Deputy Country Director – Investment Lead at Foreign and Commonwealth Office April, 2020

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.

Department for International Trade roles (DIT)

Department for International Trade (DIT)

Due to COVID 19, you may experience some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign.  We are working hard to minimize any disruption.


The Department for International Trade (DIT) is the Trade Promotion and Negotiation organisation for the UK. We promote UK businesses overseas and attract foreign investment to our shores. We have 3,000 staff across the globe in over 100 countries. Our aspiration is to address some of the challenges facing the UK, by helping British businesses to internationalise and grow overseas.

DIT Africa is one of the nine DIT global networks and is led by Emma Wade-Smith, HM Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Africa, based in Johannesburg. Emma is supported by two Deputy Trade Commissioners, Rebecca Fisher Lamb (based in Nairobi) and Alastair Long (based in Cairo).

The Africa Region is exciting and energising and UK firms have a strong presence here, making the UK the second largest investor on the continent. With some of the strongest growing economies in the world and booming population growth, there are numerous more opportunities for UK firms; from tech start-ups in the West to infrastructure in the East. The Network’s role is to promote these opportunities and position the UK as the continent’s number one trading partner and investor.

UK in Kenya

Kenya has shown impressive rates of economic growth and levels of innovation over the last decade, attaining lower middle-income status, and a diversified economy. This has helped reduce poverty rates, improve access to basic services and led to Kenya being dubbed the ‘Silicon Savannah’. Kenya has also made impressive strides on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Kenya’s long-term development blueprint, ‘Vision 2030’, aims to create “a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life by 2030” and is aligned to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The current Government has identified priority growth area to accelerate economic growth, focussed on: manufacturing, food security and nutrition, universal health coverage, and affordable housing, jointly referred to as the ‘Big Four Agenda’.

The UK has a long-standing and valued relationship with Kenya, increasingly focused on mutual prosperity. The UK is one of the largest investors in Kenya and there are opportunities across all sectors for the UK to bring its expertise to market.

DIT in Kenya

DIT in Kenya is based in Nairobi, and forms a core part of the British High Commission. On a daily basis, you will report to the Country Director for Kenya, with additional strategic direction provided by the Department’s Director for Investment for Africa, based in Cape Town. You will be a key part of the wider Prosperity team comprising DIT, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) colleagues, all working to improve economic development, investment and trade between the UK and Kenya.

The Role

The UK government has committed to radically expand its presence in Africa. The primary objective of your role as Deputy Country Director and Investment Lead is to encourage private sector led growth, by protecting and promoting investment and leveraging the strengths of businesses in order to support the poverty reduction, investment and broader economic objectives of Kenya, as well as supporting the UK’s investment ambitions in Africa.

Your role will be split between Deputy Country Director and Investment Lead. You will:

Deputy Country Director

  • Develop and maintain a network of high value trade and investment relationships in Kenya,  including in the Government of Kenya and the local British and Kenyan business community.
  •  As part of the DIT Leadership Team, help to shape DIT and wider UK prosperity activity in Kenya, identifying and regularly reviewing priorities for trade, outward investment, trade policy and market access work streams, ensuring that these are fully aligned to the DIT Africa Regional Trade Plan, British High Commission (BHC) Country Plan.
  • You will work with the BHC’s Prosperity Strategy to develop a deep understanding of their suite of programmes and ensure full DIT support and collaboration on the relevant programmes, balancing resources and priorities to best effect. As part of this you will work closely with colleagues across FCO, DFID and Other Government Departments (OGDs) at post to identify synergies and opportunities for collaboration on areas of mutual interest that will deliver the BHC’s Prosperity Strategy.
  • Provide leadership to the DIT Kenya team by providing oversight of:
  1. Our sector specific export/investment campaigns, ensuring they have clear objectives, and a clear pipeline of deals and activities in place to achieve those objectives.
  2. Our delivery of high quality chargeable services, which includes undertaking market research and organising visit programmes and events on behalf of UK companies.
  3. The organisation of visits and trade missions, including by trade ministers, the Trade Commissioner and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy. You will also manage an events schedule in support of the DIT Kenya Country Plan, leveraging the HMTC, Deputy Trade Commissioners, Heads of Mission and Trade Envoys.
  • Deputise for the Country Director where required, ensuring that senior stakeholders including Her Majesty’s High Commissioner and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Africa based in Johannesburg are fully briefed on and active in support of DIT’s objectives in Kenya.
  • Represent DIT Africa and HMG at events to promote Kenya to new UK businesses. You will need to be a confident public speaker, networker and relationship builder.
  • Work with the Regional UK Export Finance (UKEF) lead – based in Nairobi – to promote, where relevant, the financing products offered by UKEF (the British government’s Export Credit Agency), to support companies win contracts.
  • Management of our local devolved budget and ensuring that our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funded work is compliant with ODA criteria.

Investment Lead

  • Coordinate the team’s Overseas Direct Investment (ODI) campaign, developing a clear ODI pipeline of deals and managing strategic relationships with industry and driving a strategy to attract new British investment to Kenya as part of the UK’s aim to be Kenya’s partner of choice for Investment – an ambition announced at the recent UK-Africa Investment Summit in January 2020. In doing this you will work very closely with the Market Access Adviser, who coordinates the interface with Kenyan partners.
  • You will promote Kenyan investment opportunities to firms and international investors, raising the profile of investable opportunities among private investors. In order to do this, you will lead, build on and leverage the relationship with KenInvest, as well as regional Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).
  • You will use the above relationships to help HMG in Kenya to lobby for key reforms to the Kenyan business environment by identifying ‘high value investment barriers’ and will promote Kenyan investment opportunities to firms and international investors, raising the profile of investable opportunities among private investors.

All of this makes for an exciting, busy and varied job, with plenty of travel opportunities. As the successful candidate, you will be a dynamic leader with good communication skills, able to motivate the trade and investment team and prosperity colleagues, and engage credibly with senior people. You will be good at thinking strategically and planning for the future. You will be able to demonstrate the management capability to support a high performing, flexible and agile team; and have a proven ability to build good relationships with stakeholders and clients. You will also be comfortable drilling down into the detail to manage the performance. You will also be an exceptional team player, able to work closely with colleagues across the High Commission to ensure strategic activity is joined up and well represented across the One-HMG platform, and have the confidence to represent interests of the Kenya trade team and its people.

Your role will be partly funded from UK Official Development Assistance (ODA). This reflects your main objective as poverty reduction in Kenya, enabled by private sector led growth. You will work closely with the ODA Strategy Programme Manager and the ODA Compliance Officer to ensure adherence to ODA rules and UK legislation, developing metrics and sharing lessons learnt and best practice with the wider Africa network.

Roles and responsibilities 

  • You will establish a world-class investment support function in Kenya
  • Map existing British businesses in Kenya and prioritise relationship building with those with greatest investment in jeopardy or in progress that UK Government can support
  • Address business environment in Kenya that inhibit investment and convene working groups to address them, using VIPs (Ministers) and HMG senior officials to unblock issues where relevant
  • Be an integral part of the BHC Nairobi Prosperity team, working closely with colleagues from OGDs to advance UK commercial interests
  • Work with private sector partners to develop a deal flow of investment in Kenya that promote mutual prosperity
  • Promote Kenya to potential new investors, managing an events schedule that ensures maximum visibility of the UK offer, and partner with investment promotion agencies to do this.
  • Build strategic relationships with business and other interlocutors to support your objectives.

Resources managed:

The successful candidate will manage a number of the in-country DIT trade promotion team to be agreed on arrival with the Country Director. They will also be responsible for managing the appropriate devolved budgets for the team.

To be agreed, but likely: 1xC4 (HEO), 1xB3 (EO)

  • Postgraduate degree and/or undergraduate degree and other relevant professional qualification
  • Relevant work experience in the private sector, or within a private-sector orientated part of Government or International Organisation
  • Experience of working in or with government departments, NGOs, and similar institutions
  • Proven track record of cross-team collaboration
  • Proven client facing experience, for example with an investment promotion agency or professional services firm
  • Fluency in the language of business and investment
  • Knowledge/experience of international development, or a willingness to learn
  • A positive, resilient, flexible and adaptable “can-do” attitude that can see way through challenges.
  • Strong interpersonal and leadership skills, ability to work successfully in multicultural teams and across boundaries, to build networks across the region
  • Knowledge of, and a keen interest in sustainable development (additional training will be given)
  • Excellent drafting skills

Language requirements:

Required: Fluent English

  • Experience of the following: business development, understanding issues and pursuing strategies together, investment appraisal, deal pipeline preparation, deal brokering, advisory
  • At least five years professional work experience
  • Commercial experience, including building deal pipelines
  • Experience in managing budgets
  • Knowledge of the investment services contract and delivery mechanisms
  • Experience of working in organisations with a matrix management structure

Leading and Communicating, Building Capability for All, Achieving Commercial Outcomes, Managing a Quality Service

Closing Date : 22nd April, 2020


Only candidates can apply for this job.

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