulatory reform. Selected candidates will be short listed and contacted as opportunities arise. The overall objective is to place qualified individual consultants in a roster, in order to expedite the contracting process for various consultancy assignments under the Activity’s Policy Component. At the end of each assignment, the consultant will submit a well-structured and persuasive report on the recommended policy changes.
Duties and Responsibilities
Illustrative duties and responsibilities required from the selected Agribusiness Policy Consultants include:
- Identify constraints in the policy (including legal and regulatory) framework and actions to address constraints that are realistic and actionable, including quick qins, by meeting with private and public sector stakeholders, and prioritizing policy reforms at both the national and sub-national levels that are both aligned with our Activity and are realistically addressable given the Activity’s time and financial resource constraints;
- Analyze existing policies (national and sub-national), in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders, and draft concrete and implementable reform recommendations, and possible solutions on how these constraints can be resolved or at least lessened;
- Interview public and private sector stakeholders regarding the impact of agribusiness policies and their subsequent implementation
- Support the activities of voluntary change champions and members of policy reform coalitions on consultative processes amongst themselves and with government (PPDs) to foster needed policy reviews and reforms;
- Participate in other policy reform related plans or interventions as may be directed by the COP or his designee.
- Illustrative deliverables include: implementation plans on how to approach, attract, organize, and motivate relevant stakeholders to engage in advocacy efforts related to improving the agribusiness enabling environment; concept notes for new policies for consideration by the relevant government agency; implementation plans regarding current policies that identify prioritized actions regarding policy reform
- University graduate in social sciences, agricultural economics, economics, law or a related field (Masters preferred)
- 7+ years of relevant policy reform and/or agribusiness work experience in Nigeria
- Work experience with USAID and/or other donor-funded projects is strongly preferred
- Experience working collaboratively with institutional and private‐sector partners and stakeholders in Nigeria, preferably on government policy matters
- Demonstrated knowledge of agricultural value chains and an understanding of the agribusiness enabling environment
- Excellent analytical, written and oral communications skills in English is a top priority
- Ability to work well in diverse teams but also able to work productively as an individual with minimum supervision
- Well organized, strong analytical skills, creative thinker, innovative, demonstrated personal initiative, with unquestionable integrity and ethics
- Ability to communicate in other Nigerian languages is a plus
- Proven ability to work under pressure with tight deadlines
- A relevant network of policy related influencers and decision makers in Nigeria is a plus
Evidence of past performance in all of the above will also be an added advantage.
About the Organization
J.E. Austin Associates (JAA) is a highly respected and innovative development consulting firm that pioneers new approaches and on-the-ground implementation to help developing and emerging economies generate sound and inclusive business-led growth. For 25 years we have helped business and government leadership to achieve rapid growth that is economically, politically, and socially sustainable. We are a proven leader in adapting advanced business tools, management methodologies and analytical techniques to the contextual realities of business and policy environments in less developed and emerging economies. We typically work in over 30 countries each year, in areas such as strategic planning, competitiveness, value chain, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, investment, and workforce development.