Afghanistan is a Muslim-majority country, with a large section of the population that is very religious in its beliefs and deeply conservative in nature. While the microfinance industry had been offering traditional interest-based loan products in the past, the industry could not reach out to a significant section of the population that viewed traditional interest-based loans as un-Islamic and against the precepts and core principles of the religion. Mutahid Development Finance Institution (Mutahid DFI) saw this as an opportunity to fill this gap and extend access to finance to a newer segment of the market in a sustainable way. Currently Mutahid is offering a Sharia-compliant Murabaha loan product to its clients through its branches in the Herat, Balkh, Kunduz, Badakshan and Kabul provinces since 2013.
About the Job:
This study has two main objectives. First, the feasibility study of Sharia-compliant Islamic finance products, that aims to identify the Islamic microfinance products that can be offered in Afghanistan's microfinance market in order to reach the maximum number of microfinance clients. In order to do so, the consultant must make sure that awareness and familiarity with the landscape of the industry particularly the legal and regulatory space, state of demand for this class of services as well as the market supply of Shariah compliant products are conducted extensively. And second, the study also aims to evaluate the current Islamic microfinance product offered by Mutahid, its effectiveness and ways to improve the product further. Since Islamic microfinance in the country is still mostly limited to offering Murabaha products, this study is being conducted to identify the most applicable Islamic products to be offered in order to reach more clients in Afghanistan.
The consultant will be reporting to Chief Executive Officer, Mutahid DFI.
Analyze the current Sharia-compliant Islamic finance products and refine them to meet the needs of the microfinance clients;
To analyze whether the current Islamic product is in line with the Sharia rules and regulations;
Scoping study to know the potential for Islamic MF products currently not offered by the MF providers in Afghanistan;
A detailed demand and supply side survey to identify the needs of more Shariah compliant products in Afghanistan;
The suitability of each Islamic finance product with different MF clients of different age groups and gender;
To measure the level of satisfaction towards the Islamic MF products currently offered by the MF providers in Afghanistan;
Upon finalizing the final draft of the study, and under the supervision of an authorized Islamic committee in Afghanistan, the consultant should provide a detailed report suggesting which products can be piloted in Afghanistan. The suggestions must be based on the findings within Afghanistan and the results of such products in other countries having similar socio-religious environment.
Tasks and Responsibilities:
Kick-off workshop with the key stakeholders to better understand the whole landscape, followed by a wrap-up workshop at the end of the study to share the findings;
Develop an action plan that includes a detailed work plan timeline;
Review and collect relevant secondary information;
Design research methodology and develop research instruments that will meet the study objectives;
Design the selection methodology of sample prospect/existing microfinance clients, identifying focus groups and key informant interviews and structure/semi-structured questionnaires;
Conducting a detailed demand and supply side survey, and providing a detailed report on the findings;
Prepare and present the final report to the Mutahid's Senior management team;
Final study should include findings, analysis and recommendations on Islamic microfinance products which would be most suited for Afghanistan within respective provinces/geographies. The consultant will work with the relevant Mutahid staff throughout the process.
Master’s degree from a reputed university required; degree in development finance preferred;
At least eight to ten years of development finance experience, particularly in the field of designing microfinance and Sharia compliant financial product. Experience with a wholesale financer or Technical Assistance supplier is a plus;
Knowledge of financial sector regulatory regimes preferred;
Ability to work under pressure and adapt to the rapidly changing security and work environment;
A confident and capable communicator, both in writing and speaking. Strong knowledge of English language. Working Knowledge of Dari/Pashto would be preferred;
Strong proficiency with computer applications such as MS Word and Excel;
Strong interpersonal skills.
How to Apply:
Interested candidates should send their application package (only acceptable in English language, comprising up-to-date resume and a cover letter) to [email protected] with "Vacancy –Consultant (Feasibility Study of Sharia-Compliant Islamic Finance Products)” in the subject line.