Ag-Tech Advisor, Sierra Leone


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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

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is looking to hire an exceptional Ag-Tech Advisor to lead the delivery of TBI’s Ag-Tech projects in Sierra Leone, as part of the wider organisation’s initiative to make a positive difference to the lives of people through highly impactful, technology-enabled development solutions. The role would start immediately and be based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Candidates should have experience and expertise across technology have a background in, Agriculture technology and ideally have previously worked on a successful technology product rollout for either government or a notable private / public sector organisation.

The successful candidate will join a growing team focused on public sector driven ‘technology for transformation’, leading the organisation’s Ag-Tech work in Sierra Leone while also working closely with TBI’s Tech for Development central team. They will need to facilitate engagement between the Government of Sierra Leone and a variety of private and public sector stakeholders, to drive delivery of highly impactful Ag-Tech products, advising and supporting strategy, efficient product development and adoption. 

In particular, the successful candidate will work closely with a technology service provider and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to ensure timely delivery of an open agricultural data and information system which meets the combined TBI and GoSL requirements.  A key outcome of the role will be to support the design and delivery of an integrated agricultural data and information system and associated Ag-Tech use cases (driven by GoSL policy priorities) that will have a positive impact on farmers and agriculture adjacent private sector, while informing the Government of Sierra Leone and leading sector stakeholders.

This is an initial 12 month fixed-term contract with the possibility of renewal.

Key Responsibilities

In the immediate term, the key responsibilities are as follows:

  • Project manage the development of an agricultural data and information system:
    • Give strategic input on product design, testing and delivery
    • Lead on engaging and building relationships with suitable project partners
    • Develop supporting documentation, including impact and sustainability plans
    • Lead on overall project management and accountability for outputs
  • Collaborate with a diverse set of stakeholders from TBI, Government of Sierra Leone, technology providers and other sector relevant delivery partners
  • Work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to provide quality assurance to technical teams and facilitate timely and relevant product delivery
  • Regularly inform both TBI country-level and central colleagues of progress through reporting and engagement sessions and proactively escalating issues for further support as needed
  • Define and report success metrics to help evaluate the efficiency and impact of the implemented solutions

The longer-term responsibilities of the role include management of adjacent Ag-Tech application delivery to support the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s wider sector digital priorities.  This will involve:

  • Planning and Design: Working closely with TBI’s Tech for Development team (in consultation with Government of Sierra Leone) to design, maintain and continually improve country project plans and tools to roll out technology-enabled development solutions in Sierra Leone’s agriculture sector
  • Execution and Monitoring: Under the direction of the Country Head, and the Tech for Development Project Manager in Sierra Leone, and in close collaboration with TBI’s central Tech for Development team including the Head of Ag-Tech, the Advisor will review and maintain project goals, plans, proof points and KPIs, as well as drive delivery, ideate, troubleshoot and support MAF to manage roll-out. Where relevant, they will ensure expenditure is utilised in line with budget with robust financial management and accountability systems established. Ensure all necessary risk mitigation, legal and financial compliance processes are followed 
  • Government Relations:  Maintain effective and trusted relationships in government and its partners in line with the country project strategy.
  • Ag-Tech Strategy: To support the wider partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone and TBI, through delivery of well scoped multi-year Ag-Tech transformation strategy and specific opportunities that will have a transformative impact on the lives of people in Sierra Leone’s agricultural sector
  • External Relations (non-governmental): Engage with relevant external stakeholders such as information and technology companies, private and public sector agricultural partners, and other relevant stakeholders in the delivery of Ag-Tech innovations

Person Specification

We are looking for an experienced Advisor: 

  • With experience in delivering impactful innovations and/or technology solutions on the continent
  • With experience managing technology vendors (recruitment, contracting, on-going management to delivery) preferred
  • With experience in West Africa’s Ag-Tech sector, and agriculture information systems and associated back end (data processing and flows) 
  • With a minimum of 5 years’ project management and advisory experience (product design and product management experience a plus)
  • Who commits to business objectives and pulls out all the stops to ensure that these are always met
  • With the ability to work under pressure, and to coordinate with teams and multi-disciplinary advisors
  • With strong communication skills
  • Who can work flexibly and be adaptable, open to changing approaches in response to changing situations on the ground
  • With understanding of Sierra Leone’s technology policy and regulatory landscape, and the discretion and judgment needed to navigate a complex environment

Fluency in English is required

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.