Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner – Africa
Department for International Trade (DIT)
As HM Trade Commissioner for Africa, you will lead the delivery of the UK Government’s trade and investment priorities across Africa.
This is a high-profile, exciting and critical post. You will be responsible for all DIT activity in this diverse and complex continent that is changing rapidly. As well as providing inspiring and agile leadership, a key priority will be ensuring your team (currently over 130 people located across 21 African countries) is deployed and focused where it can have the greatest impact.
You will help grow strong economic and commercial links between the UK and key emerging African markets. You will need to establish relationships of trust with the most senior stakeholders in business and government. You will promote UK investment in Africa, drive high-value campaigns for exports, support UK firms’ access to African markets, and project the UK’s global interests in trade. This role provides an unparalleled opportunity to work across diverse markets in the continent to support the industry sectors that bring the greatest opportunities for economic growth, and to help deliver DIT’s contribution to the UK’s wider objectives on prosperity and security.
To be successful in this exciting post, you will have good commercial instincts, as well as finely tuned communication and influencing skills. As a visible leader, you will be able to motivate and develop your team to create a high performing, confident culture. You will work closely with the senior leadership team to embed the ‘DIT Spirit’ of being Expert, Enterprising, Engaged and Inclusive. We actively welcome applicants from the private and third sector with relevant commercial skills.
We are looking to hear from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and positively encourage your applications. It is crucial you are able to share our values and promote an inclusive organisational culture.
If you thrive in an exciting and complex environment and can bring the experience and skills needed to succeed in this challenging role, then I would warmly welcome an application from you.
Lead the development and implementation of a bold and ambitious strategy for delivering DIT’s Departmental mandate in Africa. The Regional Trade Plan will set out your goals for supporting exporters and investors to increase the value and volume of trade and investment between Africa and the UK, including through greater utilisation of trade agreements and tackling market access barriers.
Provide strategic direction and inspiring leadership to the DIT Africa Network of over 130 people located across 21 African countries and the UK, to maintain high levels of engagement, including through continuous learning delivered through the Africa staff engagement programme – RISE – to sustain a high performing, diverse, inclusive and expert team delivering value-add to growing numbers of UK companies looking to do business in Africa.
Work closely with FCDO colleagues and Heads of Mission to ensure effective implementation, potential expansion, and greater utilisation of the multiple trade agreements and preferential trading arrangements between Africa and the UK, including support for the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area as a potential game-changer for trade and investment in the region.
Develop bilateral and regional campaigns to address market access barriers that constrain the ability of UK companies to do and scale their business in Africa. This will include long-term and tactical plans to tackle regulatory or legislative challenges, and to unlock trade barriers in specific sectors.
Cultivate impactful and powerful strategic relationships with major stakeholders from the UK and across the region, including Ministers and senior officials, senior business people from priority sectors, business representative organisations, British Chambers, and other UK Government departments.
Provide value-add support to UK companies of all sizes and across all of the UK’s regions by utilising in-country and pan-Africa sector expertise, as well as the delivery of route to market and market information advice through the in-house Market Entry Team.
Work closely with DIT sector teams and UK Regional teams across the whole of the UK to increase awareness among the UK business community of the commercial opportunities across the African continent.
Collaborate with the UK Regions to develop and deliver targeted and focused events that inspire more UK companies to explore and take up responsible, sustainable and values-driven commercial opportunities in Africa and to identify and match African investors to investment opportunities across the UK as part of the levelling up agenda.
Champion the commercial opportunities in Africa and the UK’s unique offer to the African continent, including through vigorous media and comms activity and regular public speaking events.
In partnership with the FCDO, maximise the potential for ODA-funded economic development programmes to also deliver secondary benefits that support the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Develop partnerships and relationships that enable a data-driven and evidence-based analysis of the potential and priorities for the DIT Africa Network.
As a member of DIT’s leadership team, contribute to the strategic and operational direction of the Department and region.
Experience of successfully leading a complex and demanding organisation with a significant budget in the public, private, NGO or third sectors; inspiring and developing diverse, geographically dispersed teams.
A successful track record as a senior business development operator, building successful partnerships across the public, private and third sectors.
A proven track record of change management, reviewing strategic priorities at a country/ regional level and appropriately prioritised resource allocation
Successful track record of operating in emerging markets, identifying business opportunities, building and implementing strategies to achieve successful outcomes.
Proven strategy, communication and delivery skills with demonstrable understanding of market access issues and ability to influence in this area.
Proven success in working in a complex, fast moving and nuanced environment, using judgement to influence a matrix of C-suite level stakeholders.
Proven success of achieving successful outcomes whilst operating to the very highest levels of probity and integrity.
Demonstrable capability in representing at board level externally, including media engagements and public speaking.
- Learning and development tailored to your role
- An environment with flexible working options
- A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
- A Civil Service pension
Things you need to know
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is developed vetting.See our vetting charter.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.
Selection process details
For further information on the role and how to apply please see the attached Candidate Information Pack.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Open to UK nationals only.
Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.
We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
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Contact point for applicants
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Nonprofit Organization Management, Government Administration, and Financial Services