Senior Program Officer, Markets: Job Reference SPOM/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 Program Officer, Markets.

 The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Position

The Senior Program Officer, Markets is an exciting position within AGRA’s new Africa Food Trade and Resilience Initiative that will lead field-based implementation of technical activities to remove cross border trade bottlenecks, facilitate and accelerate regional trade in staple foods. The incumbent will serve as a technical advisor on the development of regional market systems and will be a thought leader in shaping the development of the Africa Food Trade and Resilience initiative and managing a portfolio of investments that promote regional food markets and food trade.

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

  • working with governments, agribusinesses, and other non-state actors’ 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 Program Officer, Markets will be responsible for formulating the right technical solutions and projects for AGRA’s regional trade portfolio to achieve AGRA’s impact targets. This will include working in close collaboration with external partners and stakeholders, other major programs of key technical partners, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and key development partners, particularly DfID, USAID, etc. The incumbent will lead the conceptualization, planning, coordination and delivery of the market component of the program for strengthened and expanded access to output markets and increased use of structured markets.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide overall technical leadership in developing regional food value chains and market systems that expand market opportunities for farmers and strengthen market transparency and efficiency.
  • Identify and monitor key trends and contextual dynamics which inform issues of regional food trade policies and initiatives in Africa;
  • Oversee the initial assessment of the key factors informing the competiveness of selected agricultural commodities in regional and national markets
  • Guide implementing partners in the design and implementation of projects that enhance regional food trade.
  • Support the development of financial products that enable food trade in target countries.
  • Champion partnerships between governments and agribusinesses to upgrade key value chains for increased food security and income.
  • Mobilize providers of supporting goods and services to strengthen regional market systems.
  • Advise agriculture stakeholders on regional agricultural market policies, trade finance, and investment opportunities.
  • Work in partnership with the policy team to analyse the effects policies on the performance of regional markets.
  • Work with AGRA policy teams and networks to identify policy options and build scenarios to recommend policy actions specific to country context.
  • Support country managers in messaging and engaging with relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies on topics of regional market systems development and agricultural growth pathways.
  • Contribute to writing background documents, analysis, briefs and presentations, often on short timelines.
  • Organize/facilitate discussions on regional investment-related issues involving representatives of the private and public sector, with a view to reach consensus on improved policies for regional and national investment in agriculture trade, agribusiness and agriculture support services.
  • Track and provide regular intelligence on key trade and market trends in the region and AGRA focus countries.
  • Facilitate improved coordination and investment in regional food value chains and market systems.
  • Oversee the development of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analysis related to regional food trade and markets including market price trends, demand and supply fundamentals, import and export parity, trade flows and competitiveness of key agricultural industries.
  • Identify and monitor key trends and contextual dynamics which inform issues of regional food trade policies and initiatives in Africa.
  • Carry out light analysis of select agricultural sectors/food chains, including food security and food safety issues and assesses the feasibility of agribusiness investment projects.

Key Qualifications and Experience required:

  • Advanced degree in agribusiness, agricultural economics or other relevant discipline related to agricultural or agribusiness development;
  • Deep knowledge of regional food trade and market systems development and the demonstrated ability to catalyse change in addressing market challenges;
  • At least ten years of experience in markets and private sector engagement with agricultural systems;
  • Solid knowledge of international and regional trade, and regional integration;
  • Possesses a good understanding of agriculture market development efforts in public, private and donor sectors in Africa;
  • Communication skills to explain new opportunities and priorities for agriculture development to both internal and external audiences;
  • Ability to organise and prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple competing demands;
  • 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; and, 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