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Executive Director (AATI)*

Kenya (Kenya)

  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Kenya (Kenya)
  • Grade: D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position - Senior Executive level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-01-25

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Organizational Setting

* This is a two-year fixed-term co-terminus position fully financed with supplementary funds. Contract renewal depends on the fund availability and/or duration of the project. There is no guarantee of renewal or conversion into another kind of contract

The African Agricultural Transformation Initiative (AATI) was created by four founding partners, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, McKinsey & Company, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. AATI aims to foster inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformations across the African continent, replicating the success of delivery units in driving agricultural transformations, like the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) in Ethiopia. In the case of Ethiopia, the successful combination of governance, follow-through and continuous investment led to an agricultural transformation that raised yields by 76%, lifted 9.5 million out of poverty, reduced the number of undernourished individuals by 11.5 million, and avoided stunting in 1.2 million children. This illustrates the potential impact of agricultural transformation if key success factors are in place. 

Over five years (2021-2026), the AATI will seek to establish new (and strengthen existing) national Agricultural Transformation Agencies (ATAs), initially in two pilot countries, to coordinate policymaking and implementation along with monitoring and evaluation to drive agricultural transformation, with the support of a central AATI unit. After 2-3 years the intention is to scale up to a further two countries, pending sufficient resource mobilization efforts. The central unit will be hosted by IFAD and will work with national ATAs to identify priority areas for inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation and assist them in designing policies and projects in these priority areas. In addition to the central unit, the AATI is expected to include a steering committee and an advisory board that will provide support and guidance. The Executive Director (ED) will be tasked with leading the central unit as well as serving on the advisory board to the national ATAs.

The AATI ED will have a leading role in empowering inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation in at least two countries, owning relationships with senior government representatives including at the ministerial level, and enabling collaboration with private sector and civil society. As the main external face of the AATI, the ED will be key to raising awareness of and enthusiasm for the AATI beyond the founding partners, and therefore will be critical to overall AATI success. As such, they will have the opportunity to expand the transformational influence of the AATI beyond the initial two countries. A suitable AATI ED candidate will come with a broad African agricultural policy network, on-the-ground experience (ideally in transformation), as well as demonstrated experience in managing high-level stakeholders.

Under the overall guidance of the Office of the President and Vice-President, the Executive Director (AATI) will report to the Associate Vice-President of the Programme Management Department.

Job Role

The Executive Director (AATI) will manage the staff of the central unit, represent the AATI externally, lead fundraising efforts and drive expansion of the initiative to new countries and head the AATI central unit.

Key Functions and Results

A. Lead the AATI central unit in establishing and supporting national ATAs

  • Coordinate, advance and update the overall strategic AATI planning and implementation process (e.g., drive the country selection process and subsequent establishment of national ATAs, and coordinate the formulation and timely implementation of AATI’s annual work plan incl. concrete objectives, programme of work and budget)
  • Assure strategic coherence and effective operational cooperation in partner engagements at international and regional levels and within the country processes (e.g., mobilize political support in the appropriate setting including from national ATA host governments, and collaborate directly with donors and partners)
  • Develop, foster and facilitate discussions on AATI vision and culture, maintaining a mindset of innovation
  • Report regularly to the AATI Steering Committee
  • Manage the AATI team of staff and consultants, facilitate the coordination between different activities, ensure a collaborative environment, and support their work with other related initiatives inside and outside IFAD
  • Provide guidance to the team and supervise the communication strategy of AATI.
  • Establish and execute effective exit strategies for national ATAs whereby, at the appropriate time, full ownership is handed to the host government.

B. Represent AATI externally and cultivate critical collaborative relationships with key stakeholders including national governments, relevant private sector players and key decision-makers

  • Be responsible for all AATI external relations and advocacy functions
  • Work with governments to ensure that the national ATAs are well embedded within the national government structures and mobilize political support in appropriate settings
  • Support the national ATAs to strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and boost the involvement and buy-in of private sector stakeholders in national agricultural transformation.
  • Work with the AATI founding partners and the national ATAs to form partnerships with other important stakeholders and decision-makers, including bilateral, multilateral and philanthropic actors, to increase the impact, visibility and spill-over effects of the AATI.

C. Lead strategic fundraising plan through own and partner networks, including convening high-level stakeholders 

  • Develop and execute a fundraising strategy that leverages the networks and coordinates the efforts of the founding partners, as well as identifying key entry points and engaging high-level stakeholders to reach fundraising targets.

D. Drive expansion of the initiative including putting in place a platform or framework that facilitates the expansion of AATI to new countries 

  • Building upon the progress, interest and lessons learned from the two initial countries, develop and execute strategies led by the central unit to establish new (or strengthen existing) national ATAs in at least two additional countries
  • Lead high-level relationships and mobilize the right level of effort to expand AATI.

E. Any other duties as and when required by the Steering Committee and Advisory board that are in line with this position and are aimed at achieving AATI’s objectives and goal.

Key Performance Indicators

The Executive Director (AATI) will be evaluated on the following key performance indicators based on the major functional activities described above:
A) Lead the central AATI unit in establishing and supporting national ATAs

I.    Ensure the overall efficient delivery of the AATI, including establishing two national ATAs in selected countries to strengthen government capacity to formulate and deliver policies to promote agricultural transformation

II.   Ensure appropriate use and management of AATI resources

III.  Complete regular reporting of progress, results, challenges and lessons learned to the AATI Steering Committee according to designated reporting schedule

IV.  Ensure a collaborative environment and provide guidance to the central AATI team.

B) Represent the AATI externally and cultivate critical collaborative relationships with key stakeholders including national governments, relevant private sector players and key decision-makers to leverage synergies and increase AATI impact.
C) Meet target for additional financing to ensure scale-up of the AATI in the two selected countries and additional countries
D) Scale up initiative two additional countries by Year 3 of the initiative.
The Executive Director (AATI) will deliver the current AATI programme of work on time and, together with the main partners, will determine the scope of AATI for the remainder of the initiative based on resources mobilized.

Working Relationships

The Executive Director (AATI) will manage the central AATI team of staff and consultants and will also be responsible to identify directly and deal with existing and potential donors. The Executive Director will further advise the national ATAs and represent the AATI to external stakeholders.
Knowledge sharing will involve:
i) discussions with clients and stakeholders at country, regional and global levels;
ii) regular dialogue and collaborative efforts among its donors (particularly the members of the AATI Steering Committee) and technical partners (particularly the members of the AATI Advisory Board); and
iii) organization of focused client and service provider workshops/round tables on specific AATI-related issues.

Job Profile Requirements

Organizational Competencies:

Level 2:

  • Building relationships and partnerships - Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally
  • Communicating and negotiating - Acquires & uses a wide range of communication styles & skills
  • Demonstrating leadership - Leads by example; initiates and supports change
  • Focusing on clients - Contributes to a clientfocused culture
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating - Challenges, innovates&contributes to learning culture
  • Managing performance and developing staff - Manages wider teams with greater impact on others and on the organization
  • Managing time, resources and information - Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources
  • Problem-solving and decision-making - Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact
  • Strategic thinking and organizational development - Staff in management and/or strategic leadership roles
  • Team working - Fosters a cohesive team environment


  • Advanced university degree (Master or equivalent) - political science, management, economics, international relations, law, international development, rural development, agricultural economics or related fields.

    Degree must be from an accredited institution listed on


  • At least fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible professional experience in international experience (including exposure to public sector management), e.g., in international organizations, private sector, or rural development/financial institutions, preferably in the field of agricultural transformation in Africa.  
  • Ten (10) years in a multi-cultural organization or national organization providing support on a global scope.
  • Demonstrated managing level experience, preferably including set-up and management of a start-up business, with evidence of professional approach to handling multiple demands, earning trust with colleagues, nurturing talent and willingness to delegate responsibilities; Demonstrated experience in steering and supporting reforms / change (private or public sector), preferably in Africa and including institutional capacity building of governments to deliver policies promoting agricultural transformation; Demonstrated experience in roles requiring collaboration with a diverse set of partners in a multi-stakeholder governance structure as well as ability to work with efficiency and diplomacy; Demonstrated experience in managing a team, including recruitment of senior staff members and joint achievement of identified goals; Demonstrated experience and results in scaling initiatives through resource mobilization and stakeholder management in different public and private sector contexts. 
  • Deep knowledge of and reputation in sub-Saharan Africa; Demonstrated knowledge and concrete application of initiatives to strengthen government delivery capacity, ideally in an African context. Proven ability to engage in policy dialogue and discussions involving high-level government officials, donors and other stakeholders
  • Familiarity with the key regional and global centres of excellence in relevant professional areas/domains.


  • English (4 - Excellent)
  • French (3 - Good)


  • Advocacy: Ability to leverage IFAD knowledge and/or communication materials to maintain and promote constructive dialogue around IFAD`s vision and strategic priorities to external actors
  • IFAD partners: Knowledge of IFAD's partners' functioning and mandate , such as the public sector (e.g. governments and policy, institutions and system), non-state actors (NGOs, CSOs, Foundations, etc.) and private sector actors
  • Risk management (e.g. reputational): Identification and assessment of potential liabilities and risks in IFAD's activities, particularly vis-à-vis third parties; ability to handle risks via contingency and mitigation strategies
  • Stakeholder management: Strong alignment capabilities and consultation skills, building on effective interactions and relationships with different stakeholders (e.g. for the co-creation of communication material with member states) and ability to build and maintain a strong network (e.g. with journalists, media outlets, etc.)
  • Strategy implementation: Ability to lead and manage the development and implementation of medium to longer-term strategies for IFAD / for respective divisions
  • Planning: Know-how in the planning of human, financial and material management of IFAD resources
  • Policy dialogue: Know-how in the representation of IFAD as a trusted and strategic partner, advocating and promoting IFAD's mandate and vision; effective consultations with IFAD counterparts - like ministries and governmental bodies at all administrative levels, donors, civil society
  • Resources management: Know-how in the management of human, financial and material management of IFAD resources
  • Change management: Role modelling, anticipation of key risks & conflicts and formulation of contingency plans/solutions, action-oriented
  • Confidentiality & Discretion: Establishes self and division as trusted advisor to internal stakeholders by maintaining high level of discretion and confidentiality in assignments; demonstrates sound judgement when dealing with sensitive and/or confidential matters; drives good governance and is a "Culture Carrier" demonstrating IFAD institutional conscience through his/her work.
  • Corporate approach: Ability to bring in corporate vision and priorities into one's area of work (e.g. budgeting going beyond simple budgetary considerations, taking into account strategic priorities)
  • Leadership: Group thought leader, sought out by others and providing mentorship and effective guidance to others; Ability to build trust, inside and outside the organization by acting as a role model for IFAD's core values and competencies, and to provide a clear sense of direction, mentorship and effective guidance to the team, strategizing the IFAD's goals, giving the vision, empowering the team and ensuring a positive environment for all.
  • Political acumen: Ability to conduct sound political analysis and understand complex environments, providing options and advice
  • Specialized communication skills: Ability to negotiate on behalf of IFAD and drive for creative and pragmatic solutions in complex negotiations with key partners, both public and private sector
  • Evidence-based policy: Know-how in the formulation of concrete and actionable policy recommendations based on hard evidence (going beyond simple data interpretation)
  • Programme/Project development, management: Know-how in Programme/Project development, implementation, management.

Other Information

This is a two-year fixed-term co-terminus position fully financed with supplementary funds. Contract renewal depends on the fund availability and/or duration of the project. There is no guarantee of renewal or conversion into another kind of contract. 

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD. In accordance with IFAD's Human Resources Policy, the President can decide to assign them to any of the activities of the Fund. 

In the interest of making most cost-effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful.

Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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