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Businesses in the ABADE Program Recognized in Mazar-e Sharif

Jackie Howard (left) and Caroline Flowers (right) pose with their BBA diplomas. 

In 2012, Caroline Flowers and Jackie Howard spotted a flyer at their university’a flyer that would shape the next three years of their college experience and beyond. It was a flyer was soliciting interns for IESC’s USAID-funded Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX), which provides business loan facilitation and technical assistance and capacity building to local business and commercial bank staff.  

IBEX’s internship program aims to provide mentoring and training to college and university students, in hopes of preparing them for future employment. ‘When I first heard about the IBEX mentorship and career development program on my campus, I immediately applied, believing that I would learn and one day become a professional person after my graduation,’ Caroline said. Before long, IESC hired both Caroline and Jackie, and since May of 2013, they have been supporting the IBEX program’first as interns, and later, after demonstrating their dedication and diligence, as full-time employees.

Both women indicated that they learned a great deal from their IBEX internship experiences about what it means to work in a professional environment. ‘Being a member of the IBEX team is one of the greatest opportunities for me as a student to develop professionally,’ Caroline said. And according to Jackie, ‘[The] IBEX Program. . .gives college and university students the opportunity to learn basic office procedures and professional etiquette that prepare them for the competitive job market.’

On Friday, November 27, Caroline Flowers and Jackie Howard, along with 400 of their colleagues, proudly crossed the stage at Stella Maris Polytechnic’s graduation ceremony. Both walked away with bachelor of business administration (BBA) degrees in hand, Caroline’s in management, and Jackie’s in accounting.

Caroline and Jackie have expressed their gratitude to the entire IBEX team’both in Liberia and Washington, DC’offering special thanks to Watchen Bruce, who leads the IBEX program, and her deputy, Augustus Flomo, for their ongoing mentorship.

For Caroline and Jackie, November’s graduation doesn’t signal the end of their academic pursuits’they’re aiming higher. Caroline hopes to pursue a master’s degree in financial management, while Jackie plans to pursue a master’s degree in banking and finance.

This story is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.


In Mazari Sharif, Women and Youth Innovators Drive Afghanistan’s Growing Economy

IESC is seeking technical specialists for a debt capital markets project called the Financial Market Development (FMD) Activity in Pakistan. The anticipated USAID-funded activity will be a multi-year effort to promote sustainable inclusive economic growth and stability through the development of dynamic, innovative, and efficient capital markets in Pakistan. The program will work to develop sources of funds for private sector business growth, including the development of markets for government and corporate debt, as well as development of private equity and financing for SMEs.

IESC’s role in this project will be to support partner commercial banks in increasing their SME loan portfolios and ensuring the systems and human resources are adequate to manage such growth.  IESC is seeking both local and international SME banking experts for short-term assignments in various technical areas. 

Generalist SME Banking Qualifications (for all positions):

  • Bachelor’s degree with a focus on finance, business, economics or other relevant subject required; advanced degree preferred;
  • Minimum five years of experience implementing SME lending schemes at commercial banks in emerging markets;
  • Experience liaising with leadership of commercial banks and development financial institutions;
  • Experience in designing and delivering training programs for financial services professionals;
  • Strong analytical, facilitation, and communication skills;
  • Experience working in Pakistan or South or Central Asia, particularly in the last five years;
  • Fluency in English required.    

Senior Product Development and Marketing Experts: Minimum five years of experience working in the implementation of product development or marketing/sales in commercial banks, particularly for SME portfolios.

Senior Risk Management Experts: Minimum five years of experience in assisting commercial banks improve their risk management and/or credit risk management systems, particularly for SME portfolios.

Senior Operations Management Experts: Minimum five years of experience in assisting commercial banks improve or expand operations, including branch operations and particularly for SME portfolios.

How to apply:  The closing date for applications is February 4, 2015.  Please submit current resume to indicating your technical specialty and ‘Pakistan ‘ SME Banking Expert’ in the subject line. IESC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


IESC Awarded $105 Million SME Program in Afghanistan

Washington, D.C. ‘ IESC is pleased to announce that it was awarded the $105 million Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE) Program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).

ABADE is a four year program that will create jobs, encourage investment, and support the sustainable development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout Afghanistan through: (1) Public-Private Alliances (PPAs) to Afghan SMEs and business support organizations, (2) technical assistance to ensure the success of the PPAs and (3) targeted enabling environment support to remove administrative barriers to business success. Particular emphasis will be placed on alliances that foster business innovation, expand the role of women in business, promote pro-poor growth, and increase value-added productivity in strategic industries.

IESC is the lead implementer of the ABADE program, joined by Land O’Lakes International Development and Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). ABADE will have offices in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.