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Senior Policy Adviser, Hub for Agricultural Policy Action (HAPA) – Job Reference: SPA/HAPA/07/2020

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

About AGRA

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

Under its 5-year strategy, AGRA looks 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.

About HAPA

The Hub for Agriculture Policy Action (HAPA) which sits within the Policy & State Capability Division of AGRA, is a distinct service offering by AGRA to provide consolidation and translation advisory services to governments seeking to reform, refine and/ or develop a more clearly defined policy direction. The approach recognizes the urgent need for timely policy support to the Agriculture sector, which plays an important role in ensuring inclusive growth. It also recognizes the demands for political expediency and the need to ensure that a particular policy direction is anchored in evidence. The approach proposed also addresses the challenge posed by the high turnover of senior government decision makers by engaging local capacity and building on existing knowledge and partnerships. It will also draw on international and continental best practice and enhance the use of evidence given the salient political realities in policy making.

To support this objective, AGRA is seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the role of Senior Policy Adviser, HAPA.

Role Summary:

Reporting to the Head of the Hub for Agricultural Policy Action, the Senior Policy Adviser will be considered the second in charge and a technical expert. The SPA will authoritatively and accurately articulate economic analysis, provide conceptual and operational clarity and have an ability to translate and communicate complex analysis simply and with political relevance. The SPA will oversee the selection of government requests relevant for the consolidation and translation service offering in collaboration with the AGRA country managers and Policy & State Capability Team.

S(he) will be required to effectively manage stakeholders, present to senior government leaders and deepen relationships with governments over time. The candidate will need to have an entrepreneurial, innovative mindset with a proven ability to drive projects to scale. S/he will be considered a leading expert resource on the management of agriculture policy in Africa and will be expected to lead innovation on provision of evidence-based policy to African governments. To be successful in this role you must be possess an entrepreneurial mindset and an established policy expert who can engage successfully with AGRA partners as well as build the team to drive delivery on AGRA’s highest priorities.

The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel both local and international.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Lead identification, mapping and collaboration with the highest quality institutional sources of data and evidence in Africa.
  • Source, validate and prioritize incoming government demands through a collaborative, consultative process.
  • Drive the building of the pipeline of work for HAPA and the prioritization of three or four thematic areas of work.
  • Deliver the best set of policy options in line with the government request for support.
  • Ensure consistency of consolidation and translation of approaches across the regions.
  • Conduct research to inform and shape the effort(s) within policy consolidation and translation and best practices.
  • Produce lessons learnt from the set-up of HAPA in knowledge products such as occasional papers.
  • Support recruitment and build the team of policy system analysts.
  • Support the Head of HAPA in developing an organizational strategy and build impact driven relationships across select priority countries.
  • Lead work plan management to scope out, plan and prioritise medium term (6-12 month) engagements and short-term rapid response projects.
  • Support the Head of HAPA in continuous refinement of HAPA’s mode of operation considering ongoing progress, capturing lessons learned, the evolving policy context and recommendations of adaptive strategies.
  • Work closely with the Head of HAPA in developing the theory of change and operational plans for sustainability and scaling of HAPA.
  • Design and iterate a policy engagement plan with the range of leading actors in data and evidence generation, selection, analysis, e.g., national think tanks and policy bodies, advocacy groups and government advisory service providers.
  • Innovate and synergise new models for engagement and drive them towards early success.
  • Lead technical teams in consolidating and translating policy decisions as well provide strategic advise to the Head of HAPA and the Vice-president-PSC during negotiations and wider engagements with government and stakeholders.
  • Support HAPA’s interface with the respective AGRA Country Managers and the Policy and State Capability Team to add value from a consolidation and translation perspective to existing policy implementation efforts and ensure the delivery of an integrated policy support package to governments.
  • Support the Head of HAPA in engaging the hub’s advisory group in guiding the strategic development and scale of the hub.
  • Support knowledge management and thought leadership in AGRA through identification of methodologies and systematization of approaches to consolidation and translation and provide support for production and dissemination via appropriate channels.
  • Support development, structuring, and occasional implementation of strategic partnerships in collaboration with the resource mobilization team, technical teams and in-country teams.
  • Support development, structuring, and occasional management of investments and contracts to further institutionalize this service offering.

Academic, Professional Qualifications and Relevant experience:

  • A PhD or master’s degree in economics, economic studies or related fields; further expertise in business administration, public policy, development economics/studies or another related field would be highly valued
  • Minimum 8-10 years’ experience work experience in agricultural economic policy design, implementation and management working with government, development partners or other similar institutions.
  • Ability to work in an ambiguous, challenging setting with scarcity of information and with tight timelines, and whenever necessary, the HEAD may delegate management responsibilities.
  • Experience working in a management consulting firm in the broad field of strategy and/or other related areas (policy advisory, business efficiency, performance improvement, organizational change, sector intelligence, stakeholder engagement etc.) would be an added advantage.
  • Strong quantitative/financial knowledge, including experience working with complex economic models, with a demonstrated ability to translate appropriate data to communicate complex information through visual representations for high level government advisory fora.
  • Superior delivery and leadership capacity – can synthesize strategic intent into tangible deliverables that drive institutional progress; proactively motivates team performance and productivity.
  • Experience in policy research and analysis.
  • Experience of end-to-end project management, including scoping and design, resourcing, risk management and quality assurance
  • Experience in M&E.
  • Good command of English, fluency in French will be an advantage.
  • Experience in developing and managing strong partnerships and relationships inside and outside the organization. 
  • Excellent oral, facilitation and written communication skills; works well in diverse teams, with efficiency and diplomacy. 
  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrable ability to engage government, development partners and private sector.
  • Experience working in Africa with a strong understanding of Africa’s policy and political landscape as it relates to governance, policy and trade.
  • Strong relationships with key national, regional and international partners working on state capability and policy development.
  • Demonstrable ability to work in complex work dynamics and challenges. Able to adapt rapidity to new technical areas.
  • Good team working skills.
  • Ability to deliver high quality products under pressure.

An attractive remuneration package commensurate with this position’s responsibility will be negotiated with the successful candidate.

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 noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)

To be considered, applications must be received on or before 12th August, 2020.

For more information on AGRA, applicants can visit www.agra.org

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer