IRS24123 Breeding Optimization Specialist,West-Central AF (ABI Transformation)

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The Accelerated Breeding Initiative (ABI) of the OneCGIAR Genetic Innovations Action Area seeks a dynamic outstanding, self-motivated, and result-oriented professional for the position of ABI Transform Breeding Network Coordinator for West and Central Africa (WCA). The role will focus on fostering breeding partnerships between the CGIAR and partners in the WCA in addition to NARES breeding capacity development with a particular emphasis on Francophone speaking countries. The role will cover the major crop improvement networks in WCA including rice, maize, sorghum, millet, cowpea, groundnut, cassava, yam and plantain.


The position will be hosted by the Breeding Management and Innovations Program at CIMMYT, a member of the CGIAR. CIMMYT is a key cutting edge, non-profit, international organization dedicated to solving tomorrow's problems today. It is entrusted with fostering improved quantity, quality, and dependability of production systems and basic cereals through applied agricultural science, particularly in the Global South, through building strong partnerships. This combination enhances the livelihood trajectories and resilience of millions of resource-poor farmers, while working towards a more productive, inclusive, and resilient agrifood system within planetary boundaries.


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The position will be based at CGIAR hub in WCA (Dakar, Ibadan, Bouake or Bamako).  


  • Support crop improvement networks in WCA to strengthen partnerships based on principles and processes defined by ABI-Transform.
  • Support crop improvement networks in WCA to prioritize partners and focal countries for the various crop improvement networks.
  • Support crop improvement networks to review and define national and regional market segments and target product profiles to ensure alignment with national priorities and support client driven priority setting.
  • Support the execution of Product design and advancement meetings (PDAM) nationally and regionally for WCA crop improvement networks.
  • Support crop improvement networks to conduct breeding program assessments, gap analysis and develop both institution-specific and network improvement plans (modernization plans)
  • Support network partners to monitor and implement Improvement plans in WCA including connecting partners to capacity development opportunities and funding opportunities within One CGIAR.
  • Build connections between crop improvement network members (NARES, SME, and Agriculture Research Institutes) and One CGIAR initiatives/ Mega programs.
  • Support networks to define and customize the demand for services and tools.
  • Facilitate, where required, open and constructive discussions amongst network members (CGIAR, NARES, ARIs).
  • Support crop improvement networks to ensure regional roles and responsibilities are well defined and that network members can play augmented roles based on their capacity and ambition.
  • Serve as a resource person in assigned training workshops.
  • Draft tailored network membership agreements with national partners and SMEs in assigned countries to delineate and facilitate collaboration.
  • Actively contribute to ABI Transform reporting and progress updates.
  • Any other tasks as assigned.

Required qualifications, skills, and attitudes:

  • PhD or MSc in plant breeding with over five years of practical experience in the private sector or advanced plant breeding program.
  • Exposure and understanding of modern breeding principles and best practices.
  • French-English bilingual (speaking). Good writing skills in English.
  • Good communication/ presentation skills
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently in WCA.
  • Ability to draw consensus amongst a diverse group of stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of national systems and experience of breeding in WCA will be a distinct advantage.
  • The selected candidate should exhibit the following competencies: Client Orientation, Critical and Creative Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Teamwork, and Communication.


The position is for an initial fixed term of two (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Screening and follow up of applications will begin on July 17th, 2023. Applications must include a CV with contact details (telephone and email address) of 3 work-related references along with the confirmation that Recruitment can contact them) and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

This position will remain open until filled.

CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.


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