About AGRA

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.

AGRA’s Vision

To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.

AGRA’s Mission

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.

AGRA’s Strategy

  • 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 Opportunity

Head, State Capability

Role purpose

The Head – State Capability, will be responsible for driving AGRA’s Government engagement efforts to cultivate political and technical buy-in and ownership. To support Ministries of Agriculture, affiliated institutions, and other functional Ministries such as Trade, Industry and Finance, identify, analyze, prioritize and design national agri-food strategies. The role will also support in the identification, analysis, prioritization and design of investment plans and flagships to mobilize more partners, resources and target impactful investments that will enhance governments capacity to deliver on their development goals and visions within AGRA focused countries.

Role Summary

S/He will serve as the lead person and advisor for AGRA’s overall government engagements and relevant line ministries with the aim to build their capability for planning, prioritization, and program delivery, as well as establishing and operationalizing stronger sector coordination platforms such as the agriculture sector working groups (ASWGs).  S/He will also support agriculture line ministries to establish and operationalize mutual accountability mechanisms such as joint sector review (JSR) and monitoring and evaluation functions within relevant ministries. As Head of Unit, s/he will be responsible for strengthening the capacity of the State Capability unit’s delivery.This role will manage three specialists namely: Senior Specialist – Institutional Strengthening & CALA; the Specialist – Investment Design & Delivery; and Specialist – Continental Frameworks, Implementation & Compliance.

Key Measures of Performance

The performance of this role holder will be assessed on the basis of the achievements made on:

  • Number of Flagships, National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs), and other strategic programs that are endorsed by governments in AGRA target countries from a food systems perspective and the drive of broader sectoral development goals.
  • Resources committed by governments, development partners and the private sector towards implementation of sector strategies, NAIPs and flagship programs.
  • Number of countries with functional agriculture sector working groups (ASWGs) and donor working groups (DWGs).
  • National Agriculture M&E systems developed and implemented in AGRA focus countries, as well as progress made towards achieving key Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) targets through biennial review (BR) process.
  • Number of regional economic communities (RECs) supported towards development and implementation of regional agricultural investment plans (RAIPs) that are food systems and inclusion compliant (with emphasis on youth and women employment).

Key Responsibilities

Purpose – Transform

  • Targets and crowds in, additional resources from governments, private sector, and development partners for implementation of sector strategies, NAIPs and flagship programs.
  • Working with regional and country teams, leads the establishment and/or strengthening of sector coordination of platforms (ASWGs, DWGs) at sub-national, national, and regional levels to ensure better alignment of resources and activities.
  • Leads the efforts required agriculture line ministries to operationalize its business through the ASWGs.
  • Directs the development and implementation of results measurement for NAIPs and flagships, including data collection on BR indicators.
  • Organizes and facilitates the identification of indicators for specific stakeholder commitments.
  • Leads the development of the State Capability strategy for AGRA, including the hypothesis, the theory of change and action as well as the implementation plan.
  • Leads the development of AGRA’s framework and methodology for flagship program design.
  • Leads engagement with RECs towards development and execution of RAIPs that are food systems and inclusion compliant.

Engagement – Compel

  • Together with AGRA regional and country teams, as well as governments, identifies and prioritizes impactful and inclusive flagship programs for design and implementation in AGRA focus countries.
  • Work with regional and country teams to support national governments to design food systems-centric and inclusive sector strategies, NAIPs and Flagship programs.
  • Working with regional teams, leads development of capacity strengthening programs targeting continental and regional mandated institutions for youth employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Working with regional and country teams, designs and builds support packages in consultation with the governments and other stakeholders.
  • Coordinates with HQ, regional and country teams towards implementations of state capability plans.
  • Engages and influences governments to identify AGRA’s strategic niche for country support.
  • Galvanizes government and other stakeholders to build consensus on priority investment areas in line with NAIPs and sector development goals.
  • Encourages agriculture line ministries and partners to follow through on commitments made by state and non-state actors.
  • Maps, targets, and engages partners involved in similar investments to AGRA’s, brings them on board and operationalizes new partnerships to drive State Capability engagements.
  • Builds and maintains a wide network of stakeholders and contributors to AGRA’s work.
  • Communicates results and impact of AGRA’s work through presentations, written and verbal communication.
  • Enables talent management and development of existing staff, acquiring of new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics to ensure high-performance and positive employee experience.
  • Inspires and grows teamwork, partnership, and collaboration among the state capability team to raise overall team contributions and performance.
  • Directs and provides coaching to relevant technical and administrative staff.

Delivery – Define Program Cycle

  • Designs and builds support packages in consultation with the AGRA country teams and governments (and other partners).
  • Designs and develops Agriculture Sector Strategies and NAIPs for governments in focus countries.
  • Designs the development and implementation of results measurement for NAIPS and flagships, including data collection on BR indicators.
  • Creates and facilitates Joint Sector Reviews with the aim of developing inclusive and evidence-based sector-wide and thematic policy documents.

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

  • Master’s in agriculture economics, social sciences, monitoring and evaluation or any relevant qualification with a focus on economic policy, public administration, project management.
  • A PhD in agriculture economics or related fields will be an added advantage.

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Strong relationships with key national, regional, and international partners working on state capability and policy development.
  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrable ability to engage government, RECs, development partners and private sector actors.
  • Demonstrated ability to make a major contribution to the direction of AGRA’s State Capability unit and to deliver its goals and objectives.
  • Strong understanding of Africa’s policy and political landscape as it relates to CAADP implementation.
  • Demonstrable ability to work in complex work dynamics and challenges.
  • Ability to adapt rapidity to new technical areas.
  • Good team working skills.
  • Ability to deliver high quality products under pressure.
  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrable ability to engage government, development partners and private sector.

Relevant Experience

  • Experience in implementation of policy programs with government, RECs, development partners or other mandated institutions.
  • Experience of end-to-end project management, including scoping and design, resourcing, risk management and quality assurance.
  • Experience in developing and managing strong partnerships and relationships inside and outside the organization, managing conflicts, and building consensus. Comfortably engages with senior decision makers within organization and constructively challenges colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
  • Experience in policy research and analysis.
  • Experience in project management.
  • Experience in M&E.

Key Competencies

  • 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 well-rounded 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: Demonstrate 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 and development issues.
  • Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Promotes the development and use of organization-wide knowledge sharing systems that capture all relevant information from sources inside and outside of the organization; Leads in defining and prioritizing the organization’s knowledge needs; Establishes and fosters a culture that encourages change, innovation and continuous learning; Encourages and supports others to be innovative and actively generates new perspectives on own and team’s work; Delegates authority to match responsibilities, and holds team members accountable for agreed-upon commitments; Consistently assumes responsibility for divisional or unit actions by explaining successes, failures, and proposing remedial actions; Invests significant time in building and rewarding a culture of accountability and responsibility by using experience and advice to guide others; Clearly  and credibly communicates the organizational mandate and uses opportunities while representing the  organization externally to promote its mission; Communicates confidently, commands attention and respect when speaking, and projects credibility; Delivers difficult or unpopular messages with clarity, tact and diplomacy; Influences others actively and negotiates constructively through a persuasive, flexible approach.
  • 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.

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 30% 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.