Senior Program Officer, Africa Partnerships

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Location
    Seattle, Washington
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Nov 20

Position description

Core Responsibilities:

  • Overall direction of AgDev’s Africa country strategy. In collaboration with the portfolio leads across the team, develop and execute country-specific implementation plans that leverage our country engagement strategy and in country partnerships;
  • This role will have a deep working relationship with AGRA to ensure strategic alignment between theories of change and constraints between our respective organizations. Ensuring integration between our portfolios and in country engagement;
  • Drive consistency across our Agra partnerships, ensuring that execution plans in Africa countries where the foundation is not present aligns to a common framework and that engagements are coordinated in a way that maximizes the impact of our portfolio. Adapt the strategy per the context specific needs of the AgDev team and nations;
  • Engage with Ministries and in country stake holders to assess the political will to develop a nations Agriculture resources. Work with the ministries and in country stakeholders where there is political will;
  • In collaboration with the respective portfolio lead conduct robust analytics of the evidence and pathways to agriculture development to drive prioritization of the portfolio across countries of engagement;
  • Have a thorough understanding of all development efforts in public, private and donor sectors as it relates to agriculture within geographies to ensure alignment and synergies;
  • Represent the Foundation at convening’s, conferences, working groups in Africa as needed;
  • Manage a select investment portfolio in Africa;
  • Be the source of intelligence on country related matters in SSA to inform the broader AgDev teams efforts;
  • Contribute to writing background documents, analysis, briefs, and presentations;
  • This role is responsible for high quality interactions and clear and consistent communications.


  • 10+ years of experience in leadership roles of agriculture development or private sector organizations, with experience in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Deep knowledge of constraints and challenges for African agriculture and the demonstrated ability to catalyze change in addressing productivity and income challenges for smallholder farmers;
  • Politically savvy and culturally sensitive with ability to command respect at the highest levels of Governments. Sector leading analytical skills to be able to work with highest levels of bureaucrats and technocrats within the governments and development partners;
  • Demonstrated experience in driving innovation to break bottlenecks in complex systems;
  • Possesses the credibility and communications skills to explain new opportunities and prioritization for agriculture development to both internal and external audiences;
  • Demonstrated curiosity and comfort in areas beyond current areas of expertise with demonstrated ability to rapidly acquire knowledge and execute good judgment in a variety of areas;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with efficiency and diplomacy, particularly as part of a team effort;
  • Ability to organize/prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse teams including scientists, program implementers and in-country staff and partners;
  • Highest levels of personal and professional integrity, along with a sense of humor;
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills with the ability to resolve problems with energy;
  • Innovative and out of the box thinker who is hands on and is willing to go as deep and broad as necessary to achieve the outcomes;
  • A mindset that motivates and guides the team to explore new approaches and partners and take risks that can potentially accelerate our pathway to improve lives of small holder farmers;
  • Ability and willingness to work across disciplines and sectors and go out of comfort zone all while being a excellent team player with a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy in a exhilarating, challenging environment;
  • Exceptional results orientation combined with thorough relationship management skills;
  • Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results against the Foundation’s mission.
  • Willing to travel internationally (50%)

Application instructions

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