Deputy Director and Regional Representative

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Johannesburg, Gauteng

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Deputy Director and Regional Representative


We seek an experienced professional to act as the foundation’s Regional Representative, Southern Africa. This role will be responsible for working with internal foundation teams and leveraging an ecosystem of partners at the country, regional and global levels to support the continent-wide spread and scale of the foundation’s programmatic priorities, with a focus on the Southern Africa region. The focus of the Africa team is to enable collective impact for the foundation in Africa by influencing policy and finance towards key development priorities, strengthening capacity and enabling systems for delivery, and innovating and leveraging cross-cutting enablers for impact at scale. The Regional Representative, Southern Africa will guide foundation teams in the management of their investment portfolio in Southern Africa, and work with external partners to drive progress. As part of this responsibility, this role will maintain relationships with country officials, grantees, contractors and key partners to achieve the foundation's desired impact, provide project briefings and updates to foundation leadership. The Regional Representative will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and will report to the Director, Africa.

Core Responsibilities

  • Support and advocate for priority strategies of the foundation in the Southern Africa region, which consists of the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • Gather and provide colleagues with information at the country and regional level about priority issues and strategies that are important to the foundation, such as new policies, local investments, financial regulation, biotechnology, and other key health and development priorities.

  • Establish and strengthen critical relationships with national and regional governments in the Southern Africa region, and other key foundation partners, including funders, media, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to boost political will and help bring in new resources.

  • Create and maintain high quality, productive, collaborative and coordinated interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners in the region.

  • Support foundation leadership trips, learning, engagement opportunities, and other appropriate activities to foundation staff visiting Southern Africa.

  • Support the coordination of programmatic work in the region, in close partnership with foundation’s Program Strategy and Functional Teams.

  • Provide internal review of program and or functional team grants/investments, contributing experienced knowledge of local context in shaping said grants/investments. Source, develop, and lead one’s own portfolio of grants/investments.

  • Attend meetings to represent the foundation and advocate / help shape global, regional and country agendas in line with foundation priorities.

Leadership and Culture

  • We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Deep knowledge and awareness of development issues, strategies and institutions across relevant foundation program areas and geographies, particularly as it relates to Southern Africa. Recognized internally and externally by the development community in Southern Africa and/or other regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Demonstrated experience developing collaborative relationships and effectively engaging with a wide array of stakeholders at the country and regional levels including but not limited to government, regional entities, influencers, donors and partners/grantees on a wide range of issues. Operational experience leading a country or regional program that involved working with stakeholders and partners at the global, regional and country levels to support and/or advocate for multiple program priorities is a strong plus. Strong experience in at least one foundation program priority is required.

  • Shown capacity to shape, develop, lead and scale strong partnerships, alliances and ventures both inside and outside organizations. Ability to adapt and learn from local contexts and serve as a trusted advisor to stakeholders.

  • Ability to convene, lead and influence others to align to shared strategy goals, in a constructive manner. Validated experience managing conflict and building consensus.

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and humility – ability to listen and absorb perspectives from stakeholders and synthesize into thoughtful and well-designed comprehensive grants.

  • Some experience with strategy implementation, measurement, and course-correction is preferable.

  • Good knowledge of complex program design that involves working with multiple stakeholders including technical experts, government and partners, to 1) conceive and co-develop grant ideas/concepts that offer effective and implementable solutions to complex development problems, and 2) provide on-the-ground oversight of grant development and implementation activities.

  • Ability to prioritize among opposing priorities.

  • Ability to focus and achieve results.

  • Excellent oral, facilitation and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.

  • Ability to be self-guided and work effectively and comfortably with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.

  • Demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment. Experience working in a matrix environment strongly preferred.

  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated experience managing coordination mechanisms designed to lead teams through a complex and ambiguous task.

  • Ability to travel up to 30% domestically and internationally.

  • A sense of humor.

  • Commitment to the foundation’s core values, mission, and programs with an approach that is consistent with the foundation’s guiding principles and holding self to the highest ethical standards.

Education and Experience

  • Advanced degree with a minimum of 15 years of relevant professional experience.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity


Min education
University attendance
Required experience
15 Years
Not defined
Not defined
Not defined



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