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Director, Africa - Global Development - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Job ID:


Job Areas:

Management, Public Administration

Employment Type:

Full time


Johannesburg, ZA,



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Job Description:

Director, Africa - Global Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation(BMGF) invests in efforts throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to improve health, equality and help reduce poverty. Our offices are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Abuja, Nigeria. We work through a variety of partners and intermediaries and seek to utilize the capabilities of local actors in support of our mission.
Africa is a continent with both rich resources and great challenges. We work closely with governments, academia, the private sector, and civil society across 45 nations to help advance progress across the continent. We support a range of programs, from the international to the local level, that focus on health, equity, and poverty alleviation.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Director, Africa will be responsible for managing key stakeholder relationships on the continent; providing guidance and oversight to the country teams; developing and executing a strategy to further the foundation’s goals on the continent; and serving as a thought partner to the foundation program and policy teams as it relates to their work on the continent.
The Director will contribute to the advancement of the foundation’s mission and impact by creating an environment of optimism, collaboration, rigor, and innovation.
Reports to - President of the Global Development Division
Direct Reports
  • Country Director, Nigeria
  • Country Director, Ethiopia
  • Deputy Director, Strategy Planning & Management, Africa
  • Regional Representative, West Africa
  • Regional Representative, Southern Africa
  • Regional Representative, East Africa
  • Senior Program Officer, Policy/Advocacy
Other Key Relationships
  • President of Global Policy and Advocacy, and Chief Strategy Officer (BMGF)
  • President of the Global Health Division (BMGF)
  • Executive Director of Global Growth and Opportunity (BMGF)
  • Chief Human Resources Officer (BMGF)
  • President of the United States Program
  • Multilaterals (e.g. UN agencies, World Bank, WHO)
  • Governments across the continent
  • Regional institutions
  • Donors
Key Responsibilities
  • Hold accountability for the quality of a diverse portfolio of work in Africa and for the execution toward its strategic outcomes; develop the strategy and engagement plan for key initiatives, with particular focus on scale, diffusion, and replication in the region; lead annual planning process to reflect progress or refinements to strategic engagements.
  • Cultivate and manage key stakeholder relationships, including with governments, donors, and regional institutions; build partnerships in Africa; build alignment and motivate governments, donors, the private sector and non-profit organizations to influence policy and increase resource contributions for health and development in Africa.
  • Communicate with division and program staff about opportunities and progress with critical partnerships for key stakeholders, including division Presidents, CEO and Co-chairs.
  • Collaborate with foundation policy/advocacy leadership (including through a secondary, dotted line reporting relationship to the President, Global Policy & Advocacy) to strategically manage government, donor, and other key political partnerships, and to manage foundation policy and financing asks in the region
  • Provide direct oversight to the foundation’s work and staff in South Africa; guide and support the Ethiopia and Nigeria country directors and their teams to further the foundation’s objectives in these countries.
  • Advise and partner with program teams on diffusion/replication of the foundation’s work in West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.
  • Manage a portfolio of investments that can support the foundation’s efforts to achieve regional scale for key products and interventions.
  • Be the key representative for the entire scope of the foundation’s work in Africa, to include serving as the foundation’s primary spokesperson on Africa to stakeholders, at events, and for media at the local, regional, national, and global levels.
  • Manage program, operation, policy and communication staff and be responsible for hiring the talent needed to achieve our goals.
  • Be a critical thought partner, provide functional expertise and critical political context to program teams on strategies, partnerships, and investments.
  • Utilize analytical and research skills to understand, interpret, and present to internal and external stakeholders complex and sensitive information about Africa.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with senior leadership to ensure overall success of the vision.
  • Credibility with key leaders and stakeholders across the foundation established by building collaborative relationships and keeping relevant individuals engaged and informed in key decision-making processes.
  • An integrated narrative around the foundation’s work in the region that will foster cohesion, collaboration, and cross-pollination across countries.
  • Stronger in-country capacity for the foundation, in order to deepen local relationship-building and full ownership of country plans.
  • Amplification of existing country and program strategies via current and potential relationships across the continent, particularly within governments.
The Director for Africa will be responsible for managing key stakeholder relationships on the continent; providing guidance and regional support to the country teams; developing and executing a strategy to further the foundation’s goals on the continent; and serving as a thought partner to the foundation program and policy teams as it relates to their work on the continent.
The incumbent will also provide managerial oversight and support to the Ethiopia and Nigeria country directors and their teams. He/she will have direct oversight of foundation’s work and staff in South Africa, in order to advance the foundation’s objectives in these countries.
Ideal Experience
African Networks and Stature
A respected leader in the African context, who can connect with the private sector, governments, multilaterals, and NGO’s, with strong influence and understanding of governmental decision-making across the continent. Proven leadership experience in international relations, economics, government or public policy, with senior level representation experience in Africa, preferred.
Strategic and Managerial Acumen
Significant tenure of senior executive experience (15+ years) driving strategic direction and programmatic success in organizations with multinational scope in sub-Saharan Africa. Directly and effectively led, managed, developed and retained a diverse team of full-time employees and consultants across multiple locations and in a growing office. Managed an increasing scope of responsibilities in multiple country settings. Experience managing a regional or continental portfolio of work, and driving systemic change and reform on a nation or region-wide basis, strongly preferred.
Development Sector Expertise
Deep understanding and experience in at least one of the sectors in which the foundation operates (e.g., health, nutrition, agriculture, financial services, water & sanitation), ideally coupled with familiarity in other sectors.
Language Ability
Ability to work effectively in English is required. Fluency in another official language of the African Union and / or African languages is strongly preferred (e.g. French, Swahili).
Bachelor’s Degree and Post-Graduate Qualification
Relevant degree with a Post-Graduate Qualification, ideally with a development focus.
Collaborating and Influencing
He/she Will Collaborate Fully With The Relevant Stakeholders By
In an environment where each of the African countries of focus are engaged in their individual and unique development areas, the incumbent will drive an integrated regional program and narrative, creating an opportunity for collaboration between countries.
  • Negotiating with a genuine give-and-take approach, where both act as true peers and decisions are shared.
  • Spending time identifying all stakeholders necessary, meeting and connecting with all of them to shape a collective consensus.
  • Identifying opportunities to build relationships that will help others achieve their objectives and proactively creating those connections.
  • Ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are informed and engaged in key decisions to build credibility and trust with internal and external peers, team members, and the leadership of the foundation.
Driving Results
He/she Will Drive Forward Success Against These Strategies By
As the leader of a critical region for the foundation, the Director, Africa will work with country and program teams to develop, operationalize, and amplify strategies in each country and across the continent.
  • Creating and seizing opportunities to increase effectiveness and impact.
  • Setting continually higher goals that are ambitious but realistic for self and team, geared to the foundation’s short and long-term objectives across the continent.
  • Focusing on new initiatives, programs, and collaborations that allow the foundation’s work to exceed its goals in the region.
  • Acting as a thought partner in shaping foundation strategies in Africa and possessing strong analytical skills
Leading People
Given the multiple locations where the foundation’s teams work across the continent, the incumbent will lead the local team in South Africa while ensuring appropriate deployment and leadership of teams across various programs and locations. He/she will:
  • Bring together team members with diverse backgrounds, approaches, and beliefs to pursue a coherent long-term direction, and collaborate with the team on how to achieve it.
  • Actively contribute, and lead by example, to the foundation’s ‘Culture for Impact’.
  • Delegate objectives with clear and explicit intent to a team with high technical acumen, allowing the freedom to be creative in devising strategies.
  • Set up practices to reinforce independent and open communication among team members and other groups within the foundation that contribute to the organization’s work in Africa.
  • Hold people accountable for their commitments, providing clarity and assisting when barriers arise; maintain the team’s focus on results, integrity, and impact.
Other Personal Characteristics
  • Flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy as an individual and as part of a team
  • Resilience in the face of difficulties; handles setbacks without losing confidence or drive
  • Genuine passion and commitment to the foundation’s core values and mission
  • Integrity and ethical rigor
  • Ability to travel within region and to the U.S. at least 35% of the time
*Important Note*
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is partnering with Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, in the recruitment of a stellar candidate to take up this exciting and challenging appointment. Should you wish to apply for this position, we kindly ask you to submit your CV for consideration before January 31, 2018.
To apply, please submit your application via GatesAfrica@spencerstuart.com . Applications received through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Careers site will not be reviewed.
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
All Applicants And Employees Who Are Drawn To Serve The Mission Of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Will Enjoy Equality Of Opportunity And Fair Treatment Without Regard To
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Posted 4 Days Ago Full time B011196
We Have Four Missions To
Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pride ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.
  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.
Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking. Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.
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