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Head of Agriculture and Food

Job Reference tbigc/TP/5126/453

This job has been closed.

Number of Positions:
Contract Type:
Fixed Term/Full Time
Contract Details:
Working Hours:
35 Hours per week
Accra, Dakar, Nairobi or London
Closing Date:
Seniority level:
Company Industry:
Advisory - Africa
Job Function:

Focus of the Role

Role can be based in London, Nairobi, Accra or Dakar

TBI supports governments across Africa to implement their developmental vision, through the provision of embedded advisors who provide strategy, analysis and delivery support to government leaders. One of the sectors in which governments are increasingly asking for such support is in agriculture and food transformation, particularly around agro-led industrialisation. TBI is now supporting 16 African governments with this topic, and demand for TBI’s model of support continues to grow.

In 2016 TBI established an Agriculture and Food practice within its Advisory division. The goal of the practice is to support African governments to translate their visions for agriculture transformation into reality, thereby driving broader economic transformation and agro-led industrialisation. This role will lead the work of the practice.

Working closely with the Head of Agtech, the practice is responsible for TBI Africa Advisory’s agriculture, food and agro-industrialisation support to governments:

  1. Strategy: Set and drive the strategic direction of TBI’s agriculture, food and agro-industry transformation work, in collaboration with the Head of Agtech.
  2. Offer development: Continually strenthen our offering to governments in agriculture, food and agro-industry, to ensure increased impact, innovation and success. Areas of focus are:
    1. Agriculture delivery: supporting governments to strengthen their delivery and coordination mechanisms.
    2. Agriculture investment and market systems: supporting governments to scale private investment into inclusive agriculture market systems and in food and agro-industry systems.
    3. Agriculture technology. Agtech is not the responsibility of this practice, although coordination with and support from our Head of Agtech is essential.
  3. Quality of work: Support regional directors, country heads and in-country agriculture and food advisors to ensure a high standard of work supporting governments in this sector.
  4. Funding and business development: Collaborate with the Fundraising team to ensure suitable long-term funding for TBI in this area. This includes the implementation and strengthening of TBI’s agriculture and food fundraising strategy, and the oversight of cross-country agriculture and food programmes.
  5. Thought leadership: Ensure TBI is a lead player driving African agricultural transformation, through a robust public-facing thought leadership agenda on agriculture, food and agro-industry.

This is an initial fixed term contract of 2 years.

For successful candidates not based in Accra, Dakar, Nairobi or London, a relocation package will be provided if required.

Key Responsibilities

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­This role is responsible for the success of TBI’s Africa Agriculture and Food Practice and its strategy. The specific tasks of this role holder are:

Strategy setting and implementation

  • With the Head of Agtech, strengthen TBI’s strategy for improving the impact of its work with governments prioritising agriculture and food, and for scaling this work.
  • Implement and scale TBI’s theory of change for agriculture development.
  • Ensure strong working relationships both within TBI and external to TBI to ensure the successful roll out of this strategy.

Offer development

  • Ensure continuous strengthening of our agriculture, food and agro-industry offering, such that it remains anchored to our government-led model.
  • Ensure Africa’s agriculture, food, and agro-industry offering remains relevant and responsive to government needs.
  • Explore innovative ways the Africa agriculture, food and agro-industry offering can increase impact toward socio-economic transformation outcomes in the countries in which TBI works and where there is demand from governments.
  • Ensure a sufficient among of coordination with TBI’s Technology for Development agtech team and TBI’s Technology Development Unit, as well as with other sector practices.

Funding and business development

  • Maintain, improve and rollout TBI’s agriculture and food fundraising strategy, together with TBI’s central Fundraising and Business Development team.
  • Maintain working relationships with critical funders of TBI’s agriculture and food portfolio, and develop these in such a way that they result in suitable and longer-term funding for TBI’s agriculture and food work.
  • Ensure high standard of cross-country programme managers and high standard of award management by programme managers in the agriculture and food practice. Direct and line manage such programme managers, while empowering them to remain closely anchored to other parts of TBI Africa to ensure the government-led nature of their programmes.
  • Build and maintain relationships with senior stakeholders in the wider ecosystem (institutional and country level) to build TBI’s credibility and spot and develop opportunities, including for wider partnership working and funding

Quality of work

  • Develop and maintain a collection of relevant tools, frameworks, best practice and latest innovations in areas such as political economy, value chain facilitation and agric delivery.
  • Develop and maintain a healthy community of practice of agriculture and food advisors in Africa, including relevant staff in other parts of TBI.
  • Conduct induction sessions and staff trainings on ag delivery, market system etc
  • Manage TBI’s knowledge system and partner network for all matters agriculture and food.
  • Work with the HR team to maintain a pool of agriculture and food candidates and short-term consultants and support recruitment of advisors and associates when required
  • Serve as a strategy sounding board and expert advisor to TBI leadership, TBI country projects and programmes on agriculture and food transformation.

Thought leadership

  • In close collaboration with our Africa Director for External Affairs and the Tech for Development Unit, as well as any TBI departments working on agriculture and food policy globally, develop and roll out an agriculture and food Africa thought leadership agenda, to ensure a regular stream of highly visible public engagements on this topic in Africa.
  • Ensure TBI remains a recognised thought leader in agriculture, food and agro-industry development in Africa.

Person Specification

This role requires someone with excellent strategy, management and communication skills, with applied experience in agriculture delivery, market systems, investment or agribusiness . This is a leadership role in a fast-paced team working out of different geographies and in a complex policy area, with many diverse stakeholders, both internal and external to TBI.

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Extensive experience in agricultural and agro-industry development in emerging economy contexts, including work experience in Africa. This experience can be in industry, management consulting, government advisory, market systems consultancy or development support.  This should include implementing complex strategies and programmes in agriculture market systems, value chain development, agriculture delivery and agribusiness investment.
  • Experience successfully developing and leading a programme of work and managing high-performance teams and programmes.
  • A track record of successfully engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders, including at a high level (e.g. Head of State) and development partners, and demonstrating political savvy.
  • A clear and confident communicator, both written and spoken.
  • An appreciation of government challenges and suitable, pragmatic attitude to working with government leaders and officials, particularly in Africa.
  • Self-starter, motivated and proactive with solutions.

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 Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It works with a variety of partners 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. 

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.