Agriculture Advisor

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Contract Type:
Fixed Term/Full Time
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Business Area / Division:
Advisory - Africa
Business Unit:
Sierra Leone

Focus of the Role

TBI has been working in Sierra Leone since 2008, with advisors embedded in the Office of the President, the Ministry of Finance, of Agriculture, of Trade and Industry, of Energy, among other Ministries and over the years.

The Institute has been working with the new administration in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) since July 2018, supporting the planning of their National Agricultural Transformation Programme (NAT 2023) and the setup of improved data systems for decision-making in agriculture. MAF aims to deliver the NAT 2023 to achieve the President’s vision for economic diversification and improved livelihoods for farmers.

This role will lead TBI’s agriculture workstream in Sierra Leone, and support the senior leadership of MAF to drive the delivery of NAT 2023. In particular, the Advisor will be embedded and work closely with the Ministers’ Agricultural Coordination for Transformation (ACT) team and civil servants in Freetown and in the regions, under the supervision of the Minister and Deputy Minister. The role is focused around three core areas:

· Supporting the set-up and running of a reliable delivery system of the NAT 2023 for the Ministry;

· Facilitating improvements in the data collection, management and analysis systems;

· Setting up a pilot for an agro-inputs subsidy scheme enabled by technologies. The Advisor will assist the Ministry in these areas, while building capacity for the long-term.

The Advisor will support the development of good delivery practices within the MAF – through adaptive management processes such as prioritisation, planning and performance management – the development of skills and systems within the Ministry, as well as coordination mechanisms and structures needed with implementing ministries, agencies and partners. To be successful, the Advisor will need to apply a combination of political savvy, management consulting approaches, strong relationship building, and sectoral expertise.

The Advisor will be a member of an established Institute team in Sierra Leone and will supervise a TBI Analyst in the agriculture workstream working on data systems. S/he will be responsible for maintaining good relations with the donor funding this role and will be the technical lead on all reporting for the donor. The Advisor will report to the Country Head and will be expected to actively contribute to the Institute’s Inclusive Growth and Private Sector Development Practice.

Key Responsibilities

  • Support the establishment of a delivery unit, transforming the current Agricultural Coordination for Transformation team
  •  Support the delivery unit, the Divisions and staff in the Ministry to prepare annual plans and develop tools to track progress of the implementation of NAT 2023
  •  Facilitate joint reviews and problem-solving sessions with relevant stakeholders to identify barriers to delivery, support in resolving and escalating critical issues as appropriate
  • Support the creation of a sustainable system for agricultural data collection, management and analysis that is used for decision making and M&E
  •  Supervise the agricultural data systems workstream, providing strategic direction and technical support to the team
  • Facilitate the design of a pilot scheme for subsidies of agro-inputs
  • Advise and encourage appropriate use of technology and innovation to drive results of NAT 2023
  • Support the Ministry to coordinate partners involved in the setup and implementation of the subsidy scheme pilot and to review its impact and possible scale-up
  • Support the fostering of strong working relationships between the Ministry and development partners, including IFAD among others
  • Support efforts to attract agribusiness investment in Sierra Leone
  • Support counterparts in mapping, engaging and managing key stakeholders, including foreign and domestic investors, development partners, and various Government institutions
  • If needed, work alongside government counterparts and stakeholders to develop value chain analyses, provide implementation support and provide linkages to value chain actors, including value-adding local and international agro-processors
  •  Build plan for transfer of skills and capacity building for MAF civil servants and role-model a mindset of continual learning and improvement within the Ministry

Additional responsibilities

  • Contribute to TBI Sierra Leone’s fundraising and business development
  • Manage relationship with donor supporting this role
  • Lead technical reporting to donors on TBI Sierra Leone’s agriculture workstream
  • Support the Country Head and the team in delivering the broader Sierra Leone country strategy, reporting on progress, and managing key stakeholders
  •  Ensure robust project management processes are in place, including reporting and legal/policy documentation (including security, legal, financial) and effective implementation of monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) activities, including data collection and analysis
  •  Engage with other parts of TBI by proactively collaborating with other TBI projects through knowledge sharing and thought leadership

Person Specification

We are looking for outstanding individuals with a proven track record of delivery, with strong analytical and communication skills, and with a clear will to keep learning. We seek to create local and international multi-disciplinary teams and are looking for individuals who are keen to develop their own skills and careers in a fast pace, motivating, multi-cultural environment.

  • Experience in institutional capacity development, agriculture production and productivity, value chain analysis, delivery, management consultancy, agribusiness, data systems, investment promotion and working in Africa is desirable
  • Ideally a minimum of 5 years' experience working on the delivery of innovative programming and policies, ideally in the agricultural sector, and leading them to deliver results
  • An ability to work independently, think strategically and translate strategies into delivery plans on the ground, with emphasis on attention to details ; with excellent analytical, organizational, communication and management skills.
  • An understanding of the needs of senior officials; be able to work and interact at the highest level of public life
  • Experience working or engaging with private sector players and development partners
  • Excellent inter-personal skills and ability to work in a team with colleagues; strong leadership skills
  • Ability to liaise with partner governments, external bodies, organizations and key stakeholders to deliver the requirements of the office, and TBI in particular
  • Willingness to travel, sometimes at short notice
  • Experience of identifying and resolving project implementation bottlenecks
  • Strong sense of ethics, discretion and perseverance required
  • Willingness and ability to mentor, coach and build capacity of national counterparts
  • Ability to deliver results in complex and challenging environments
  • A creative and entrepreneurial approach to overcoming barriers and making change happen
  • Above all, high levels of enthusiasm, resilience, and a can-do attitude
  • Experience of living and working in developing countries is desirable
  • Fluency in English is required; Krio a plus
  • An MA in Agriculture, International Economics, Public Administration, Business, Finance, Public Policy or related fields would be advantageous

About The Institute

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. We exist to equip political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies. We work hard, every day, to make a difference. When governments work well they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We work relentlessly to support leader 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.