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?
Director, Inclusive Markets, Trade and Finance
The Director of Inclusive Markets, Trade & Finance is a senior member of the Center of Technical Expertise Division. S/He will be responsible for providing leadership to 3 Technical Heads and their respective agricultural technical teams namely 1) Head Regional Food Trade 2) Head Markets & Post Harvest Management 3) Head Inclusive Finance. S/He is responsible for consistency in program development, implementation, and monitoring of impact in all countries where AGRA operates. The role is key in ensuring collaboration between Inclusive Markets, Trade & Finance (IMTF) teams with a focus on enhancing the capacity of agricultural MSMEs that source and trade smallholder produce in collaboration with other technical areas and program delivery areas. The role drives coherence in the design and oversight of all elements of AGRA’s technical programs and strategy under Inclusive Markets, Trade & Finance.
S/he will provide technical guidance on agricultural Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) development in an integrated manner, tackling systemic gaps of access to finance and on strengthening market and trade institutions, platforms, and actors. This is with the aim of driving inclusive markets and trade at domestic, regional, and continental levels – ensuring that increased on-farm productivity is matched by post-harvest “pull” opportunities for aggregators, traders, and processors. The Director – Inclusive Markets, Trade & Finance will, in collaboration with Heads of Units, constantly mine the realm of innovations and business models that are adoptable in AGRA programs through partners and platforms. S/he will ensure that the program delivery teams get more appropriate, relevant, and timely inputs from the IMTF business line heads and that they deliver on associated IMTF key performance indicators.
Key Measures of Performance
The performance of this role holder will be assessed on the basis of the achievements made on:
- Delivering on select drivers of systems transformation as defined by the Theory of Change and Theory of Action of the IMTF business line. This includes functioning services markets for MSMEs, reduced trade barriers and enhanced sourcing of produce from smallholder farmers across value chains.
- Growth of IMTF portfolio in terms of geographical scope, value of transactions, farmers reached and number of private sector participants (mainly Agri-SMEs).
- Number of partnerships with Governments, MDBs and financial sector players to develop and implement blended finance models for the agricultural sector.
- Measurable impact on adoption of innovations under output market linkages, post-harvest and value addition, Agri-SME competitiveness, food trade policies and trade corridors, and access to finance.
- Collaboration with other AGRA business lines to ensure a coherent and integrated approach to delivering enhanced capacity to agricultural MSMEs and their services provision to smallholder farmers transformation.
- Level of integration of AGRA’s cross-cutting areas into IMTF program design and implementation.
Purpose – Transform
- Strategizes and directs the technical teams within the function and lead systems development activities across the three areas under IMTF.
- Recommends deployment & utilization of new products, creates enticing product claims, and identifies cost saving opportunities.
- Builds partnerships that advance trade, markets and better blended financial flows.
- Provides leadership to technical teams within their function overseeing their general management, including program development, delivery, and evaluation, as well as fundraising, budget setting, knowledge management, and all external relationship management.
- Support teams in analytical capability, and associated modelling to inform models, trends, and predictions; and support countries, regional and continental partners to address Trade, Inclusive Markets and Finance challenges and opportunities.
- Promotes scaling of platforms, coalitions, cooperatives etc Including digital platforms to improve access to finance, market, and trade information and opportunities.
Engagement – Compel
- Collaborates closely with other colleagues and teams, especially within technical expertise, to ensure alignment on project goals, effective use of resources and explore innovation possibilities.
- Nurtures and develops professional relationships with various finance, market, and trade institutions as well as industry associations through electronic and oral communications and by attending and/or participating in professional meetings and platforms.
- Ensures strategic engagement at regional, continental, and global levels in shaping the future of African food systems through markets, trade, and flow of private sector investment.
- Inspires and grows teamwork, partnership, and collaboration among the product development team to raise overall team contributions and performance.
- Enables talent management and development of existing IMTF staff, acquiring of new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics to ensure high-performance and positive employee experience.
- Directs and provides coaching to technical and administrative staff within the function.
Delivery – Define Program Cycle
- Reviews project standards and goals, directs execution of projects where required and evaluates progress through regular performance reviews.
- Reviews scope of work, provides input, and evaluates proposals for funding.
- Takes a lead in ensuring the team supports institution processes that require teamwork and collaborative engagement across teams in Operations, Human Resources and Technical areas.
- Ensure engagement and collaboration with the rest of the institution while planning, executing, tracking, and evaluating impact.
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.
Academic and Professional Qualifications
- PhD or MSc in Economic, Agricultural Economic, Finance or any other related area with experience working in agriculture/related work, significant demonstrated industry experience in analytical capability, relevant product development, deployment, report development and communications.
- Fluency in English required; ability to communicate in French will be considered an asset.
- Demonstrated industry experience in areas of agricultural markets, food trade and finance.
- Strong analytical skills in market and trade analysis, as well as deal-making to leverage financing from private and public sector.
- Deep understanding of market systems development approach and the policy and regulatory enabling environment for functional markets and trade.
- Understanding of capability requirements for market, trade and finance systems reform and implementation.
- Familiarity working with private sector in structuring of deals around sourcing and financing from smallholder farmers, geographical expansion, and development of digitization tools in relevant IMTF areas.
- Familiarity with the continental integration agenda including but not limited to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
- Familiarity with food systems components, typology of partners, range of technologies and practices for agricultural transformation.
- Deep knowledge of the basic tenets of agricultural systems across the food chain, both internationally and within the African context.
- Strong verbal and written communications skills, and ability to speak & communicate effectively in front of large groups in lecture and field settings.
- Experience in areas of market development, food trade and inclusive finance or related fields.
- Experience working with multinational agriculture development agencies in Africa.
- Leadership: Demonstrates ability to mobilize, focus, align, and build effective groups to enable them 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.
- Grantees and market Orientation: Demonstrates knowledge of the grantees they serve and the regulatory environment. Provides a balanced a responsive and proactive approach to meeting grantee and partner needs; encourages staff to understand grantee and partner needs and concerns; Adds business value based on own understanding and support of the grantees and the market in which they operate.
- Achieving Results Effectively: Shows determination to achieve goals over time; resists any pressure to be deflected from this attainment; Prepares to challenge others and address poor performance where this is impacting on effective service delivery; Takes calculated risks, based on learning and experience, to achieve longer-term service improvements.
- Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Encourages knowledge-sharing across units/departments and ensures that knowledge is captured, recorded and disseminated appropriately; Demonstrates individual responsibility for defining and delivering on the organization’s priorities; Takes others’ perspectives into account when communicating, negotiating or presenting arguments; Keeps teams informed of decisions and directives of senior management and communicates them in a manner that ensures understanding and acceptance.
- Adaptability: Publicly supports and adapts to major/fundamental changes that show promise of improving established ways of operating; Seeks opportunities for change in order to achieve improvement in work processes, systems, etc.; Maintains composure and shows self-control in the face of challenges and change; Adapts to new ideas and initiatives across a wide variety of issues or situations; Shifts priorities, changes style and responds with new approaches as needed to deal with new or changing demands.
- Technical Competencies for the position: Demonstrates knowledge of all own work role specific issues. This encompasses the technical skills or knowledge required to perform the essential duties as described in this Job Description. 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; In-depth knowledge on development issues.
- Stakeholder Focus/Partnerships: Tracks trends and developments that will affect own organization’s ability to meet current and future stakeholder needs; Identifies benefits for stakeholders; looks for ways to add value; Seeks out and involves clients or prospective stakeholders in assessing services, solutions or products to identify ways to improve; Establishes service standards and develops strategies to ensure staff meet them; Creates stakeholder-centric processes for others to use; that are relevant and efficient; Networking – Ability to establish mutually beneficial relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.
- Effective Leadership: Fosters a sense of team spirit by developing a shared understanding, accountability and enthusiasm for the team’s work; Displays a high level of cultural awareness, sensitivity to different ways of working and leverages individual’s strengths in order to build a better team; Shares credit for team accomplishments and ensures that the contribution of others is recognized; Helps created a positive team spirit, putting aside personal considerations to help the team achieve its goals.
- Diversity & Inclusion: Takes every opportunity to ensure that project teams and work groups are diverse; Encourages and capitalizes on the diverse contributions and strengths of team members; Practices inclusive behaviors in groups and intervenes with sensitivity when exclusionary behaviors occur; Encourages innovation and creativity in the workplace; Embraces diversity as a resource to benefit the organization and its members; Supports systems, procedures and practices which promote diversity in the workplace and programmatic activity; Leverages the benefits differences can add.
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, 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 23 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.