Senior Policy Officer: Job Reference SPO/HQ/01/2019

About AGRA

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyse Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the centre 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.

AGRA is rolling out a new 5-year strategy to catalyse 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 catalyses change at farmer level, strengthens input and output market systems and puts government at the centre to enable and champion private-sector-led agricultural growth at national level.

One key program within AGRA’s strategy focuses on promoting regional food trade and food markets through policy predictability and market systems development across AGRA’s 11 priority countries in East, West, and Southern Africa.

To support the successful delivery of this programmatic focus within AGRA, we are seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the role of Senior Policy Officer.

The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Position

The Senior Policy Officer is an exciting position within AGRA’s new Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative, which will be responsible for overseeing technical interventions that will advance regional and national policy and regulatory reform to stimulate an increase in regional food trade in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). The incumbent will serve as a technical advisor on regional agriculture policy and regulatory reforms and will keep abreast of and analyse economic, political and other trends affecting trade policy development, and will keep AGRA informed on these trends. S/he will be considered an expert resource on agricultural policy implementation and will be expected to participate actively in internal and external strategy discussions.

The Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative will include two primary strategic components:

  • working with Government, business and civil society to stimulate Africa-specific solutions to improve the transparency and predictability of Governments’ interventions to unlock investment and regional trade;
  • working directly with private companies that source, process, and trade food in the region, to maximise investment, coordination and benefits to smallholder farmers.

In each component, AGRA will collaborate closely with strategic partners who have major programs in these areas, as well as work to identify and support relevant strategic regional initiatives, with a view to maximize learning, coordination and impact. The initiative will be expected to fully integrate resilience at all levels, including working with policy makers to integrate climate resilience considerations in their agriculture policies and interventions.

The Senior Policy Officer will work with multiple partners on targeted regional and national policy and regulatory reforms to enhance interventions in food markets and strengthen food security. He/she will lead the conceptualization, planning, coordination and delivery of the policy component of the program to increase the demand for regional policy and regulatory reforms as well as, support regional and national efforts to put in place policy and institutional conditions and incentives that will enable increased public and private sector investments in regional food trade and market systems development. 

Key Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Lead the development of a common framework and a coalition of partners with which to engage government and agree on shared priorities for policy predictability and mechanisms to incentivize private sector investment in agribusiness.
  • Lead the provision of technical assistance and backstopping to governments through ministries of agriculture and trade to diagnose and assess, prioritize and reform policies, laws, regulations and administrative practices that constrain intra-regional trade.
  • Build the capacity of governments and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to lead and manage policy reform with respect to regional food markets.
  • Commission studies that will provide the evidence necessary to initiate dialogues with key decision makers on policy options that enhance regional trade.
  • Facilitate the development of conceptual insights, problem structuring, modelling and other analytic support to drive critical decision making and planning.
  • Initiate and coordinate dialogues/engagements between national governments and private sector companies that create/appraise reforms and articulate optimal solutions needed to improve policy and regulatory predictability to unlock regional food trade and investment.
  • Support the development and review of policy pieces and collateral for engagements with crucial stakeholders as part of the Regional Food Trade Unit’s influencing strategy.
  • Lead the provision and management of policy sub-grants to national, regional and international technical assistance providers to deliver the regional food trade and resilience initiative.
  • Track and provide regular intelligence on key policy and political trends in the region and AGRA focus countries relevant to improving regional food trade.
  • Carry out light policy and political analysis of key policy dispensations in focus countries and regions and review of regulations and capacity gaps affecting regional trade.
  • Contribute to partnership development with national, regional and continental partners [i.e., governments, private sector, multilateral and bilateral partners, civil society] operating in the regional food market space.
  • Identify and engage professional networks of data collection, consolidation analysts, and translation for policy making and implementation processes pertaining to regional food trade and resilience;
  • Identify and codify key elements of predictability of government interventions into interactive data tools, with the assistance of the program team, and design new interfaces to deliver more impactful agricultural country and regional information.
  • Research and analyse information gathered from diverse data sources and formulate convincing and well-substantiated conclusions and recommendations to shape the Program’s engagement with African governments and partners.
  • Work with AGRA’s Advocacy, Communication and Knowledge Management Units to highlight the implications of improved trade barriers and regulatory frameworks on the economy and food security.
  • Support the resource mobilisation of country and regional level work that seeks to increase intra-Africa food trade through policy predictability and market system development.
  • Collaborate with the Strategy and Analytics team to conduct robust analytics of optimal cost and benefits of policy pathways that suit contextual realities of food trade and regional markets.
  • Provide regular verbal and written updates and briefings on program operations, achievements, and problems to the Head of Regional Food Trade and Head of Policy and Advocacy between official reports.

Key Qualifications and Experience required:

  • At least a Master’s in agriculture economics or any relevant qualification with a focus on trade, market systems and or economic policy;
  • At least 8 years’ experience in implementation of policy programs with government, development partners or other such institutions;
  • Demonstrated ability to make a major contribution to the direction of AGRA’s Regional Food Trade Program strategy and to deliver its goals and objectives.
  • Strong understanding of Africa’s policy and political landscape as it relates to intra-regional food market and food trade;
  • Strong relationships with key national, regional and international partners working on regional food trade and market systems development;
  • Experience in policy research and analysis;
  • 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;
  • Excellent written and spoken English; must have strong analytical skills and demonstrable ability to engage government, development partners and private sector.

An attractive remuneration package commensurate with the responsibilities of the position 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 and telephone contacts) to Please quote the job reference number in the subject line of the application e-mail.

For more information on AGRA, applicants can visit

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer