Commissioner, ARBE at the African Union (AU)

The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).  We are an Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

Applications are invited for the position below:

Job Title: Commissioner, Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE)

Location: Headquaters (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Reports to Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Directorate / Department: Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE)
Number of Direct Reports: Two (2) Directors
Number of Directorates and Agencies: 2 Directorates and 5 Specialized Technical Offices
Job Family: Elected Official


  • Under the direct authority of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, this position is responsible for driving the implementation of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment policies, programs and strategies in line with the aspirations of Agenda 2063, the associated medium-term plans and other key continental legal and policy frameworks.
  • Leads engagement with the AU Member States and strategic partners in the delivery of the portfolio’s continental priorities
  • The Commissioner shall have a high commitment to pan-African values and the guiding principles of the African Union.

Main Functions

  • Sets the overall goals of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment portfolio in line with the AU Agenda 2063;
  • Sets annual performance targets for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment portfolio and reports on annual progress to Specialized Technical Committees and AU Policy Organs;
  • Provides regular reports to the Chairperson of the Commission on portfolio delivery;
  • Carries out effective regular engagement and collaboration with, and timely reporting to the PRC and respective subcommittees;
  • Drives the implementation of the AU Institutional Reform Agenda by supporting reform initiatives in the department;
  • Provides leadership and guidance to Directors in the implementation of policies and programmes within the portfolio;
  • Engages with Member States in order to pursue the Commission’s work to promote domestication of AU Agenda 2063 at the national level by Member States;
  • Leads partnership negotiations and resource mobilization with Strategic Partners to finance continental programmes and priorities;
  • Co-ordinates Specialized Technical Committees to promote the achievement of the departmental mandate;
  • Strengthens regional coordination, cooperation and integration initiatives and ensure an effective division of labour with Member States and Regional Economic Communities;
  • Ensures effective collaboration in programme development with the AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD);
  • Collaborates with other members of the senior leadership team to ensure strategic coherence and overall synergy in the implementation of the Commission’s programme and the delivery of high impact results for the continent;
  • Cultivates a knowledge management culture through promotion of research and publications that will ensure knowledge sharing and transfer within the department and with other departments across the Commission; and
  • Supervises Directors and inspire high performance, teamwork and delivery across the portfolio.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Leads the development of continental policy frameworks and programs that promote sustainable agriculture and food systems in order to attain food and nutrition security and consumer safety;
  • Promotes modern and sustainable agricultural practices that adapts to changes in climate, demographics and technologies for increased food productivity in the continent to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition;
  • Oversees the implementation of agribusiness strategies and programs to create job opportunities and reduce poverty levels in the continent;
  • Develops continental strategies and programs aimed at improving animal health and welfare standards in Africa;
  • Develops continental policies for rural areas and medium-sized farms to promote diversification of the rural economy with the aim to increase employment, incomes and the living space and quality of life for rural people;
  • Develops continental policies and strategies that will promote in conservation and sustainably utilization of aquatic resources, contributing to de-pollution and pollution prevention efforts in the continent;
  • Formulates continental policy frameworks and programs that promote sound environmental and natural resource management and resilience to natural disasters and climate change;
  • Develops continental strategies and programs that will support Africa combat climate change and its impacts; and
  • Oversees implementation of continental policies aimed to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss in Africa.

Key Relationships
Internal Relationships:

  • Executive Council of the African Union
  • Permanent Representatives Committee
  • Other AU organs
  • Specialized Technical Committees
  • Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat
  • Chairperson
  • Deputy Chairperson
  • Director General
  • Other Commissioners
  • Other Directorates

External Relationships:

  • AU Member States
  • Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
  • International development partners
  • UN Agencies
  • African Development Bank
  • African private sector
  • Civil Society Organisations
  • Research Institutions and Policy Think Tanks.

Academic Requirements

  • Master’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences / Economics, Aquaculture, Fisheries, Maritime, Forestry, Environmental Sciences / Management, Natural Resources or a closely related field from a recognized institution.
  • A Ph.D in Agricultural Sciences / Economics, Aquaculture, Fisheries, Maritime, Forestry, Environmental Sciences / Management, Natural Resources or closely related field from a recognized institution is an added advantage.

Relevant Experience:

  • Have not less than eighteen (18) years of relevant professional experience with at least ten (10) years served in a senior leadership role preferably in an intergovernmental organisation or national government/public service, international or regional institution.


  • Proficiency in one of the AU working languages. Fluency in another AU working language is highly desirable.

Required Skills:

  • Demonstrated leadership experience with strategic vision and proven skills in managing complex organizations at the national, regional or international level;
  • Demonstrated record of setting clear standards for accountability, probity, value for money and risk management and zero tolerance to fraud and corruption; for ensuring sound and transparent financial management; and delivering continuous improvement, impact, efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Demonstrated intellectual leadership, creativity and proven ability to propose new ideas and lead on new ways of working across silos in a complementary and synergistic way for a prosperous and peaceful Africa;
  • Proven track record of change management and accomplishments at the regional, national or international level with strong resource mobilization, political and diplomatic skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a multi-cultural team and establish harmonious and effective working relationships both within and outside the organization;
  • Proven ability to inspire, encourage, build trust and confidence and build consensus, stimulate effective campaigns and drive collective action among a broad spectrum of people and organizations.

Leadership Competencies
Strategic Focus:

  • Determines and outlines the portfolio’s strategic priorities and connects the portfolio’s purpose to that of the broader organization vision and values
  • Inspires others and the organisation to achieve beyond expectations
  • Proactively identifies and prioritizes the key issues involved to facilitate executive decision-making and makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data is limited, or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.

Developing Organizational Capability:

  • Promotes and catalyzes organizational learning and development to ensure that the portfolio is well positioned to meet future leadership needs and mentors others to enhance their development.

Change Leadership:

  • Acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action and identifies change opportunities and champion organizational change initiatives – consistently looks for ways to improve the portfolio or organization. Understands multiple cultural frameworks, values, and norms.
  • Demonstrates an ability to adapt style when faced with myriad dimensions of culture in order to be effective across cultural contexts
  • Able to resolve conflicts arising to competing objectives, limited resources, or differing perspectives and seeks amicable solutions.

Strategic Risk Management:

  • Manage the organisation’s and portfolio’s reputation by making risk-intelligent decisions and using sound judgement in highly complex situations based on an assessment of the risks and benefits, impacts.

Core Competencies
Building Partnerships:

  • Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals to foster organizational goals through proactive engagement with key stakeholders
  • Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.

Drives Accountability Culture:

  • Determines objectives, sets priorities and develops longer-term goals and proactively influences how resources, services, etc. are re-organized to achieve goals and offering recommendations on issues of accountability for improvement
  • Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results.

Learning Agility and Resilience:

  • Engages in systematic and development activities aligned with the strategic needs of the organisation
  • Promotes ongoing learning and development across the organization, develops personal and professional goals and makes insightful career planning decisions to achieve (or alter) these goals. Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.

Communicating with impact:

  • Projects authority, credibility and influences external executive decision makers to achieve substantive goals
  • Uses personal rather than positional power to influence and motivate others to achieve results and presents the key points of an argument persuasively
  • Negotiates and facilitates through cultural differences, conflicts, tensions, or misunderstandings.

Functional Competencies
Conceptual Thinking:

  • Creates new concepts that are not obvious to others to think through issues and/or resolve problems.

Job Knowledge Sharing:

  • Fosters and enables a knowledge and information-rich culture through engaging with thought leaders within and outside the organization.

Drive for Results:

  • Drives high performance standards from goal creation to continuous improvement.
  • Commits significant resources and/or time (in the face of uncertainty) to improve performance, reach a challenging goal and implements innovative solutions.

Fosters Innovation:

  • Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting-edge programs/processes for the overall performance of the organization and the portfolio.

AU Values

  • Respect for Diversity and Teamwork
  • Think Africa Above all
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Integrity and Impartiality
  • Efficiency and Professionalism
  • Information and Knowledge Sharing

Application Closing Date
4th September, 2020.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Click Here for More Information (PDF)

Click Here to Get Senior Leadership Position Curriculum Vitae (CV) Template

To Submit Your Application:

  • Create an account via the link above (Click here to see instructional video)
  • Fill out your personal information and the application form
  • Attach the following documents:
    • Your updated professional CV (no longer than 3 pages)
    • Bio page of your passport (or national ID)
    • Copy of your highest completed qualification (no transcipts)
    • Attach a letter of recommendation (not older than 2 years) attesting to your leadership qualities


  • The requirements and responsibilities contained in this job description do not create a contract of employment and are not meant to be all-inclusive. It may be changed by the role manager during employment on an as-needed basis.

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