Strategic Advisor, Pharmaceutical and Vaccine Manufacturing


Number of Positions:
Contract Type:
Fixed Term/Full Time
Contract Details:
Working Hours:
Closing Date:
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Business Area / Division:
Advisory - Africa
Business Unit:

Focus of the Role

The COVID-19 outbreak and the inequality in accessing vaccines have shed light on the necessity of developing a local vaccine manufacturing in the African continent for  it to move towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Currently, the African continent produces less than 1% of its vaccine needs, leading to a huge dependency on imports. The African Union and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention have set the objective of producing 60% of immunisation needs in Africa by 2040 and are working towards identifying opportunities to scale up African vaccine manufacturing capabilities in order to respond to current and future pandemics and outbreaks in a more rapid and agile manner.

Within this context, the Government of Rwanda is working towards developing its local vaccine manufacturing capabilities, attracting investment for this agenda and developing more broadly its pharmaceutical sector. A Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce chaired by the Minister of Health was created to design and implement a roadmap for the development of vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Rwanda. To that end, Rwanda FDA is working towards attaining World Health Organisation (WHO) Maturity Level 3 and 4, with a vision of becoming a WHO Listed Authority.  The Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority is part of this Task Force and is working towards attaining the World Health Organisation (WHO) Maturity Levels 3 and 4, with the vision of becoming a World-Class Regulatory Authority effectively promoting and protecting public health.

In support of this agenda, we are seeking a pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing advisor to support the Rwanda FDA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other key stakeholders in thinking through this agenda and fast-tracking the establishment of vaccine manufacturing facilities in Rwanda.

This is an initial fixed-term role of two years and will be based in Kigali, Rwanda.

Key Responsibilities

Specific duties include:

  • Conduct ad hoc and highly bespoke and relevant analysis as needed to progress the delivery of the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing agenda
  • Support the development and implementation of bankable projects for investors in the vaccine production and pharmaceutical sector linking with other key Government institutions with a stake in this agenda
  • Advise the relevant stakeholders on policies and incentives to attract investors in pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing
  • Advise the relevant stakeholders, including the Rwanda FDA and the Vaccine Manufacturing Task Force, on the necessary enablers (skills, finance, logistics, etc.) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for vaccine manufacturing and proposing policy reforms to enable the development of the industry
  • Work with the Government counterparts at the Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Centre and Rwanda FDA to ensure good laboratory practices are implemented for pharmaceutical companies operating in Rwanda
  • Support senior Government counterparts in mapping, engaging and managing key stakeholders, including foreign and domestic investors, development partners and various Government institutions that have a stake in the pharma and vaccine manufacturing industry
  • Coordinate closely with other TBI advisors working on manufacturing and investment, including those in other parts of Government and the central teams to share knowledge and practices to enhance the advisory role
  • Identify, recommend and facilitate public/private partnerships and/or global development alliances that support the Government of Rwanda FDI development agenda towards advancing the vaccine manufacturing industry
  • Advise Rwanda FDA on matters relating to pharmaceutical and vaccine regulation including but not limited to, legal, administrative and technical strategies to ensure the locally manufactured pharmaceutical and vaccines' safety, efficacy and quality
  • Advise and support Rwanda FDA on strategic partnerships relating to vaccines’ regulation and manufacturing
  • Advise the relevant stakeholders on vaccine-related policy and market access issues, and vaccine commercialisation strategy
  • Support the Hon Minister of Health and members of the Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce to maintain active dialogue with the International donor community, private sector players, local organizations, GOG partners, building contacts to facilitate Rwanda’s vaccine manufacturing industry
  • Support the Country Head and other team members with quarterly and annual reporting, strategic and management programmes towards establishing and delivering on the development of the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing in Rwanda

Person Specification

We are looking for an outstanding individual with a proven track record of delivery in the public or private sectors.

The successful candidate will thrive in an environment where the importance of personal initiative coupled with teamwork is critical. Above all s/he will build effective relationships, win trust, and help shape and influence change in Government.

  • Ideally 7-10 years’ of experience working on government delivery applied to economic development, particularly for the development of the pharmaceutical and vaccine production industry in emerging markets especially in Africa and or similar contexts, including but not limited to issues related to market systems development, public-private collaboration, export development, investment facilitation and value chain development
  • A good knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and  familiar with the Good Manufacturing Practices and the manufacturing value chain within the industry, and/or within regulatory agencies
  • Experience facilitating and attracting companies to set up factories in emerging markets to manufacture for export will be an asset
  • Experience in identifying and resolving project and policy implementation bottlenecks with demonstrable capacity for follow-through and delivering of results
  • Political savvy and an understanding of the needs of a senior Government officials, while being able to work and interact at the highest level of public life
  • Excellent in building and managing effective relationships, including the ability to navigate a complex political environment
  • 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
  • Ability to liaise with partner Government institutions, external bodies, organizations and key stakeholders to deliver the requirements of the office, and TBI in particular
  • Excellent writing, presentation skills and verbal communication skills. Working knowledge of French would be an added advantage
  • Effective interpersonal and leadership skills. Team player with an ability to develop and foster relationships with counterparts across a large organization including with virtual teams
  • A master’s degree in public policy, economics, finance, engineering or other relevant fields would be advantageous. Specific knowledge in fields such as cellular or molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or microbiology shall be of added advantage

Above all, we are looking for individuals with high levels of enthusiasm, resilience, and a can-do attitude. Experience of living and working in developing countries is desirable but not essential.

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.