POSITION: Head of Africa

LOCATION: Nairobi, Kenya (or flexible to our other regional offices)



In 2008, Adam Smith International established a regional office in Nairobi, which has grown significantly in the period 2010-22. For countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it provides the foundation to drive significant business growth in the region through delivering high-quality projects with staff, oversight and offices located near to delivery, increasing effectiveness at developing networks and relationships, gaining political economy understanding, influencing policy & programming, and developing new markets. It is the largest business unit in ASI with over 200 workers delivering a portfolio of 30 programmes across 10 countries.


The primary objectives of the Head of Africa are to:

  1. Oversee the Africa project delivery portfolio
  2. Represent ASI to clients and other stakeholders, reflecting our culture and ethics
  3. Help to lead the development and implementation of a business growth strategy for the region
  4. Oversee a professional, collaborative and happy regional office

The Africa Head of Delivery is ultimately responsible for impactful project delivery, client relationship management, corporate financial reporting, corporate compliance, risk management and health & safety, people & talent management, payroll, marketing & communications and office & logistics management. The role is responsible for project delivery in the region, except where technical or client teams are developing leads or delivering projects, in which case the role should actively support, co-operate and complement these efforts.

The Head of Africa’s responsibilities will include:

  1. Serving as Project Director of a number of programmes in Africa. The programmes will be assigned to this role upon appointment.
  2. Oversight of country operations across the Africa portfolio, ensuring that a coherent regional strategy is adopted and delivered, that projects and operations are in compliance with national, corporate and client regulations and laws and that all workers are supported, satisfied and performing.  In each country of operation in Africa the job holder should work to ensure that that ASI develops and maintains a healthy and mutually respectful professional network.
  3. Support to Africa regional business services, including finance, compliance, risk, audit, duty of care, people & talent and ICT, in collaboration with global business services heads. Solid/dotted line arrangements vary by function and may change over time.
  4. Support to business development through networking, client relationship management, excellent project delivery and proposal development

 Key tasks will include:

Project Delivery: 

For projects under management of regional offices, ensure successful delivery to terms of reference, time, quality, cost and donor and government satisfaction. This will include ensuring project control mechanisms are in place, regular monitoring, and project managers have support in key areas of delivery and risk management. This responsibility will often be delegated, except for those projects where this role takes on a specific project director role where more direct involvement is expected, but the post holder should by working with the Director Geographies closely keep a close eye on all aspects of delivery across the region.

  • Ensure PMs / TLs / PDs are promoting associates’ job satisfaction and helping to develop a good working environment.
  • Troubleshoot high priority project issues and risks, providing advice and strategic guidance to senior staff and working closely with the Global Head of Risk and Security on developing appropriate risk mitigation strategies
  • Direct a portfolio of strategic projects in the region. These should not take up more than 70% of the role’s time (typically not more than 3 large / complex projects, though this of course depends on the nature of the projects and their management teams).

 Financial compliance and accountability: 

  • Build a culture of excellent financial administration and compliance across all country operations in Africa.  Participate actively in Finance Committee meetings and work with the Director Geographies and Finance Director to develop a culture of operational and cost efficiency.
  • Working with the Executive Team (ET), help to establish the right level of staffing of different roles for each country’s operation, sensitively increasing or decreasing them as our scale of operations in different places scales up or down.
  • Help to ensure that costs incurred by projects are passed on to clients where possible

Business Growth:

  • Contribute to the development of a business growth strategy for Africa and support its implementation
  • Lead specific opportunities from origination to proposal stage
  • Build strong relationships with clients, consultants and potential partners across Africa

Advisory Services: 

  • Maintain awareness of and conversance with a good proportion of technical / thematic topics that are relevant to work in the region
  • Where feasible, take on strategic technical project roles to produce technical deliverables in areas of expertise.

Organisational development:

  • Lead and develop the strategic direction for the East & Horn of Africa business, including refining the approach to delivery and operations in light of the findings of the 2021 Africa Review
  • Lead the development of the regional business through ensuring outputs and progress in areas including finance, knowledge management, human resource development and personal development
  • Identify areas of opportunity for business improvement, be they technical / geographic / financial etc
  • Always remain aware of and demonstrate ASI’s values



Adam Smith International seeks the following skills and experience:


Minimum requirement

  • Strong undergraduate degree with course material and research topics in a relevant subject.


  • Strong Master’s degree with course material and research topics in a relevant subject.


Minimum requirement

  • Business Management – Significant experience managing a professional services business unit including project oversight, client relationship management and business services
  • Strategy – Proven track record developing and successfully delivering a business unit strategy.
  • Delivery – Successful track record in managing large projects with more than 1 client in complex political circumstances.
  • People – Proven track record in developing successful business unit staff teams
  • At least 15 years of relevant professional experience


  • Network – Strong professional reputation in Africa, evidenced by a strong network of clients, partners, influencers, associates
  • Innovation – Proven drive and ability to secure significant business in new client and geographic markets
  • At least 2 years managing a business unit in the services industry with own profit & loss reporting, business planning, people management and associated accountability


Minimum requirement

  • Nous – Proven ability to navigate complex political and commercial situations
  • Leadership – Demonstrated ability to inspire colleagues to high performance
  • Proven ability to work under pressure.
  • Strong personal impact and effectiveness


  • Demonstration of core ASI delivery competencies (eg delivering results, managing complexity, innovation and teamwork)


Minimum requirement

  • In-depth knowledge of 1-2 of ASI’s technical service areas
  • In-depth knowledge of the Eastern Africa political landscape
  • Detailed understanding of the organisations active in ASI Africa’s sphere


  • Knowledge of how to direct multiple projects in parallel.
  • Understanding of duty of care, occupational health and health and safety issues from a company perspective


Minimum requirement

  • Advanced presentation skills.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills.
  • Advanced project management and directorship skills.
  • Excellent leadership and people management skills.
  • Advanced budget, finance and forecasting abilities.
  • Ability to build effective, credible client relationships and networks.


  • Advanced negotiation skills.
  • Excellent complex proposal writing skills



As an employee-owned company, our people are at the heart of our strategy and our decisions. We offer health insurance and other benefits, a dynamic and friendly team environment, the opportunity to support a highly successful portfolio of programmes, and support to develop your skills and progress in your career.

The diversity of our workforce makes ASI a great place to work, more creative and resourceful, and underpins strong partnerships. We keep a sharp focus on diversity and inclusion, including through our Equality Action Plan and our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and through leadership from our Executive Team and oversight by our Board.

We recognise the importance of your life outside of work. We are proud to support flexible working arrangements and commit to make a success of flexible working arrangements wherever possible. We’ve built a culture to reflect our values, full of likeminded professionals who are smart, passionate and great at what they do.



Please submit a CV (no more than 2 pages) and short cover letter with the subject headline either “Head of Africa” to recruitment.asi@adamsmithinternational.com

Shortlisted applicants only will be contacted, and interviews will be on an on-rolling basis.

Deadline for Applications will be COB Wednesday September 4th 2022.

ASI believes that a more diverse workforce makes us more effective in understanding – and tackling – the big challenges facing the world. We want people to be comfortable being themselves at work and are committed to improving the diversity of our workforce through the attraction, retention and development of a diverse range of talented people.

#We’re happy to talk flexible working