Job Description (Roles and Responsibilities)
The UK Department for International Trade has a committed and growing presence across 23 of Africa’s nations. As the UK Government Department promoting free trade and overseas investment, we want to support the development of strong, prosperous and peaceful African nations, through modern, dynamic and long-term partnerships that deliver mutual benefit for the UK and Africa.
The UK believes that by understanding and supporting African-led ambitions, we can help Africa create sustainable trade, prosperity, jobs and livelihoods. That in turn will be of be of benefit to the UK and wider global community. We aspire to help tackle business environment issues, help introduce commercial solutions to meet African needs, and attract foreign investment to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded role will offer the jobholder the opportunity to ensure that decisions truly reflect an expert understanding of a crucial area of African enterprise and development – agriculture.
The jobholder will join a dynamic network of committed trade officers working to support Africa’s exciting economic growth and position at the heart of the future world economy. This is an exciting time to join DIT Africa, as we continue to expand our resources to deliver on the ambition of our current Government to be Africa’s trade and investment partner of choice.
Roles and responsibilities:
- Agriculture, including production and processing but with a particular emphasis on agricultural technology and investment, is one of six sector priorities in 2020/21 for the Department for International Trade in Africa. The Sector will be led by a Sector Director in South Africa working with a virtual team across the continent. You will support that team in each location with expert advice based on African agricultural needs, practices and regulations.
- You will understand African needs intimately and be able to translate those to officials less familiar with the sector. You will forge close relationships with African producers, distributors and regulators such that you can interpret their needs and develop solutions with and for them. You will seek first and foremost to progress their plans and assist in their capability, but you will have a good knowledge of international best practice to contribute.
- You will bring a commercial perspective to agricultural progress and efficiency trying to find the areas where commercial, investment or regulatory intervention could improve the viability of African agricultural production for the marketplace. This will be in complement to other actors for the British Government, with whom you will forge close working relationships, whose primary interests might be in e.g. food security and/or livelihoods. You will work to understand the contribution of DFID and other programmes so that DIT can support these while also adding value in its commercial and trade policy sphere.
- Your aim will be to help African producers understand where a commercial application could deliver on or raise their ambition. You will also consider where UK or regional trade agreements could support growth for the sector. And you will consider the question of access for African produce to valuable markets like the UK and EU but where stringent standards need to be met on importation.
- Together with expertise in agriculture, arable and pastoral, you will understand agricultural finance and business and will help advise for different schemes on models of finance including from UK Government partners including UKEF and DFID.
- You will not be so concerned as colleagues with aligning African plans to UK solutions, but it would help to understand UK capabilities, public and private, especially in the area of research and innovation. For this you would make connections to the UK’s innovation centres and support work that could have mutual benefit in bringing ground breaking techniques to Africa.
- Your role will be advisory, but you would be expected to show a clear contribution to relationship development with African producers, to trade policy gains helping African prosperity, and to the upskilling of our agritech network as they better understand how to target solutions for African needs.
Essential qualifications, skills and experience
- Undergraduate degree and other relevant professional qualification or experience.
- At least six years’ experience working in an agri-tech or related fields and a keen interest in its applicability to Africa.
- Experience of working in or with government departments, NGOs, and similar institutions.
- Proven track record of cross-team collaboration.
- A positive, resilient, flexible and adaptable “can-do” attitude that can see way through challenges.
- Knowledge of African markets and/or African trade and production networks.
- Knowledge of, and a keen interest in sustainable development.
- Language: Fluent English.
Desirable qualifications, skills and experience
Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Achieving Commercial Outcomes