Job Vacancy For Project Management Specialist (Agriculture and Trade)

The U.S. Mission in Accra, Ghana is seeking highly motivated and qualified individual for the position of Project Management Specialist (Agriculture and Trade) in the Regional Economic Growth Office (REGO) of USAID/West Africa. This position located on the Regional Trade and Investment (RTIO) team in Accra. The incumbent serves as a Project Management Specialist to implement key aspects of several Presidential Initiatives, including Trade Africa and Feed the Future to promote trade and economic growth, and increase incomes and food security. Applicants must possess in-depth knowledge of the regional agriculture, economic growth, and trade sectors, based on years of practical experience within a broad network of contacts in both government and industry, and will be able to build substantial partnerships to greatly enhance REGO’s agriculture, food security, and trade programs.


•   The position is located on the Regional Trade and Investment (RTIO) team which sits within the larger Regional Economic Growth Office (REGO) of the USAID/West Africa mission. The incumbent serves as a Project Management Specialist to implement key aspects of several Presidential Initiatives, including Trade Africa and Feed the Future, to promote trade and economic growth, and increase incomes and food security. The applicant must possess in-depth knowledge of the regional agriculture, economic growth, and trade sectors, based on years of practical experience within a broad network of contacts in both government and industry, and will be able to build substantial partnerships to greatly enhance REGO’s agriculture, food security, and trade programs.


1. Technical Assistance, Trade/Agriculture Program Management and Administration 30% USAID/West Africa implements regional programs through contractors and grantees and in some cases directly with beneficiaries in West Africa. These programs conform to approved strategic frameworks, are implemented in compliance with U.S. and other government regulations, and follow standard USAID operating procedures.

•   The task of agriculture and trade program management and administration is to ensure achievement of objectives and results, facilitate the smooth operations of these programs, and to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Specific duties will include undertaking sector research and analysis and assessments to inform new strategy and program design, leading development of new project designs and procurements, designing and leading evaluations of trade and agriculture programs, and approving and monitoring development of work-plans, performance monitoring plans, activity deliverables and annual and other reporting to the Mission and to the USAID/Bureau of Food Security which administers FTF programs worldwide, and to other segments of the U.S. government including the USAID/Africa Bureau and USAID/Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3).

•   The FTF and Trade Africa initiatives are both high profile Presidential initiatives of the U.S. Government. Staff are frequently called upon to prepare position papers, report and advise on food security, trade, agriculture and related policies and issues in West Africa. The incumbent will be expected to perform the above tasks to a wide range of stakeholders including but not limited to USAID/West Africa Mission management, USAID headquarters, other high level officials of the U.S. Government, senior host country government officials, high level regional government and institution officials, other donors, and private sector investors and business representatives engaged in agricultural trade. Thus, the incumbent will be expected to possess excellent interpersonal and presentation skills, and perform with a high degree of tact and diplomacy and be expected to resolve any potential disagreements between stakeholders, partners and other donors if necessary.

•   In the vein of overall administration and management of the technical portfolio, the incumbent will support analyses that inform new program designs or direction. Tasks may include consultations with colleagues to develop USAID position papers on alternative program-implementation plans, the research and development of concept papers on new programs to increase trade in agricultural products, and participation

2. Contractor/Implementing Partner Oversight 30%

•   Program management and administration entails working directly with USAID contractors and grantees on tasks specifically assigned by contract, agreement, and technical officers. The job holder of this position will serve as a full-time Contracting/Agreement Officer’s Representative (COR/AOR) for USAID projects/activities in the trade, agricultural, food security and environment sectors. Major current projects in the office include the: cotton program, $16 million over four years; fertilizer program, $20 million over five years; West Africa seed program, $9 million over five years; food security policy programs which include several programs amounting to $2 million per year; trade program, $49 million over five years; capacity building program, $1 million over five years; and support to regional institutions (ECOWAS, CILSS, CORAF), $5 million per year. Additionally,
this person will be directly involved in budget formulation, analysis, forecast and control. S/he is administratively responsible for reviewing vouchers from partners, monitoring expenditures and authorizing them for payment.

•   As AOR/COR, the incumbent manages the overall performance of implementing partners, including work-plan and strategy development and resolving any issues related to performance. S/he establishes budgets for partners, monitors their execution and is responsible for all accruals. S/he will be responsible for managing at minimum $6-10 million in program funds annually. As AOR/COR or Alternate, the incumbent will be directly responsible for supervising a minimum of two senior Chiefs of Party managing a large number of technical and administrative staff and will be responsible for providing oversight and monitoring of the budgets of responsible COR/AOR assigned projects and/or activities.

•   The incumbent will initiate contact and provide expert technical advice and direction to contractor and grantee professionals for which direct oversight responsibilities are exercised, and with contractor professionals in other areas of program focus, working to improve food security and promote trade in West Africa. This will include informing partners of U.S. strategic priorities in West Africa, and in the realm of food security, trade promotion, and private sector investment. S/he will analyze partner reports for validity, accuracy and progress towards meeting annual and overall program goals, to include tracking indicators and ensuring partners are capturing data accurately and in accordance with FTF and Trade Africa monitoring and evaluation guidance. Serve as a senior technical contact, with important position responsibilities including keeping the Contracting and Agreements Officers informed of progress, proposed contract and grant modifications, validity of claims, analysis of proposals, and assessment of contract time extensions. Work complexities will require the development of alternate solutions to reduce time and costs, versatility and innovation. S/he will have full autonomy to resolve programmatic related problems without assistance. S/he will be the person team members and other stakeholders will first go to resolve issues and problems pertaining to the incumbent’s projects/responsibilities.

3. Program-wide Reporting and Information Management 20%

•   The incumbent will assess program effectiveness for the improvement of complex program and management processes and systems encompassing difficult and diverse functions or issues that affect critical aspects of the major programs of the USAID/West Africa RTIO. As an expert on long-range planning, s/he recommends and participates in developing strategies for implementing planning for a major program. S/he recommends short- and long-range goals of the organization, develops detailed plans for implementing them, and oversees implementation of the goals through contractors and grantees. S/he also helps to determine if adjustments or changes in objectives or
emphasis are needed in organization functions, and recommends organizational or process changes.

•   S/he will direct the capture, reporting, and analysis of statistical data relating to the organization's
operations and directs or personally performs special studies or projects. Prepares and contributes to reports and other presentations on program planning and evaluation. Designs and conducts a wide variety of comprehensive studies and detailed analyses of complex functions and processes related to program planning and management. Identifies and proposes solutions to management problems that are of major importance to planning program direction.

4. Communications 20%

•   The incumbent prepares a variety of documents for publication and dissemination to suit numerous key constituencies both within and outside the U.S. government. There are important rules and regulations that govern how the office may communicate its work, for example, to assure that persons with disabilities have access, or to assure that sensitive personal or classified national security information are properly distributed. Effective communications will generally involve selecting the most appropriate medium and applying the skills necessary to take advantage of particular media, for example the “success story” presented on a glossy one-page handout as well as a web page, the “reporting cable” disseminated to all U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide, and the “spoken remarks” and “scene setters” prepared for the USAID/West Africa Mission Director or other senior U.S. government officials for presentation at a ceremony or other public event.

•   The task of communications is to analyze RTIO and RAO information, consult with office staff on program priorities and communication objectives, and then assure that the work of the office is described and presented in ways that are relevant and compelling to each of the targeted audiences. The incumbent should be able to understand and interpret defined program objectives, exercising judgment to proceed with implementation of routine communications tasks, yet recognizing when special circumstances require consultation with the office chief or other senior USAID/West Africa management. The incumbent will be expected to develop communication materials to be used with the public and for senior level U.S. government and host country government officials on a regular basis.

•   The incumbent will be expected to cultivate and maintain senior level government and private sector contacts within the agriculture and trade sectors across the region. Additionally, as a representative of USAID and during execution of her/his AOR/COR duties, the incumbent will be expected to perform public speaking engagements and to act as a facilitator in technical and donor meetings. The incumbent will also represent the USG in regional meetings with high level regional and national government counterparts and other donors. Incumbent will prepare speeches for high level USG representatives such as the Mission Director and U.S. Ambassador across numerous countries in the region.

Qualification Required & Experience

Applicants must address each required qualification listed below with specific information supporting each item. Failure to do so may result in a determination that the applicant is not qualified.

•   Education: Bachelor’s Degree in business, economics, agriculture or related social science is required.
•   Prior Work Experience: A minimum of five (5) years of professional-level experience in a related role is required. Prior experience in project design, management, and implementation, of agriculture and trade programs is required.
•   Language Proficiency: English Language level IV (fluent in speaking, reading and writing) and French language (level III, speaking/reading) is required. English and French language proficiencies will be tested.
•   Job Knowledge: Must have expertise in the design and delivery of assistance to improve trade, especially for agricultural commodities, and food security. Knowledge of West Africa and understanding of program design, management and evaluation as applied to economic development programs.
•   Skills and Abilities: Excellent computer skills (especially MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint) including the ability to operate required software effortlessly and with minimal instruction or mentoring is required and must have ability to handle multiple activities effectively and at times under tight deadlines. Proficiency will be tested.

Location: Accra

How To Apply For The Job

Interested individuals should submit a signed cover letter, certificates and CV with references to:

Regional Executive Office
USAID/West Africa
P.O. Box 1630, Accra

Or by Email to:

[email protected]

Closing Date: 06 April, 2017

Note: Applicants must address each required qualification listed above with specific information supporting each item to be eligible for consideration. When submitting your application via email, start the subject line with the position title. Failure to state this and submit signed letter with required document will result in a determination that the applicant is not qualified. No relocation expenses are provided to the job location, Accra-Ghana. If transportation to Accra is required, it will be the employee’s responsibility.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.