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Head of Tech for Development at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change supports political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies in a globalised world. We do this through developing policy and advising governments.

Job Description:

Are you excited by the prospect of transforming developing and emerging nations in Africa through the application of technology and innovations across public services, agriculture, health and climate? Do you have experience of consulting or working in the tech field and of leading teams to drive systemic and transformative change in an emerging or developing country?

Our main objective in this strategically important role is to rapidly deploy a tech for development initiative in Kenya, which has been enabled by a dynamic external partner across existing and new operations in our Government Advisory and Tech & Public Policy divisions. This landmark initiative will be delivered in 30 countries, with activity in Kenya starting immediately.

We have an advisory team embedded in Kenya focusing on supporting the delivery of government priorities that are intended to have a significant effect on development outcomes as an anchor function of the Centre of Government. Within this framework, an exciting opportunity exists to work with the relevant ministries to implement a suite of technology products to support the health response and more.

Reporting to the Country Head, Kenya, the post holder will drive the Kenya Tech for Development programme, leading a tech team based in country. The post holder will also work closely with TBI’s Global Director Tech for Development and his/her team to deliver our global plan.

This is a senior role requiring an exceptional candidate with relevant expertise, deep networks with government and/or industry in country or other peer countries.

Key outcomes of the role

  • Under the direction of the Country Head and in line with the Kenya project’s strategy and positioning, establishing and/or maintaining effective and trusted relationships with senior politicians in government, such ministers and special advisors, supporting the mandate with at least one key counterpart as regular contact;
  • Delivery of our tech for development country programme plan created and staffed with engaged and results oriented people;
  • Tangible results delivered in tech for development, such as deployment of solutions ranging from the current pandemic response and digital health offer, to proximate use cases such as digital payments, digital ID and other identified opportunities;
  • Thought leadership recognised in country/regionally/globally and contribution to our tech for development global offer and playbook; and
  • Expenditure in line with budget.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Strategy and Planning: Design, maintain and continually improve: (i) the country strategy for tech for development; and (ii) plans and tools to roll out the strategy from one tech domain to another, within one ministry or across government.
  • Government Relations: As agreed with the Country Head, maintain trusted relationships with senior politicians in government at key loci including key ministers and special advisors in line with the country project strategy and positioning. Secure mandates with at least one key counterpart as regular contact (as indicated by the current country project and positioning), in service of our mission to support political leaders to achieve results that benefit the people of the country and in service of our tech for development initiative.
  • Execution and Monitoring: Establish, review and maintain project goals, plans, proof points and KPIs. Serve as the focal point for tech for development in country, project and output quality control and design tools to support execution. Report and engage with Country Head Kenya, and the Global Director Tech for Development and his/her team to drive delivery, ideate, troubleshoot and manage the initiative across TBI. Ensure expenditure is utilised in line with budget with robust management accounts and accountability established. Ensure all necessary risk, legal and financial compliance and processes are in place.
  • People: Recruit, manage and develop a country team (incl. Project Manager and sector experts as required). Shape and embody a culture that drives innovation and delivery. Provide quality control of new hires and ongoing development and mentoring. The post holder and his/her team will be expected to play a key role in the broader community at TBI and will be expected to build strong working relationships.
  • External Relations (non-governmental): As agreed with the Country Head and in line with the country project strategy and positioning, engage with relevant external stakeholders such as tech hubs/incubators, investors, other not for profit organisations, media, suppliers and agencies.
  • One TBI: The post holder will formally report into the Country Head Kenya and form part of the wider team and country programme. They will be matrixed on deliverables and work with the Global Director, Tech for Development based in London and his/her team. Other key relationships will be with the Executive Directors for External Relations, Government Advisory, Tech & Public Policy, and our Legal, HR and Finance support teams

Person Specification:

We are looking for an experienced team leader:

  • With experience in business operations, technology, consulting or advisory functions and demonstrable experience in technology enterprises or programmes;
  • With a minimum of 5-7 years’ experience in management consulting or government advisory;
  • With prior experience in emerging markets, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • With a strong understanding of the Kenyan ICT eco-system and the Government of Kenya machinery, its structures and operating environment;
  • With the ability to navigate complex political environments and network capability with Kenyan private sector technology firms (domestic and international) and within Government of Kenya;
  • Who is strategic and can challenge the status-quo and develop plans for successful delivery of challenging objectives;
  • Who commits to business objectives and pulls out the stops to make sure they are met;
  • With outstanding management skills and the proven ability to build and inspire teams to achieve exceptional objectives;
  • With the ability to work under pressure and to coordinate with multi-disciplinary advisors;
  • With exceptional communication, problem-solving, strategic planning, and project management skills;
  • Who has worked or consulted in developing and emerging economies and is sensitive to a diverse range of cultural and regional norms, and will foster a positive spirit of collaboration between our countries and our tech development offer;
  • Who has educational experience in economics, business administration and management, technology/engineering or other related fields (Master’s degree or equivalent bachelor’s with experience); and
  • Prior work with the Government of Kenya is highly desirable.
  • Fluency in English required. Fluency in Swahili an advantage (oral and written)

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