Executive Director, Africa


The job has expired.

Number of Positions:
Contract Type:
Permanent/Full Time
Contract Details:
Working Hours:
Preference for one of Nairobi, Addis or Accra. Other locations in Africa could also be considered.
Closing Date:
Job Category:
Business Area / Division:
Advisory - Africa
Business Unit:
United Kingdom

Focus of the Role

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a purpose-driven, not-for-profit organisation, with a mission to equip leaders to build open, prosperous and inclusive societies. We believe that politics done well has the power to transform lives. When governments work well, they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We are optimists, and we work relentlessly to support leaders and governments with the challenges they face: giving them practical solutions and actionable insights, that once implemented, can be transformative for their people.  

We do this within two connected divisions: 

Government Advisory 

Our Advisory Practice works 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. We are currently in a rapid expansion phase from c. 18 countries at present, to 30 by December 2022.

 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. 

As an organisation, the core beliefs we all embrace are: 

·       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 Changemaker: 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.

The core element of our Advisory Practice is our long-standing work in Africa. Established in 2008 (and previously carried out as the Africa Governance Initiative) we now work  in 14 countries across East, West and Southern Africa with c. 130 employees. 

Our work is focussed on supporting leaders to incubate and deliver their visions for their countries; and supporting their governments to build institutional capacity and resilience. Our work in Africa is funded through a mix of philanthropic sources, grants and contracts; and our high-performing teams seek to combine ambitous talent from the private, public and NGO sectors recruited both locally and internationally.  In 2021 and 2022, we have exciting growth plans, both expanding into new strategic geographies e.g. the Sahel, DRC and rolling out an ambitious new tech-based partnership.

Reporting to the Institute’s CEO, the Executive Director Africa, is a key and senior role, leading and managing our Advisory practice in Africa. The Executive Director is responsible for the successful growth and delivery of the practice’s work across all of its countries. We are looking for a senior leader with stature and reputation on the African continent, one with strong relationships with C-suite business and/or senior government leaders. Strategic vision, coupled with the ability to lead a significant portfolio of well established and new programmes, run by expert Advisory staff, will be essential.

The role is supported by senior regional management across the continent (Regional Directors and Country Heads), and requires close working relationships with the Institute’s Executive Chairman the Rt Hon Tony Blair, CEO, Middle East Government Advisory practice, Policy Futures, Fundraising and Institute Resources teams.

This opportunity arises as the existing Executive Director moves into a new role and in response to the portfolio getting larger and more diverse, with more advanced economies and fragile states joining.

Key Responsibilities

  • Strategically lead and manage the Africa Advisory practice, ensuring the delivery of high quality and advice and programmes across the 15 countries we currently work
  • Drive and deliver the further expansion of our work, and in particular bringing to bear a new focus on tech transformation, working with the newly created Global Director for Tech and Development
  • Build, lead, coach and direct a senior team  of 3-5 Regional Directors, 15+ Country Heads and working collaboratively with the Global Director Tech for Development and ED/Middle East to:
    • establish, review and maintain the strategy, objectives and key results for the practice, with a clear measurement framework;
    • establish effective and trusted relationships with senior politicians in government, including Presidents, PMs, Ministers and Special Advisors, securing mandates with multiple key counterparts as a regular point of contact;
    • act as a thought partner to teams to help provide innovative solutions to government and leadership problems and frame them in a compelling way
    • be propositional with our growth tech for development initiative and ensure that the work delivered across our practice supports and complements our initiative
  • Ensure the growth and development of a high-performing culture and provide a continued focus on learning and development
  • Shape and embody a positive culture that drives ambition, innovation and delivery
  • Oversee and be accountable for recruitment across the practice. Support Regional Directors and Country Heads to hire, manage and develop, critically providing quality control of new hires and mentoring
  • Develop and lead coherent fundraising strategies, map donor opportunities across a wide group of stakeholders. Engage with key donors, relevant external stakeholders such as other not for profit organisations, media, suppliers and agencies
  • Act as a representative of TBI, including public-speaking and media engagements
  • Manage and be accountable for the practice’s budget (c$20m, together with future growth)
  • Ensure expenditure is utilised in line with budget, with robust management accounts and accountability established amongst budget delegations
  • Ensure all necessary risk, legal and financial processes are in place for the successful delivery of work and safety and security of employees
  • Be an active member of the TBI ExCo, build strong, collaborative relationships across TBI and actively champion TBI’s values.
  • Provide direct advice to the TBI Executive Chairman as well as CEO, Board and wider leadership team

Person Specification

The Executive Director will be an experienced and successful leader:

  • With a minimum of 10 years’ experience in government, government advisory, management consulting or other organisational leadership.
  • Who is strategic, entrepreneurial, can challenge the status-quo and develop plans for successful delivery of challenging objectives
  • With leadership experience in government, consulting or advisory functions
  • With a track record of success in generating new business and developing an organization
  • With demonstrable expertise in economics, public policy, or international relations
  • With outstanding leadership and management skills and the proven ability to build and inspire teams to achieve exceptional objectives
  • Who is a skilled communicator and influencer, from executive office level through to technical level, is adept at speaking to senior leadership, knows how to navigate ambiguous environments and is comfortable at managing up and beyond hierarchy
  • Who has worked or consulted in developing and emerging economies and is sensitive to a diverse range of cultural and regional norms, and fosters a positive spirit of collaboration

Experience in technology enterprises or programmes is advantageous, as is the ability to speak French fluently.