Regional Director, Africa

International Food Policy Research Institute
Full time Staff


HarvestPlus is seeking a highly motivated Regional Director to lead an ambitious scale up of biofortification across eighteen countries on the African continent. The Regional Director will report to the CEO and will be responsible for coordinating the expansion of existing seed multiplication and distribution programs in DR Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe while collaborating with donors, partners, and staff to launch new partnerships and distribution channels in twelve other countries in Africa. The successful candidate will be a member of the HarvestPlus Global Leadership Team and will play a significant role in developing sustainable and inclusive value chains, and innovative finance models to reach one billion people by 2030.


HarvestPlus works at the cutting edge of international development to tackle malnutrition in rural communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Our vision is a world free of hidden hunger.  Since 2003, HarvestPlus has been working with international research partners to develop new, more nutritious varieties of staple food crops that provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, or zinc through a process called biofortification. This new and innovative approach adopts conventional plant breeding to improve the nutritional value of everyday foods that hundreds of millions of people rely on. Biofortification targets rural families that are not easily reached by other micronutrient interventions such a food fortification and supplementation. Biofortification is evidence-based, cost-effective, sustainable, and inclusive.

Operating with 170 staff across 15 countries, HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR research network – a global agriculture research partnership comprising 15 independent research centers. HarvestPlus is coordinated by two of these centers: the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Together, our goal is to reach 20 million farming households by 2020 and one billion consumers by 2030 through the development of inclusive and sustainable markets for biofortified foods. Our current annual budget is USD$40m, provided by several major donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Government and USAID.


The Regional Director, Africa will provide overall strategic direction to the regional operations teams in close collaboration with the Director of Research and Development . This includes strategic oversight for downstream processing, multiplication, and distribution activities, and the management of regional staff and budgets. The Regional Director will be specifically responsible for supervising and supporting an experienced team of HarvestPlus Country Managers, who engage in a wide variety of approaches to develop and support seed systems, create demand for, and promote consumption of biofortified crops. In addition to these regional responsibilities, s/he will play a broader advisory role for these activities across approximately 50 countries worldwide where multi-locational trials of biofortified crops are underway involving close interactions with HarvestPlus’ highly-respected crop breeders, nutritionists, M&E specialists, and field testing personnel and global partners. 

The successful candidate will be a mission-focused, seasoned, and process-minded leader with experience of developing a performance culture among a group of diverse, talented individuals. This position will be based in an IFPRI/CIAT/other CG Center location in Africa. The role will report to the CEO who is based at HarvestPlus headquarters in Washington, DC. 


  • Develop and implement a comprehensive regional operations and marketing plan to ensure targeted scale-up of seed multiplication and distribution systems for a diverse portfolio of staple food crops in multiple countries with multiple partners.
  • Provide overall direction to the regional operations team and coordinate the strategic implementation of country delivery plans in collaboration with the Director of Research and Development.
  • Oversee operational logistics and financial planning at Africa regional level, including budget forecasting, cost management, capital planning, and business development – including demand creation, partnership development, and fundraising activities.
  • Identify key performance metrics and use data/analytics to drive improved accountability and procurement policies to reduce cost and optimize program performance both regionally and globally.
  • Develop standard operating procedures in collaboration with field and planning teams, and other partners to support on-time seed multiplication, certification, inventory-management, storage, order fulfillment, and distribution.
  • Ensure that an organizational policy is in place for informed decision making including appropriate risk management strategies, compliance policies, organizational planning, and reporting.
  • Review, develop, and implement partner contracting policies and standard operating procedures, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer based at HarvestPlus headquarters in Washington, DC, including contracts with commercial entities; recommending improvements to processes and controls to HarvestPlus, IFPRI and CIAT.
  • Represent HarvestPlus in Africa to ensure visibility and good standing with regional strategic partners, governments, and donors, especially with respect to regional and global partnerships with both the public and private sectors.

Specific tasks include but are not limited to:

Regional and Country Level Oversight and Capacity Strengthening

  • Ensure achievement of key milestones and deliverables for Africa country programs, while monitoring and providing guidance as required for country teams with respect to operational implementation of country strategies.
  • Ensure quality, accuracy, and timeliness of overall budgeting, financial reporting, and technical reporting by country teams for HarvestPlus planning and reporting purposes, as well as review of donor-specific proposals and reporting.
  • Work with other Regional Directors and headquarters teams in Finance, Monitoring and Evaluation, External Affairs, and other functions to develop country manager and/or deputy manager capacity strengthening activities and support for effective country team operations. 
  • Lead the development of office hosting agreements/arrangements with other CGIAR centers and other partners in target countries, including negotiation on financial monitoring, seed processing, and human resource issues, and other related coordination where required.
  • Develop and manage capacity strengthening initiatives in commercial seed sector development, seed/crop quality enhancement for smallholder production.


  • MBA or other advanced degree; minimum of 15 years of experience in operations, with at least 10 years of experience in country or regional management in Africa, preferably in a multinational agricultural company. Experience in the International Development arena is a plus.
  • Proven ability to facilitate progressive organizational change in a dynamic organization.
  • Demonstrated leadership and people management skills, including excellent communication, interpersonal, and diplomatic skills; and the ability to effectively liaise with colleagues and donors in a diverse multi-cultural and fast-paced team environment.
  • Broad knowledge of finance functions and senior experience in licensing, IP and contract administration.
  • Strong analytical and organizational skills, including a demonstrated ability to conduct complex analysis of financial data and to forecast/assess the financial impact of proposed plans/projects.
  • Knowledge of research-scale seed processing and best practices and familiarity with plant breeding methodologies (both selective and bio-engineering).
  • Knowledge of seed certification, warehousing, inventory and process improvement principles such as LEAN and/or Six Sigma.
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills, and detail orientation.
  • Experience with financial management software systems.
  • Excellent written and verbal English communication skills.  Fluency in French and/or Swahili is advantageous.
  • Ability and willingness to travel (approximately 60% time).
  • Essential personal qualities of integrity, responsiveness, and decisiveness.
Closing date: 
31st October 2017