Head of Regional Food Trade

BACKGROUND

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was founded in 2006 through a partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today AGRA also receives funding from other governments, agencies and international institutions.

AGRA is an African-based organization with a vision of a food secure and prosperous Africa achieved through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers, majority of whom are women. AGRA brings a wealth of human resources, vibrant network of partners and a keen eye for smallholder agriculture challenges and opportunities.

AGRA employs these tools to bring an innovative approach to strengthening crop value chains and scaling up effective technologies and models such as availing the right form of seeds and fertilizers, markets and post-harvest management including reduction of loses, farmer organizations and connecting these farmers to markets and to finance.

AGRA offers exceptional and complementary packages of agricultural finance for small holder farmers and use of ICT tools to deliver services to farmers all based on AGRA’s wealth of experience and expertise in innovative finance along the entire value chain.

AGRA is rolling out a new five-year strategy to catalyze and sustain an Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million farmers. Under this strategy, AGRA will deliver through an approach that simultaneously catalyzes change at farmer level, strengthens input and output market systems and puts government at the center to enable and champion private-sector-led agricultural growth at national level. AGRA, working with other partners, deploys its capacities and capabilities to create an appropriate policy and regulatory environment as well as advocacy to support these actions along the value chain.

KEY POINTS

AGRA’s vision is that Africa can feed itself and the world and aims to increase the incomes and improve the food security of 30 million smallholder farmers within the next five years.  Some key points to note are:

  • AGRA’s strategy for 2017-2021 will invest more than US$ 500 million into various programs in at least 11 countries in Africa.
  • AGRA also seeks to leverage resources well beyond its own funds by working in strategic partnership with other actors and collaborating around a shared vision. In particular, through the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), it is working in strategic partnership with USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, UK DFID, and BMZ in a new way that harnesses the collective resources of each partner to catalyze and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation on the continent.
  • AGRA is the go-to partner for governments and other actors seeking an inclusive agricultural transformation on the continent, and its understanding of the landscape and thought leadership in forums and communications are critical to shaping the policies, programs, and investments of other players in the sector.
  • One key initiative within AGRA’s strategy is an Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative, which focuses on promoting regional food trade and food markets through policy predictability and market systems development across AGRA’s 11 priority countries and beyond in East, West, and Southern Africa to improve food security, generate more rural jobs, strengthen climate resilience, and increase income for farmers.

THE ROLE

The Head of Regional Food Trade is an exciting new position within AGRA’s management team, which will be responsible for technical leadership and administrative oversight of the Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative. The initiative aims to stimulate an increase in regional food trade in sub Saharan Africa (SSA), contributing to satisfying a growing food demand and to addressing food shortages through regional food production, processing and trade, generating more rural jobs, climate resilience and income for farmers.

The Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative will include two primary strategic components:

  1. Working with Government, business and civil society to stimulate Africa-specific solutions to improve the transparency and predictability of Governments’ interventions to unlock investment and regional trade;
  2. Working directly with private companies that source, process, and trade food in the region, to maximize investment, coordination and benefits to smallholder farmers.

In each component, AGRA will collaborate closely with strategic partners who have major programs in these areas, as well as work to identify and support relevant strategic regional initiatives, with a view to maximize learning, coordination and impact. The initiative will be expected to fully integrate resilience at all levels, including working with policy makers to integrate climate resilience considerations in their agriculture policies and interventions.

The Head of Regional Food Trade will ensure engagement with multiple players from government, private sector, civil society and development partners in the delivery of the results above. He/she will also be responsible for the day-to-day management of the program to ensure it is delivering results, that partners are coordinating effectively and that activities are in compliance with AGRA’s agreements with its development partners, particularly the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

As the Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative is designed to explicitly draw on the full breadth of the PIATA partnership within AGRA, the Head of Regional Food Trade will serve as a key institutional liaison to DFID and ensure strong collaboration with the rest of the PIATA partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, BMZ, and others that might join the partnership over time. The candidate is expected to bring in relevant experience and relationships with key regional players and institutions in different regions where AGRA and other PIATA partners operate.

This role reports into AGRA’s Vice President for Policy and State Capacity. The Head of Regional Food Trade will be based in Nairobi with up to 35% regional and global travel.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTABILITIES

The Head of Regional Food Trade will have the following key accountabilities:

Technical Program Leadership

  • Building AGRA’s capacity as a thought-leader in regional food trade policy.
  • Convening and leading a coalition of partners that drive evidence-based policy advocacy and government engagement to improve policy transparency and predictability to unlock regional food trade and investment.
  • Working with AGRA strategy and analytics team to build evidence around the case for policy predictability in the agriculture sector and to consolidate and disseminating learning in the sector in a way to build alignment and drive action.
  • Identifying and engaging with the major strategic initiatives on regional food trade, markets and resilience, including those led by AfDB, WB, RECs, AU, and public-private partnerships, to foster learning and alignment.
  • Developing strong linkages and partnerships to ensure that policy is informed by the concerns and need of private companies operating in regional food markets and that AGRA supports result-oriented business led advocacy efforts.
  • Identifying and contracting international, regional, and national technical experts in areas covered by the program, including market analysis, political economy analysis, value chain coordination, structured trade and market facilitation.
  • Ensuring that market demand-pull considerations are observed in AGRA’s overall market facilitation and value chain development efforts and facilitating improved coordination and investment in regional food value chains and market systems.
  • Reviewing, finalizing, and presenting proposals and grant memos at regular meetings of the Grants Committee in order to ensure timely implementation of the program.
  • Leveraging from AGRA’s structure and investments to ensure scale and impact of the regional food trade and resilience initiative.

Partnerships

  • Maintaining and building the relationship between DFID, AGRA and other PIATA partners to ensure a mutually beneficial engagement.
  • Developing alliances with a range of regional and global partners to best deliver on the regional food trade and resilience initiative.
  • Developing strong linkages with IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative that manages another component of the Regional Food Trade and Resilience Initiative working directly with regional commercial companies in the initiatives.
  • Representing AGRA at key regional fora and global fora.

Management and Administration

  • Recruiting and managing a team of 7+ staff to deliver on the regional food trade and resilience initiative in alignment with the approved vision.
  • Serving as a key member of AGRA’s Management Team and work with several key units and staff across the institution to maximize effectiveness of delivery, particularly with AGRA’s regional and country teams, policy & advocacy unit, markets unit, partnerships unit, and resilience-focused staff.
  • Responsible for mentoring and developing direct reports to ensure a sufficient talent pipeline and promote team culture.
  • Responsible for the operating budget of the unit.

Reporting and Compliance

  • Working with AGRA’s M&E and Strategy teams to ensure that monitoring and evaluation systems provide timely and accurate reports in compliance to AGRA and DFID requirements.
  • Compiling quarterly and annual reports and other reports, as needed, in compliance with the requirements of DFID and other partners.
  • Providing regular verbal and written updates and briefings on program operations, achievements, and problems to the AGRA Management Committee and development partners between official reports.
  • Remaining up-to-date on the status of operations of regional and country programs, in particular mission buy-ins, through regular field visits and monitoring tours.

PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES

The Head of Regional Food Trade, is expected to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • High energy, drive and passion for smallholder Agriculture and for advancing AGRA’s work in Africa.
  • An outstanding and demonstrated sense of personal integrity, high ethical standards and professional accountability.
  • Flexible and self-directed, able to respond and adapt to a rapid paced, changing environment with varying work-load and shifting priorities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and use resources (people and/or finance and/or physical assets) in accordance with AGRA guidelines and delegated accountability so that objectives are achieved in the most effective manner possible.
  • Outstanding communication (oral and written) skills with high-level coordination and facilitation management.
  • Able to get other people excited about new opportunities and new ways of getting old jobs done.
  • An innovative thinker who is prepared to take calculated well-considered risks.
  • A mature professional who is positive and supportive towards colleagues and external collaborators.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with individuals and groups of people.
  • Ability to move from program concept to on-the-ground reality.
  • An effective team player. Demonstrates ability to cross and bridge different racial, cultural, or business cultures. This requires and is exhibited by personal experience of international or cross-cultural business with improved achievements.

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

AGRA is an equal opportunity employer, and a diverse set of candidates is being sought for formal consideration. The ideal candidate for the position of Head of Regional Food Trade will have the following qualifications, experience and background:

  • At least a Master’s degree with 15 years’ post qualification experience or a PhD. with 10 years; post-qualification experience, with special technical expertise in regional trade policy and regional food market development in Africa. At least five years of senior-level experience in program management.
  • Strategic and results orientated. Ability to identify and pursue strategic initiatives which provide the greatest value and sustainable impact; balances long and short-term trade-offs; communicates clearly and precisely the strategic goals and the strategies for achieving them.
  • Experience and a track record in facilitating public private partnerships and demonstrated ability to convene senior level policy and business leaders around complex issues.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the constraints to regional food market development in Africa and the barriers to increased private sector investment in the sector.
  • Politically savvy and with a good understanding of the political economy of regional food markets and previous success in supporting policy development.
  • Track record of successfully leading teams and ideally an international initiative in Africa.
  • Experience and relationships with key partners in regional food trade, markets systems development, and resilience preferred. Ability to lead by example and drive change. Demonstrates ability to mobilize, focus, align, and build effective groups to enable them conceptualize and achieve collective objectives.
  • Determined, hard-working, individual who is prepared to work around barriers that arise in the course of an initiative.
  • Have an optimism that African farmers and consumers can benefit from improved, well-adapted agricultural technologies.
  • Must have excellent analytical and communication skills, and be able to engage policy makers.
  • Good command of English required and a working knowledge of French would be an additional advantage.

If you believe you are the right candidate for this position, kindly submit your application with a detailed CV (including your e-mail address and telephone contacts to recruit@agra.org

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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