Africa Director for Research Impact

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The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center, is seeking a seasoned professional with a proven track record of leading teams to achieve the organization's vision and mission, to lead its team in Africa.

This is an internationally recruited position; therefore, individuals with relevant abilities from diverse locations around the world are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate can be based in any of the IWMI offices in Africa (Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya).

The Africa Director for Research Impact provides strategic direction to strengthen IWMI’s development impact through research delivery, and government and regional partner engagement across the African continent. Reporting to the Deputy Director General – Research for Development, the Director supports and oversees management of research delivery for impact, and effective and coordinated operations by IWMI Country Representatives. The Director will ensure that leadership of government, partner, and network engagement by IWMI Country Representatives aligns with regional strategies, donor priorities, and IWMI’s strategic goals. The Director will also maximize IWMI’s responsiveness and effectiveness in developing, funding, and implementing its research-for-development portfolio for impact in Africa. The Director leads IWMI representation to Africa-wide institutions, platforms, and processes, collaborating closely with Country Representatives and strategic partners.

The Director develops and maintains strong relationships with CGIAR, particularly with the CGIAR Africa Director and Country Coordinators, other CGIAR Centers and units. One CGIAR is an integrated partnership of CGIAR Research Centers with the overall objective of delivering science and innovation that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems under climate change. The IWMI Africa Director for Research Impact ensures that the work of IWMI and the CGIAR Water Systems department in Africa is aligned with CGIAR programs and synergies are achieved to develop and sustain funding for the delivery and impact of water systems science in the One CGIAR integrated partnership.

It is expected that the Africa Director for Research Impact will spend a minimum of 60% of their time representing IWMI and providing oversight of IWMI research and engagement in Africa, and the remaining time on project-specific research activities.


Strategic Leadership and Management,

  • Oversee the strategic direction of IWMI Country Offices in Africa, ensuring responsiveness to demand and alignment between regional policies, strategies, donor priorities, and IWMI and CGIAR strategies.
  • Provide strategic guidance and support to IWMI Country Representatives in Africa to ensure high-quality research delivery and efficient operations that meet partner and client needs and achieve impacts.
  • Ensure the development of synergies with partner organizations' roles across offices in Africa and CGIAR to advance the IWMI Strategy 2024-2030 and the CGIAR Water Systems Integration Roadmap.
  • Ensure close coordination and integration between IWMI Country Offices and across Strategic Programs for developing, funding, and delivering the IWMI research-for-development portfolio in Africa.
  • Oversee and support portfolio development and fundraising by IWMI Country Representatives, facilitate portfolio synergies for stronger impacts, develop a network of donors, and contribute to and lead the development of regional/continent-wide project proposals.
  • Foster commitment to teamwork, synergies, and collaboration among IWMI Country Representatives in Africa and their teams, and with IWMI Strategic Programs, global IWMI teams, and CGIAR programs.
  • Manage relevant Country Representatives, including performance management.
  • Provide substantive advice to the Director General, Deputy Director General, senior management, and CGIAR leadership on the strategic demand for water systems science in Africa.
  • Contribute to the overall strategic leadership and management of IWMI as a member of the Management Team.

Representation and Partnerships,

  • Lead implementation of the IWMI Partnership Strategy in Africa in close coordination with the Division of Business Strategy and Delivery, overseeing partnership development and management by IWMI Country Offices across Africa, and leading new continental-level partnerships for research, collective action, policy support, and innovation.
  • Lead IWMI representation to Africa-wide institutions, platforms, and processes to enhance visibility of IWMI and CGIAR's water systems science and strengthen outcomes and impacts.
  • Oversee IWMI Country Representatives' management of IWMI's relationships with host-country governments in Africa in coordination with the Director General's Office.

Knowledge Management and MELIA,

  • Lead knowledge management for IWMI's Africa portfolio, coordinating integration of research results and impact, and development of knowledge products across Country Offices to enhance understanding of collective impact.
  • Oversee implementation of Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Impact Assessment (MELIA) for the Africa portfolio, in close coordination with IWMI and CGIAR units responsible for MELIA.
  • Promote uptake of IWMI and CGIAR research outputs and application of innovations in coordination with IWMI Country Representatives, Program Directors, and Research Groups.
  • Strengthen Africa-level communications and outreach activities in coordination with IWMI Country Offices, Communications and Knowledge Management unit, Business Development unit, and CGIAR to increase visibility of IWMI's regional work and impact.

Research and Implementation,

  • Develop, implement, and contribute to projects and CGIAR Science programs within personal expertise and experience, covering 40% of their time.
  • Ensure projects adhere to IWMI's Policy on Research Ethics and perform quality control of publications as assigned by IWMI's workflows.




  • PhD or Masters in one of the following disciplines: water resources management, climate change adaptation or mitigation, international development, environmental science, geography, development economics, development studies or sociology, with at least 10 years of relevant work experience holding positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Demonstrated experience in engaging with regional networks and building strong partnerships with different categories of stakeholders to deliver development outcomes and impacts.
  • A track record in knowledge management for research-for-development and application of knowledge, research, and innovation to development impact.
  • Demonstrated experience of promoting and enhancing gender, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and in research-for-development programs
  • Demonstrated knowledge and research for development (R4D) experience relevant to IWMI’s overall mission of water management in Global South countries, as well as knowledge of the functioning of the CGIAR system.
  • Experience working with and influencing stakeholders, especially senior decision makers at national and regional levels, and a track record of liaising with donor agencies and fund raising.
  • Demonstrated skills in managing programs and personnel, including experience of forming, operating in and leading interdisciplinary teams that have delivered high-quality outputs on time and according to budget.
  • Experience producing high quality written proposals, reports, and academic papers coupled with proven ability to communicate research results to stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries.
  • Proven experience of mentoring and guiding colleagues and continuously build organizational capacity on research for development impacts.



  • A deep understanding of challenges and opportunities for water security, agricultural development, gender and social inclusion, and climate change within local development contexts in Africa.
  • Demonstrated skills of strategic planning and conceptual thinking.
  • Fluent in English – both written and verbal and possibly conversant in French or an African regional language.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, managers, and other stakeholders in a multicultural setting in Africa, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.


This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and long-term disability coverage. Internationally recruited staff who are employed at a duty station outside of their home base/country of nationality will also receive relocation assistance, a housing allowance, home-leave plane tickets for self and eligible dependents and education assistance for eligible dependents. The duration of the contract will initially be for a period of three years.

IWMI strongly values diversity; therefore, qualified women are highly encouraged to apply.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) on July 15, 2024 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Your application must include a CV, cover letter, and three (3) references, which may be contacted if you are shortlisted. Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

IWMI believes that diversity powers our innovation, contributes to our excellence, and is critical for our mission. We offer a multi-cultural, multi-color, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary working environment. We are consciously creating an inclusive organization that reflects our global character and our commitment to gender equity. We, therefore, encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

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