Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Job Reference: SSP/CTE/01/2024


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:

  1. Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation. 
  4. 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.

Implementing Our New Strategy Through People

People are the heart of our organization and remain the true drivers of our delivery and our impact.

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 commitment to a call to action goes beyond ourselves as we arise to catalyze African Food Systems transformation by being Deeply collaborative, Executing Excellently, Sincerely Constructive and Increasingly Entrepreneurial aligned with our values of (I-RISE; Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity).

We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa 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 Position

Senior Specialist – Policy , Job Reference: SSP/CTE/01/2024, Based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel, approximately 30% .

The Senior Specialist – Policy supports the Policy & Advocacy unit in the development of strategic partnerships with donors and African governments, and spearheading policy development and advocacy for advancing the work of AGRA at the national, regional, and global levels. This role also develops strategic linkages with partners and collaborators such as at national governments level, private sector, and other development partners that AGRA works with to leverage its investments in agriculture transformation.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Extends technically sound policy research and conceptualization, wide peer professional review, and advocacy techniques for general stakeholder ownership and legislative or industry adoption.
  • Guide country governments and continental/regional organizations on the policy of agro-industrial policy making and implementation, working closely with other key AGRA technical teams (e.g. markets, youth and state capability).
  • Leads a team of Policy Officers from a high-level intellectual viewpoint to strengthen the innovative policy support systems (seeds, fertilizers, markets) for effective evidence-based policy support systems for national governments to help catalyze a green revolution in Africa.
  • Spearheads the strengthening of national capacities for policy design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national and regional policy support for an African green revolution.
  • Lead provision of technical assistance and backstopping to governments through Ministries of Agriculture, Industry and Trade, Investments, Finance, Youth and similar on the development of agricultural, agro-industrial, food systems and agri-based job creation and youth policies and strategies.
  • Lead provision of technical assistance and backstopping to continental and regional bodies such as the RECs to strengthen their ability to support countries in the roll out of continental and regional strategies of agricultural, agro-industrial, food systems and agri-based job creation and youth policies and strategies. 
  • Lead provision of support to continental and regional bodies on strengthening dialogue and feedback loops between them and countries on the implementation of continental and regional frameworks on agriculture, agro processing, food systems and job-creation and youth policies and strategies.
  • Engage with other AGRA business lines and country teams on their engagement in specific policy areas (e.g. trade, industrial/market, climate, digitalization, seed, fertilizer) with governments, sub-national governments, regional and continental bodies, to guide them in how to follow a robust process for policy and strategy making.
  • In particular collaborate closely with the State Capability team on their efforts to strengthen delivery, program management of flagship projects, and institutional capacity strengthening, and with the Inclusive Markets, Trade and Finance team on their efforts to develop agro-industrialization strategies that structure markets and boost net exports and access to finance. Collaborate also with the digitalization department for data for policy making; and with the investment team on the feedback loop between investment facilitation efforts and the policy making process.
  • Support AGRA’s State Capability team to coordinate engagement with national government departments and private sector firms to create options for reforms, appraise reforms, select optimal solutions, articulate public expenditures needed to implement  policy and regulatory reforms and develop the sequence reforms need to go through and reform management work plans.
  • Support AGRA’s policy advocacy efforts with global, continental and regional bodies on agricultural policy, agro-industrialization, climate, food systems and job creation and youth.
  • Lead management of provision of sub-grants to local and international technical assistance providers to deliver the reform work plans.
  • Support development of policy briefs and other communication and advocacy products. 
  • Lead conceptualization and analysis of the initiation, development, validation, approval and implementation of reformed policies and regulations at continental and regional levels.
  • Manage documentation, monitoring and evaluation of policy processes, outputs, outcomes, impact and lessons learned and dissemination.
  • Coordinate technical assistance to the Regional Economic Communities to align with the Malabo Declaration Implementation Strategy and Roadmap and Program of Work 2015-2016 for development, validation, approval, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of policies, regulations and standards to harmonize seeds, fertilizers and agricultural commodities to expand intraregional agricultural trade.
  • Contribute resource mobilization, proposal writing and progress reporting to donors.
  • Facilitate and coordinate internal and external reviews to evaluate outputs, outcomes and impact of AGRA investments on agricultural policy and regulatory reforms.
  • Contribute to partnership development and liaison with national, regional and continental partners on technical policy and regulatory reform issues.
  • Produce knowledge products for public consumption on African agriculture, agro-industrialization, food systems, job creation and youth, e.g. articles, blogs, AASR and blogs.
  • Facilitate a dedicated website within the AGRA website for agricultural policy resources.
  • In partnership with the Results Management team, ensures that the plans for the program are well executed.
  • Lead provision of technical assistance and backstopping to governments through Ministries of Agriculture, Industry and Trade, Investments, Finance, Youth and similar on the development of agricultural, agro-industrial, food systems and agri-based job creation and youth policies and strategies, 
  • Leads and oversees a team of AGRA Policy Officers for the implementation of the AGRA Policy strategy at the national, regional, and global levels.
  • Leads AGRA’s engagements with national governments and donors and designs appropriate policies and institutions to create a conducive policy environment to improve incentives for smallholder farmers to invest in agriculture.
  • Galvanizes the program team to understand their perspectives on the policy support needs for advancing the uptake and impacts of their interventions in AGRA’s high priority countries and regions. 
  • Identifies, builds, and maintains strong relationships with other partners working to improve agricultural policies in Africa to strengthen the innovative policy support systems designed to improve policy processes on the continent.
  • Directs and provides coaching to relevant technical and administrative staff.
  • Directs and manages a grant-making budget to develop and implement a holistic and impact-driven strategy to link African smallholder farmers to markets and create opportunities for economic transactions that generate income.
  • In partnership with the Resource Mobilization team, raises enough resources to scale out and consolidate the Policy program’s strategic activities.

Key Qualifications and Experience required:

  • At least a Masters’ degree in agricultural economics, private sector development economics, or a related field with a strong policy process background, potentially including research and publications.
  • At least 7 years of experience working in agricultural or private sector development economic policy and strategy.
  • Experience working within a multicultural environment, as well as the ability to work closely with diverse groups of donors.
  • Experience working with governments on the development of modern industrial policies to coordinate the agriculture and agro-processing sectors would be an advantage (in agriculture or other sectors)
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation and coordinating design and maintenance of databases and websites. 
  • Good command of English; working knowledge of French is an added advantage.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to effectively convey policy recommendations, present findings to diverse audiences, and articulate complex ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Proven leadership ability to influence, develop, and empower partners and employees to achieve their best with a team approach.
  • Deep understanding of the policy environment within which AGRA is operating.
  • Results and detail orientated with a very hands-on approach.
  • Excellent leadership, organizational, and problem solving/decision making skills.
  • Demonstrated expertise in developing and implementing policies, including understanding the policy lifecycle, conducting policy research, analyzing data, and formulating evidence-based recommendations.
  • Strong analytical skills to evaluate complex policy issues, assess the potential impacts and outcomes, and make sound decisions based on available data and research. The ability to think critically and strategically is crucial.
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate with various stakeholders, such as government officials, industry representatives, community organizations, and internal teams. The senior specialist should be able to build relationships, negotiate, and influence others to achieve policy objectives.
  • Proficiency in conducting policy evaluations and impact assessments to assess the effectiveness of existing policies, identify gaps or areas for improvement, and develop recommendations for policy revisions or new initiatives.
  • Strong project management skills to oversee and coordinate policy initiatives, including setting goals, developing work plans, managing resources, and ensuring timely delivery of outcomes.

If you believe you are the right candidate for this position, kindly submit your application with a detailed CV (including your e-mail and telephone contacts) to Please quote the job reference number in the subject line of the application e-mail. 

Applications must be received on or before 2nd February 2024. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

For more information on the AGRA, visit

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer