Exploring the African Diaspora to fill a niche role in a global development bank

Published 15/12/2019 - 4 min Read

By Armstrong Craven Team

Talent Research Specialists

Quick Summary Discover how Armstrong Craven search the world to find rare talent.

4 min Read

The Challenge

A US based global development bank, needed to fill the key role of Senior Investment Officer, Madagascar. The institution is committed to developing local talent and recognised that for this role in particular, an African national would be the best fit.

If the bank could recruit an African national that spoke the local dialect and had local connections, paired with international experience, they would be able to tap into lucrative government project finance deals. The right candidate would be able to expand the footprint of the business in Africa and bring in new sources of revenue through private sector partnerships.

The nature of the business called for a rare combination of skills and experience: an individual with substantial expertise in international project finance, as well as considerable local knowledge and understanding of infrastructure deals in Africa. The client was also seeking someone who had an MBA to demonstrate broad-based business acumen. To be successful in this role, the candidate would need to speak fluent French and English and ideally be an African national with experience of studying and working in the West.

Our Approach

Armstrong Craven’s proven and transparent research-led process and track record of conducting searches in 105 countries, gave the client the confidence that our research team would be successful in securing the right candidate for the role. With almost two decades of expertise in research-driven executive search,

Armstrong Craven’s researchers examined a range of sources including:

  • International press
  • The company’s in-house and specialist industry databases
  • Conference delegate lists
  • MBA school alumni

Very quickly, we generated a list of organisations that might employ people of this calibre and profile as well as names of individuals who might be potential targets or could make recommendations. In particular, we approached banks with French-speaking teams, African development and finance organisations and independent advisors in the sector.

Engaging with these groups and individuals to seek recommendations and begin to approach candidates, Armstrong Craven demonstrated that success in executive search is dependent on having the right contacts, not necessarily on having a local presence. We made good use of our multi-lingual resources, extending the search across cities and continents and drilling down into individual banks to locate the appropriate Africa-focused teams and specifically project finance professionals working on the African trade desks.


Concluding a search covering 120 contacts in 55 organisations and 25 countries across Africa, Europe and the USA, Armstrong Craven produced a shortlist of three candidates. From this list, the client selected a French-speaking Ivory Coast national working for a merchant bank in Johannesburg, a candidate who had been recommended by an Armstrong Craven contact in the USA.

Armstrong Craven applied a classic networking approach to a very tough brief. The success was due to our unparalleled depth and quality of data and contacts, allowing a global project to be completed swiftly and thoroughly, locating not just candidates who were available, but those who were best qualified, and best fit, for the job.

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