Director, Policy, Advocacy & Communications for Africa


We seek an experienced professional to act as the foundation’s Director, Policy, Advocacy and Communications for Africa. This role will be responsible for leading a small team of experts who work across the continent to help design and implement policy, advocacy and communications strategies in support of the foundation’s global programs. The role is responsible for working across internal foundation teams and their leadership to help leverage an ecosystem of partners at the global, regional, national and subnational levels in order to drive positive change on the foundation’s global programs. In close coordination with the Africa Director, to whom the Director, PAC for Africa primarily reports to, this role will also work closely with the foundation’s Global Policy and Advocacy team to define and realize the foundation’s objectives in Africa.

The focus of the Africa team is to enable collective impact for the foundation in Africa by supporting policy and finance towards key development priorities, strengthening capacity and enabling systems for delivery, and innovating and leveraging cross-cutting enablers for impact at scale. The Africa team reports into the Global Development Program, but its initiatives encompass almost the entire range of strategies that reside in our Global Development, Global Health, Global Growth & Opportunity, and Global Policy & Advocacy Programs, spanning from R&D to delivery to strengthening systems and the enabling environment. Our Johannesburg office oversees the foundation’s high-level priority government relationships in Africa, which includes partnerships among key ministries with central governments. We bring evidence and expertise to bear on important public policy debates around issues affecting our work, building public support and partnerships to advance our shared objectives for health and livelihood. Our goals and operating model require leveraging the vast network of internal and external foundation partners.

Position Summary

Based in Johannesburg, the Director, PAC for Africa will be responsible for leading a select group of external stakeholder relationships in Africa, as directed by the Africa Director, and ensuring the appropriate management of other key government relationships. This position will provide guidance, mentorship, and coordination to the policy & advocacy leaders and working group members to help them develop and execute program policy & advocacy strategies to further the foundation’s goals in Africa. The Director will contribute to the advancement of the foundation’s mission and impact by prioritizing collective success; modelling courageous inquiry and intellectual integrity; and nurturing people and building great teams.

Internal Relationships

  • Reports to Africa Director; secondary reporting line to President, Global Policy & Advocacy.
  • Direct Reports: Deputy Director, Communications; Deputy Director, Development Policy and Finance
  • Dotted Line Reports: Deputy Director, PAC for Nigeria; Deputy Director, PAC for Ethiopia.
  • Key Relationships: Africa Director; Director, Ethiopia; Director, Nigeria; PAC Director, Global Policy and Advocacy; Director, Development Policy & Finance; Managing Director, Donor Government Relations; Deputy Director, Strategy Planning & Management, Africa; Senior Advisor to the Africa Director, Chiefs of Staff, Offices of Global Development, Global Health, Global Growth & Opportunity; Global Policy and Advocacy; Managing Director, Donor Government Relations.

  • Core Responsibilities

  • Directly responsible for the creation and implementation of clear, comprehensive, and detailed Africa country advocacy strategies and implementation plans for priority countries.
  • Directly responsible for collaborating effectively with the various foundation divisions in Seattle and its offices in other locations, for the achievement of the foundation’s goals in Africa.
  • Identify and support ways to address key institutional and partner capacity needs that will accelerate progress towards policy and advocacy goals.
  • Build out models, best practices and case studies for country-based advocacy work to ensure we are continuously learning from prior efforts, including those of our partners.
  • Develop a broad perspective on institution and individual capacity building in policy and advocacy (e.g., approaches, partners, exemplars, etc.).
  • In close collaboration with and guidance from the Africa Director, establish and strengthen critical relationships with national and regional governments and other key foundation partners, including funders, media, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to boost political will and help align policies and financing efforts.
  • Create and maintain high quality, productive, collaborative and coordinated interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners on the continent.
  • Support foundation leadership trips, learning, engagement opportunities, and other appropriate activities for foundation staff visiting priority geographic locations on the continent.
  • Provide internal review of global program advocacy and communications investments, contributing authoritative knowledge of local context in shaping said grants/investments. Source, develop, and manage one’s own portfolio of grants/investments.
  • Attend meetings to represent the foundation and advocate / help shape global, regional and country agendas in line with foundation priorities.
  • Participate in the Africa Director’s Forum and the Africa Leadership Team.
  • Oversee and support the Africa Communications Development Policy and Financing, and all other GPA related work, including reputation and risk management, in close coordination with and guidance from the Africa Director.
  • Review and approve communications strategies, tactics and investments.
  • Ensure alignment of Africa communications efforts across with the Seattle External Communications team, including office of the CEO.

  • Leadership and Culture

    We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

    Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Established leader in policy, advocacy and communications in Africa with strong network of government, NGO and media relationships across Africa.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement policy and advocacy strategies aligned with specific programmatic and organizational outcomes.
  • Demonstrated ability in government relations in Africa.
  • Demonstrated ability to use development policy, finance and stakeholder mapping to shape programmatic, advocacy and communications strategies.
  • Deep Knowledge and awareness of development issues, strategies and institutions across relevant foundation program areas and geographies, particularly as it relates to Africa. Recognized internally and externally by the development community in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Demonstrated experience developing collaborative relationships and effectively engaging with a wide array of stakeholders at the country and regional levels including but not limited to government, regional entities, influencers, donors and partners/grantees on a wide range of issues.
  • Operational experience leading a country or regional program that involved working with stakeholders and partners at the global, regional and country levels to support and/or advocate for multiple program priorities is a strong plus.
  • Strong experience in at least one foundation program priority is required.
  • Proven ability to shape, develop, manage and scale strong partnerships, alliances and ventures both inside and outside organizations.
  • Ability to adapt and learn from local contexts and serve as a trusted advisor to key stakeholders across the foundation.
  • Ability to convene, lead and influence others to align to shared strategy goals, in a constructive manner.
  • Demonstrated experience managing conflict and building consensus.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and humility – ability to listen and absorb perspectives from stakeholders and synthesize into thoughtful and well-designed comprehensive grants.
  • Good knowledge of complex program design that involves working with multiple stakeholders including technical experts, government and partners, to (1) conceive and co-develop grant ideas/concepts that offer effective and implementable solutions to complex development problems, and (2) provide on-the-ground oversight of grant development and implementation.
  • Ability to prioritize among opposing priorities.
  • Ability to focus and achieve results.
  • Excellent oral, facilitation and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.
  • Ability to be self-guided and work effectively and comfortably with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.
  • Demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with the various foundation divisions in Seattle and its offices in other locations
  • Build and nurture strong teams and their leaders in the policy & advocacy space.
  • Contribute towards building an effective culture for impact at the Johannesburg office.
  • Primary experience engaging with the highest levels of ministers and other senior level officials in governments, and with executives of the largest private sector, multilateral, and non-profit organizations.
  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated experience managing coordination mechanisms designed to lead teams through a complex and ambiguous task.
  • Ability to travel up to 30% domestically and internationally.
  • French language fluency (spoken and written) strongly preferred.
  • Commitment to the foundation’s core values, mission, and programs with an approach that is consistent with the foundation’s guiding principles and holding self to the highest ethical standards.

  • Education and Experience

  • Advanced degree with a minimum of 20 years of relevant professional experience.
  • 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:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disability
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression
  • National Origin
  • Genetic Information
  • Veteran Status
  • Marital Status
  • Prior Protected Activity
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