Project Manager, Public Financial Management and Accounting (PFMA), HQ

Date of Publication: 
14 September 2021
Application Deadline: 
1 October 2021
Cowater International
Brief Description: 


The Project Manager will join the Public Financial Management and Accountability (PFMA) division. PFMA works to strengthen government financial management systems, which are crucial to ensure sound financing and management of public services and investments. Cowater has been working in this area for more than three decades, assisting governments worldwide to strengthen public resource management and broaden the revenue base to ensure the tax system can be a lever for economic development, reduce inequalities and improve the quality of life of citizens. The PFMA team is currently implementing projects in Algeria, Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique, Algeria, Somalia, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia. 
The project manager will be required to ensure robust project management, actively contribute to development of the pipeline of work within the PFM team, provide oversight to project management, undertake quality assurance of project deliverables, provide technical advice and participate in corporate initiatives.
The Project Manager's primary role is to provide excellent project management and leadership to ensure the successfully delivery of programmes and ensure the compliance of our projects with donor, country and Cowater-related requirements and regulations. This includes a varied list of competencies and activities including, management of staff and consultants; project planning; monitoring and evaluation; financial planning and oversight; and relationship management.
Where relevant, the Project Manager is also be expected to support the preparation of project proposals, contributing to the technical input, and providing feedback on the final selection of the project team, as well as pre-submission quality assurance. They would also play a part in formulating        a competitive commercial proposal ensuring value for money, effective risk mitigation and adherence  to corporate financial objectives. For small opportunities, the Project Manager would be expected to lead this proposal development process.
With an in-country role, the Project Manager is expected to act as a corporate representative for Cowater and where possible, take a proactive role in the identification of potential opportunities outside of usual channels, leveraging existing projects and relationships, as well as actively influencing thematic debates. Collaboration and engagement with other technical teams is encouraged, although time resources should be managed appropriately. The ultimate business development objective is the establishment of a diversified Client-base, as well as market and thought­ leadership in the area of PFMA in developing country contexts.

To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, the Project Manager will be expected to have a solid technical understanding in the area of public sector governance and/or PFM, as well as the development of such programmes in a developing country context. They should understand DFID programme management tools, as well as wider approaches to international development. They will also take responsibility for the development of knowledge and communications products.
Although field-based, the Project Manager will be a key member of the PFMA team and will be included in all team initiatives, the objective being to compensate for the physical distance between the parties. It is expected that the PFMA team, as well as Business Service functions, will provide support and assistance where required to the Project Manager to ensure the successful delivery of objectives whilst abroad. As such, it is expected that the Project Manager will travel on a semi-regular basis to HQ.
Project management

  • Lead the successful delivery of PFMA projects in line with the terms of reference; and client and beneficiary satisfaction. This includes above-average competency in the following project management areas: finances, operations, team management, quality assurance, risk management, monitoring, evaluation and learning, and client relationship management.
  • Communicate key project risks and issues, updates and milestones to project directors and stakeholders clearly, concisely and in a timely fashion.
  • Work effectively in politically sensitive and challenging environments; apply Cowater's duty of care and safeguarding policy.
  • Build strong working relationships with project team leaders and members, ensuring they feel part of the Cowater family and that they are when to raise risks and issues.
  • Ensure the achievement of corporate objectives, both financial and others.

Business development

  • Seek, establish and nurture relationships with client counterparts that are characterised by trust and mutual respect.
  • Develop and take eventual leadership on Cowater's awareness of key/strategic clients in the PFMA area including , FCDO, DFAT, GAC, WB, DFAT, industry, Government.
  • Leverage relationships and awareness to influence clients' priorities and actions.
  • Play a key role in the preparation of technical and financial proposals; quality assure those prepared by more junior colleagues.
  • Contribute to the development of innovative and successful approaches to proposals and projects, including identifying strong technical teams.
  • Convey the quality of our approach, team and capability compellingly to donors and clients through writing and delivering clear, accessible and well-structured documents and presentations in English.
  • Negotiate effectively with consultants and sub-contractors.
  • Build effective working relationships with clients from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds; provide troubleshooting guidance where required.

Team and Firm Building

  • Contribute to the growth and development of the PFMA Team and to Cowater  through:
    • Marketing: contributing content and articles to external channels; leading topical discussions and events
    • Knowledge management: Ensure all knowledge is shared via agreed team systems  and processes
    • Human resource development: Support colleagues and develop their capabilities in project management particularly from a DFID perspective
    • Personal development: Take ownership to grow one's own capability, experience and expertise
  • Always remain aware of and demonstrate and encourage others to uphold Cowater's values.

Key Accountabilities

  • Providing project management, whether in-country or remotely, which will ensure quality and timely delivery against objectives
  • Delivering on the administrative and financial requirements of the management of the project.
  • Developing and maintaining close relationships with counterparts/clients; actively engaging with these counterparts on a regular basis.
  • Building a good understanding of the political economy environment that is reflected in project design, management and delivery.
  • Contributing to knowledge and communication products of the PFM team.
  • Creating opportunities and exposure for the development of new business and/or recruitment of talented local staff.
  • Performotherdutiesas may be required from time to time.

Depending on suitability for the position and experience, the successful candidate will join our team as a Project Manager or Senior Project Manager within our organizational structure. As such, we encourage both senior and junior level project managers with the following experience to apply:

  • Minimum of 3-5 years of experience with progressively more responsibility in project management and direction, administration and financial management in a team environment;
  • Managing and directing new or existing international development projects, including:
    • Supervising and coordinating inputs and efforts from field and HQ team members;
    • Performing quality control on all deliverables;
    • Engaging in recruitment of project staff;
    • "Hands-on" rigorous management of budgets, contracts and schedules; and
    • Maintaining clear communication lines between HQ, the field and clients;
  • Overseas experience in developing countries;
  • Experience with international donor reporting requirements (GAC, DFID, World Bank, etc.);
  • Experience in results-based management;
  • Technical expertise in one or more of the following areas is considered an asset           
    • extractive sector governance
    • public sector audit
    • gender budgeting/program based budgeting
    • budget formulation, including medium-term fiscal and expenditure frameworks
    • domestic revenue reform

Required Qualifications:

  • A Master 's degree in a relevant discipline (project management, economics, political science, international development, business administration, etc.) or equivalent experience.

Required Skills:

  • Excellent writing skills (reports, work plans, proposals)
  • Strong financial management skills;
  • Strong managerial and organisational skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.


  • Ability to work in English is required. Other languages are an additional benefit, in particular French.

Candidates are encouraged to apply by September 30, 2021 or as soon as possible on our Careers page  via this link

For your application to be considered, please upload your documents as followed: Candidate Last Name, First Name, date, Title of the Position.
We thank all applicants, however only those shortlisted will be contacted.
With more than 35 years’ experience, Cowater International is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec; London, United Kingdom; Nairobi, Kenya; and Brussels, Belgium, in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


Ottawa,Canada or London, UK or Nairobi, Kenya