AGRA and its Work
AGRA is an African-led institution that actively supports the drive towards inclusive agricultural transformation and sustainable food systems. We do this by empowering the continent’s 33 million smallholder farming households to transform their agriculture from a struggle to survive to profitable businesses. The continent’s farmers regularly face challenges, and we aspire to provide uniquely African solutions that respond to their agricultural and environmental challenges, leading to increased harvests for reduced hunger and more income.
Working in alignment with the development priorities of our focus countries, we enable farmers to access improved and high-yielding seeds, gain knowledge on sustainable farming, and linkages to profitable markets.
In our work, we aspire to build the alliances, partnerships, and networks required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation. We work with our partners to create an equitable youth-friendly environment that harnesses the youth dividend on the continent to drive growth and facilitate open employment opportunities for young women and men. We achieve our key objectives through a focus on the following four areas of intervention:
- Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation.
- Seed systems – We trigger higher productivity by increasing the availability and access to improved seeds by farmers allowing them to increase their harvests for food security and better incomes.
- Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation.
- Inclusive markets and trade – We work to increase the linkages between farmers, and other market actors for a positive, sustained cycle of commercialization and reinvestment.
AGRA’s 2030 Strategy
The continent has, in recent years, taken steps towards inclusive agricultural transformation resulting in notable improvements in food security, with clear progress across all AGRA’s focus countries. However, with over 20% of Africans still suffering from hunger, we need to accelerate our progress and mitigate against the growing external pressures of conflict and climate on our food systems.
AGRA 2022-2030 Strategic Framework (SF2030) demonstrates our long-term vision for how we intend to contribute to, and align with, global and continental priorities, applying a food systems lens towards the goals of zero hunger, improved nutrition, an end to poverty, and climate adaptation. We have split our Strategic Framework 2030 into two 5-year strategies so that we have a clear mid-way point to evaluate progress and re-route our strategic focus if necessary. Our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan sets out to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where the private sector thrives, and smallholders are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.
To catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where private sector thrives, and smallholder farmers are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
- Empowering and building the resilience of small holder farmers
- Supporting the development of inclusive markets and finance to strengthen agricultural systems.
- Strengthening state capability to sustain agricultural transformation.
Implementing Our New Strategy Through People
AGRA is at the threshold of a new chapter where we begin implementing our new strategy of catalyzing inclusive, resilient and sustainable agricultural transformation. At AGRA we believe Agriculture is the single greatest opportunity to deliver inclusive economic growth, jobs, and health to the African continent.
People are the heart of our organisation and remain the true drivers of our delivery and our impact.
We are excited about a new fit-for-purpose organizational structure that is largely driven by an ambition to enhance collaboration across teams and drive sustainable growth. We have therefore purposed more focus on delivery of country programs within the new strategy giving even greater attention to optimising existing talent in addition to upscaling technical and operational resources.
We work with incredible people and partners who have roots in farming communities across the continent combined with an inclusive and diverse workforce from over 24 nationalities. Our values of (I-RISE; Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity) espouse our commitment to a call to action to go beyond ourselves as we arise and transform Africa’s Agriculture.
We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa, curious and collaborative to join our innovative, growing, and multidisciplinary team. Together, we can grow Africa’s food systems improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Want to join us?
The Chief of Staff
The Chief of Staff (CoS) reports directly to the AGRA President and works closely with other senior leaders across the organization such as Exco and Manco. On a day-to-day basis, the CoS oversees the Office of the President and is responsible for ensuring the successful flow of information to, and from, the President. In addition, s/he will support the AGRA President on strategic decisions and programmatic priorities, where required responding on behalf of the President. This Chief of Staff will be part advisor, part prioritiser, part problem solver, and part all-round strategic partner to the President, assisting with overseeing the daily operations of the organization and providing support toward meeting the organizational goals.
The Chief of Staff will enable the President to work effectively with internal and external stakeholders and fulfill her/his commitments to AGRA’s partners, funders, and the Board of Directors.
The Chief of Staff’s primary duties include managing time and critical decision-making more effective for the President and AGRA’s leadership team. Where needed, s/he will provide the President and AGRA leadership with insight and analysis on key aspects of organizational performance – identifying risks and ensuring that key programming priorities are tracked towards desired outcomes. In addition, s/he may also be assigned to support and oversee special projects or initiatives.
Key Measures of Performance
The performance of this role holder will be assessed on the basis of the achievements made on:
- Setting strategic priorities: The Chief of Staff will work in conjunction with the President and AGRA Exco to identify areas where leaders should direct their focus given organizational priorities. S/he will respond or take decisions on behalf of the President where required.
- Progress reporting: In conjunction with the Monitoring & Evaluation teams, help determine key performance indicators and support reporting of progress on key strategic priorities to bring progress and risks to the Presidents attention.
- Decision prioritization: The Chief of Staff ensures the President’s involvement in project or decision-making processes takes place at key times, where her/his input and authority are most needed.
- Meetings Preparation: In conjunction with staff members in the President’s office, coordination of stakeholders for input of content into agendas for the President’s approval before leadership team and Board meetings.
- Staff Management: Manage other members of the Office of the President; and may hire and directly manage others in Presidency support roles, such as executive assistants, special projects managers, speech writers, etc.
- Project Management: Oversees special projects and initiatives as needed, in coordination with the Strategy and Analytics team.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
- Be the Principal Advisor to the President and deputizes as President/stand in for the President where required – assuming day to day responsibilities.
- Be responsible for directing the operations of the President’s Office while maintaining constant interface with the Executive Committee to ensure that key issues are proactively addressed.
- Lead key reports, including staff responsible for the production of financial metrics, risk report, program reports, country reports and daily briefings for the President.
- Develop data analysis and write reports in collaboration with Strategy and Analytics and Technical Analytical Teams for use in executive decision-making, handling data, communication and projects that are highly privileged and confidential.
- Where required, serve as the project lead on cross-institutional project teams and taskforces to carry out critical initiatives and projects prioritized by AGRA’s Executive Management team (e.g. enhancing AGRA’s approach to its in-country presence).
- Prepare for, facilitate, and follow up on “critical path” meetings (e.g., of the senior management team or with partners, funders, government officials, etc.)
- Proactively elevate and surface issues that could impact the successful execution of the organization’s commitments.
- Lives and drives AGRA’s values of Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity by role modeling behaviors in line with those values, and coaching wider leadership team on the same.
- The Chief of Staff serves as the President’s representative to various committees within AGRA.
- In collaboration with the HRA and Communications Team, manage the flow of internal and external communication from the President’s office to ensure consistent and responsive messaging.
- Prepare an agenda for each senior leadership meetings and provide a summary of discussions and follow-up on action items resulting from each meeting to attendees, with coordination with President’s office support. Occasionally represent the President in leadership meetings where required.
- Remove barriers that hamper inter-and intra-department communications and contribute to a positive and collegial culture that bolsters AGRA’s values and culture.
- Monitor assignments which must be accomplished in conjunction with other senior executives.
- Coordinate projects or commitments involving multiple teams, ensuring alignment, communication, and leveraging of resources.
- Maintain a high-level awareness of all ongoing work throughout the organization and
- Serve to build connections across different streams of work to avoid duplication and amplify efforts.
Delivery, Corporate Planning
- Help prepare press releases and work with AGRA’s communications team to provide highquality inputs and direction to media organizations.
- In collaboration with the CFO and COO ensure that the institution’s financial and risk metrics and dashboards are kept up to date.
- Design executive-level presentations: create proposals, materials for key donor discussions, Board meetings, and enterprise-wide conversations.
- Envision and supervise the drafting of AGRA statements and presentations/briefings and ensure that the President is well- prepared for routine quarterly conference calls as well as other engagements with Donors.
- Direct projects that require coordination of several different offices and/or areas of the organization including personnel/management reviews, and special studies.
- Design reporting materials and/or reports for regulatory compliance.
- Perform other related duties as assigned.
Model the IRISE Values & Be a Culture Carrier
- Integrity: Uphold moral convictions and always doing the right thing.
- Respect: Value differences and embrace diversity and inclusion.
- Innovation: Strive for excellence and embracing continuous improvement, bold creativity, and change.
- Stewardship: Be responsible for actions undertaken and resources entrusted.
- Equity: Be governed by fairness in all undertakings.
Education, Qualification & Experience
- Master’s degree in agriculture, economics, business, or related disciplines with political experience. Ph.D. will be an added advantage. A Master’s degree in business administration is preferable.
- Any additional professional qualification in that enhance proficiency in analytical research, communication, leadership, and strategic planning or execution.
- Experience with, knowledge of, and/or enthusiasm for environmental program themes of environment, renewable energy, and climate change is an additional benefit.
- Strong speech-giving/writing and report-writing experience and capabilities.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to set out a coherent analysis in presentations. Working knowledge of French is an additional advantage.
- Strong diplomatic and communication skills, ability to develop a close and effective working relationship with the internal client at all levels.
- An able and competent presenter as well as a positive influencer on others.
- Client orientation – able to balance responsiveness and pro-activity in meeting internal client needs and concerns and to ensure the provision of value-added services as appropriate.
- Able to lead and manage major change and transition programs.
- Champion of AGRA’s values: results orientation, professionalism, respect, and integrity.
- Recognized management skills in a multicultural setting.
- Strategic thinker.
- Creative and lateral thinker able to recognize opportunities and propose solutions to problems.
- Inspirational leader, able to foster cooperative teamwork and outstanding achievement.
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work both as a team leader and player.
- Effective in developing and successfully achieving the work program.
- Able to coach and develop a professional finance management staff.
- High sense of integrity, trust, and confidence.
- Minimum 15 years at an international level in an international institution.
- At least 7 years of experience in a senior leadership role.
- Skill in management and leadership with the ability to direct programs, staff and crossfunctional teams in an efficient and effective manner.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills including tact, patience, and acumen and the ability to work with many, diverse individuals and groups across various functions.
- The ability to work effectively under pressure, handle multiple priorities, tasks, demands and time-sensitive pressurized situations.
- The ability to maintain effective and harmonious relations with the organization’s stakeholders.
- Proactively develops strategies to accomplish objectives and empowers others to translate vision into results.
- Demonstrates ability to meaningfully engage the stakeholders at every turn.
- Production of presentations and financial models at a high level.
- The ability to prioritize work actions and follow-up with meticulous attention to detail and accuracy.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills including creative writing and presentation skills. Excellent organizational and analytical skills and the ability to formulate recommendations and improve team dynamics.
- Strategic Orientation: Focus on the big picture and overall Strategic Framework. Ability to identify and pursue strategic initiatives which provide the greatest value and sustainable impact on African agriculture; balances long and short-term trade-offs; communicates clearly and precisely the strategic goals and the strategies for achieving them.
- Leadership: Demonstrates ability to mobilize, focus, align, and build effective groups to enable them to conceptualize and achieve collective objectives. Inspires Trust and Passion in the AGRA Mission: Ability to show great drive and commitment to AGRA mission; help others understand how their daily work contributes to the AGRA’s mission and inspires others to proactively meet the AGRA’s strategic objectives in partnership with clients. Maintains high standards of personal integrity and provides support for professional development efforts linked to business objectives.
- Market Orientation: Demonstrates knowledge of the markets AGRA serves and the regulatory environment. Provides a balanced a responsive and proactive approach to meeting AGRA needs. Adds business value based on own understanding and service of the market in which they work.
- Driving Results: Demonstrates drive for improvement of business results, based on wellrounded understanding of general business principles and own activities’ commercial and financial implications.
- Planning and Organizing: Devises plans of action with explicit paths and measures of accomplishment for self and/or others and allocates suitable resources so that objectives are achieved. Strong administration skills.
- Technical Competencies for the position: Demonstrates knowledge of all own work role specific issues. This encompasses the technical financial skills (eg. Accounting, management accounting and project finance) or knowledge required to perform the essential duties as described in this Job Description. Other specific technical competencies: quantitative analytical skills including use of appropriate software, results-based management systems, designing tools and strategies for data collection, analysis, and production of reports; Indepth knowledge on MIS, M&E and development issues
- Accuracy and attention to detail: High level of accuracy, attention to detail and thoroughness. Ability to maintain a timely and efficient workflow.
- Managing Resources: Demonstrates 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.
- Coaching and Developing Staff: A demonstrated capacity for working effectively within multi-disciplinary teams for collective success and provide effective coaching and encourage appropriate development activities in order to support staff in identifying and meeting their training and development needs.
- Communication and Interpersonal relations: Exceptional communication skills and ability to represent AGRA externally at high levels. Demonstrates ability to maintain lasting, healthy, and effective one-to-one working relationships with colleagues, suppliers, customers, professional peers, etc.
- Intercultural Sensitivity and Effectiveness: 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
- Teamwork: Demonstrates productive drive in working with peers, partners, consultants, and others to achieve pre-targeted and measurable business results.
Terms of Appointment
3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance).
Based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel at international level, approximately 40% per month/year.
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 9 August 2023. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by AGRA to undertake this assignment.