Country Head

Job Reference: tbigc/TP/5126/199
Number of Positions: 1
Contract Type: Fixed Term/Full Time
Contract Details: Ongoing
Salary: Competitive
Working Hours: 35 Hours per week
Closing Date: 04/12/2020
Job Category: Advisory
Business Area / Division: Advisory - Africa
Business Unit: Malawi
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Focus of the Role

Malawi elected a new President in June 2020, and the President is looking to strengthen the capacity of his government to implement his vision for development, as outlined in his party’s manifesto and in the manifestos of parties in his political alliance. On this basis, TBI is looking to set up a new project to support the Government of Malawi to strengthen its delivery and implementation mechanisms (the Project).

This is likely to include a delivery function in State House, but also potentially support other parts of the Presidency e.g. communications, international affairs. The Project will need to be established and demonstrate results in a short period. It will need to be proximate to the President, and always remain relevant to his key priorities. It will also need to identify and implement technological solutions to key Presidential priorities.

In addition to strengthening delivery in the Presidency, the Project will seek to strengthen connections with other key ministries and agencies, both in the centre (the Vice President’s Office and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Planning) as well as key sector Ministries, such as the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre and the Ministries covering infrastructure. Our Malawi team may extend to include advisors in these or other Ministries, depending on the sectoral priorities of the Presidency.

The Country Head role is an important role within our Africa Advisory teams: it provides leadership and management to a project, sets and delivers project goals, maintains relations with the President and key counterparts in the governments, manages the project budget and impact of work, drives in-country fundraising, ensures a successful technology for development programme and provides the link between the Malawi Project team and the rest of the organisation.

In Malawi, the Country Head will establish the Project and develop its strategy while simultaneously begin to work with Government.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Understand and engage with principal stakeholders
  • Build a clear understanding of wider context, including role of development partners, private sector and other players;
  • Build relationships with the President, his chief of staff, his direct team and advisors, the Secretary of the Presidency and Cabinet and key officials in charge of the central aspects of the delivery mechanism to understand the country’s priorities, build TBI’s credibility, and spot and exploit opportunities;
  • Build relationships with the Vice President’s office and the key senior ministries to facilitate the implementation of the President’s top priorities well as identify and realise opportunities;
  • Be propositional around Technology for Development solutions for the outputs and outcomes sought by the President, particularly in areas digitalization of government services, healthtech, agtech and energytech; and
  • Deploy resources outside of the team – wider TBI colleagues, including Mr. Blair’s office, the TBI sector practices and strategic partnerships within TBI’s network etc – to support the Project where appropriate.
  1. Set and report on the strategic direction of the Project
  • Develop the strategic direction for the project based on TBI’s mission and approach within the particular country context;
  • Look at how the wider TBI model can be applied in Malawi and test and learn quickly to meet government needs;
  • Lead the annual strategy setting process for the country project and the quarterly review process;
  • Using the organizational Theory of Change and impact tools to ensure the Project has a clear measurement framework.
  1. Strong delivery through your team
  • Build and lead a high caliber team that is bought into the shared strategy, is aligned across workstreams, solves problems together and holds each other accountable for impact;
  • Recruit and manage staff effectively, including building a culture of objective setting, professional development and evaluation, feedback and nurturing the next generation of TBI leaders;
  • Ensure strong teamwork across the team at all times and provide support as needed to team members. Ensure a good working relationship within TBI team and with local counterparts;
  • Oversee a Technology for Development team that will be established in Q1 2021 ensuring proximity to the work in the Presidency and work closely with the Institute’s Global Director, Tech for Development;
  • Establish a planning and evaluation cycle to regularly assess whether the strategy is ‘working’, and adapt rapidly in response to new challenges and opportunities;
  • Be the interface between the Project team and the rest of the organisation by representing the team’s views and communicating issues and priorities from the rest of the organisation to the team.  
  1. Contribute to wider leadership and development of TBI
  • Contribute to the wider leadership and development of TBI as an organisation by contributing to corporate decisions both within TBI’s Advisory Practice and the wider organisation;
  • Contribute to organisational learning by identifying innovations and factors which contribute to or inhibit success and impact.
  1. Manage operational requirements of the Project
  • Working closely with our Institute Resources team:
    • Ensure that all legal requirements are met for operating in country, including initiating and supporting all legal status activities relation to the Project and TBI staff in country;
    • Ensure policies, procedures and the Institute’s Standard Operating Procedures are always adhered to ;
    • Ensure that risks to the Project and staff are spotted and managed adequately and emergency protocols are in place to maximise the safety and well-being of the team, including ensuring all security and safety protocols are upheld and kept up to date;
    • Set and manage the project budget, including putting in place appropriate financial controls; and
    • Ensure timely completion of financial processes for the Project.
  1. Fundraising
  • Understand fundraising and business development market requirements by mapping donor opportunities amongst a wide group of stakeholders (predominantly Foundation offices, bilateral and multilateral donor agency offices and staff, development contractors and INGOs – both not-for profit and for-profit);
  • Develop and lead the implementation of a coherent fundraising strategy for the project, with the support of other parts of the organization;
  • Build and maintain intelligence and relationships to inform Project and/or Advisory wide fundraising strategies, to ultimately to secure project funding;
  • Input to the development of marketing materials, presentations and bids as required.  Input to the development and implementation of donor trips/meetings etc as required.

Person Specification

We are looking for outstanding individuals with a proven track record of leadership and delivery in the public or private sectors. All candidates will be required to have at least 10 years of experience in a leadership role, managing medium to large teams and project budgets. Above all, we are looking for individuals with high levels of enthusiasm, resilience, adaptability and a can-do attitude. We seek to create international and multi-disciplinary teams and are looking for individuals with a solid background in public/civil services worldwide; strategy consulting; private equity and finance or international development.

The requirements are:

  1. The ability to work and interact at the highest levels of political life in Malawi; have strong political acumen; being able to develop an understanding of the needs of senior officials;
  2. An ability to work independently, think strategically and translate strategies into concrete and implementable plans; an acute attention to detail with excellent analytical, organizational, and communication skills;
  3. Excellent inter-personal skills and ability to work both independently and as part of a wider team;
  4. Proven strong abilities and experience leading and managing people and teams;
  5. Experience with project development and project management;
  6. Ability to liaise with partner governments, the private sector, and key stakeholders (e.g. donors) to deliver the requirements of the role, including a realistic fundraising strategy for the project;
  7. A strong understanding of the principles of delivery in a government context
  8. Willingness to travel, sometimes at short notice;
  9. Experience of identifying and resolving project implementation bottlenecks;
  10. Strong sense of ethics, discretion and perseverance required;
  11. Experience of living and working in developing countries is strongly desirable; and
  12. Fluency in English and French is required.

About The Institute

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. It exists to equip political leaders and governments with the tools to create open, inclusive and prosperous societies in a globalised world.

We do this within two connected divisions:

Government Advisory

Our Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It has both non-profit partners and a client base and its outputs cover a range of disciplines and projects across countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.

Policy Futures

Our Policy Futures work encompasses three broad areas:

  • Renewing the Centre: developing a bold and innovative domestic policy programme to help renew the centre ground of British politics;
  • Tech and Public Policy: exploring the policy challenges and opportunities presented by the technological revolution; and
  • Extremism Policy Unit: creating solutions designed to tackle the threat of extremist ideologies in the UK and around the world.

What we believe in as an organisation:

  • Open and Progressive – you’ll believe in the value of teamwork
  • Bold and Pragmatic – you’ll approach everything you do with integrity and authenticity
  • Optimistic Changemakers – you’ll be focused on results

TBI believes embracing diversity and inclusion make us a better place to work.  It’s our goal to reflect everyone in society and we actively welcome applications from individuals and groups who are under-represented in the workplace. We celebrate difference be it ethnicity, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

We will only ever assess you on your abilities and fit for a role. We’re happy to discuss any adjustments you need to ensure a level playing field during recruitment and, if you're successful, discuss any adjustments you might need to thrive in your role.