Director Trade in Goods and Competition – AfCFTA Secretariat 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.

Job Title: Director Trade in Goods and Competition

Reference Code: AFCFTA/D1/04/003
Location: Accra, Ghana
Post level: D1
Employment Fraction: Full-time
Contract Type: Regular (Long Duration)
Organ / Department: The AfCFTA Secretariat
Reporting to: Secretary General – AfCFTA

The Organisation

  • The African Union, established as a unique Pan African continental body, is charged with spearheading Africa’s rapid integration and sustainable development by promoting unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among the peoples of Africa and African States as well as developing a New Partnership worldwide. The African Union Heads of State and Government decided through Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.394 (XVIII) of January 2012 to fast-track the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area. Negotiations were launched in 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa and all 55 African countries have been participating in the process. The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was concluded on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda and came into force on 30 May 2019.
  • Article 3 of the AfCFTA Agreement provides that the general objectives of the Agreement are to create a single market for goods and services facilitated by movement of persons to deepen economic integration of the African continent in accordance with the vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in Agenda 2063. The AfCFTA will deliver an integrated continental market of 1.3 billion consumers with aggregate GDP of USD 3.4 trillion. The specific objectives of the AfCFTA are outlined in Article 4 of the Agreement. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched on 07th July 2019 during the 12th Extraordinary Summit of AU Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger. During that same Summit, AU Heads of State and Government agreed that the headquarters of the AfCFTA shall be in Accra, Ghana and also set the date of 1 July 2020 as the start of trading under the AfCFTA. The Heads of State and Government also agreed that the Secretariat shall be established by March 2020.
  • In view of the above background, the AfCFTA Secretariat through the African Union Commission invites qualified and competent applicants who are citizens of the Member States of the African Union with relevant skills, competencies and experiences to submit their applications for the position of the Director Trade in Goods and Competition based at its headquarters in Accra, Ghana.

Job Purpose

  • Reporting to the Secretary-General, the Director: Trade in Goods and Competition shall be responsible for all matters related to Trade in Goods, Trade Facilitation and Competition of the AfCFTA to facilitate the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement. Providing technical leadership and ensure efficient functioning of all Divisions and ensure overall management of directorate human resources, budget, performance, quality and training in conformity with relevant AU rules and regulations.

Summary of Key Duties and Responsibilities
General management responsibilities:

  • Determine and execute the directorate’s strategy and align to the AfCFTA Secretariat’s overall strategy;
  • Prepare and oversee integrated programmes and related activities of the department;
  • Provide support in the development of policies and oversee policy development guidelines;
  • Build and maintain a strategic plan to form good working relations with other directorate / department;
  • Build staff capacity and continually improve the cost-effectiveness in the delivery of the directorate’s mandate;
  • Develop and maintain regular working relations with top-level stakeholders in appropriate agencies of the Member States and partners; and
  • Prepare periodic financial, budget execution and programme delivery reports.

Specific Responsibilities
Trade-in Goods:

  • Responsible for assisting state parties in implementing the Protocols on Trade in Goods and Competition, including their subsidiary instruments;
  • Assist the state parties in enhancing cooperation in the areas of Customs Procedures, Trade Facilitation and Transit;
  • Assist the state parties in enhancing cooperation in the areas of Technical Barriers to Trade, Non-Tariff Barriers and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures;
  • Act as a secretariat to the Committee on Trade in Goods and the Committee on Competition and their subsidiary bodies, to ensure their smooth functioning;
  • Provide high-quality factual reports, technical advisory notes and other relevant information notes to enable the smooth functioning of the Committee on Trade in Goods, the Committee on Competition and their subsidiary bodies;
  • Develop formats and working procedures for receipt of notifications and their circulation to state parties;
  • Lead technical assistance and capacity building initiatives to enable state parties to implement the Protocols on Trade in Goods and Competition, including their subsidiary instruments;
  • Design and maintain a comprehensive database of each state party’s tariff schedule, including the tariff schedules of customs unions;
  • Conduct research and assist other directorates of the Secretariat on all matters related to the Protocols on Trade in Goods and Competition whenever expertise on these topics is required, for instance in the context of dispute settlement cases and of technical assistance activities;
  • Lead collaboration and develop good working relations and partnerships with relevant organisations such as UN Economic Commission for Africa, the World Trade Organisation, the World Customs Organisation amongst others.


  • Oversee the implementation of the Competition Policy Protocol;
  • Provide policy guidelines and facilitation of the implementation of continental competition policy;
  • Establish and operationalise the African Competition Network of national and regional competition authorities to promote cooperation and harmonisation of competition regulation in the continent;
  • Assist State Parties to develop competition policies and implement competition laws in conformity with the goals of the AfCFTA;
  • Provide appropriate technical and other AfCFTA-related advice and required documentation to Member State representatives participating in meetings and ensure the timely production and dissemination of minutes of technical meetings;
  • Coordinate and facilitate technical assistance programs, policy dialogue on competition policy, studies and advocacy to advance competition policy that addresses challenges in the continent;
  • Ensure cooperation with regional bodies responsible for competition regulation;
  • Identify competition policy challenges in Africa and propose activities or initiatives to address these; and
  • Advance and place the competition policy agenda for Africa in international organisations such as the WTO and UNCTAD.

Required Qualifications and Work Experience
Education Qualification:

  • A minimum of a Master’s Degree in the fields of International Trade, Economics, International Relations, International Development Policy, Law, Business Administration or other relevant disciplines.

Professional Work Experience:

  • A minimum of 12-years working experience in a profession related to International Trade, Economics, International Relations, International Development Policy, Law, Business Administration or other relevant disciplines. This experience should include at least 7-years work at a managerial level position.
  • Established record of implementation and monitoring of multilateral or regional or bilateral trade agreements, particularly SPS, NTBs, TBT, Customs Procedures and trade defense measures.
  • Experience in leading the formulation and implementation of trade policies at national or regional levels, including proven ability to achieve a consensus of domestic or regional stakeholders;
  • Experience in working with and advising governments at a senior management/executive level; Previous managerial experience in leading an organization and/or a team of professionals; and
  • Experience in project management and leading change in an organization.

Required Skills, Knowledge and Competences

  • In-depth knowledge of and / or past involvement in relevant regional trade framework agreements and negotiations in the region;
  • Strong leadership, managerial, analytical, people and team skills;
  • Proven track record of working collaboratively with commercial drivers of trade and investment in Africa;
  • A strong commitment to the values of impartiality, honesty, integrity and objectivity;
  • International experience, with a personal reputation of the highest order among global and African trade professionals; and
  • Experience in working in a multicultural environment.
  • Conceptual Thinking: Creates new concepts that are not obvious to others and are not learned from previous education or experience, to think through issues and / or resolve problems.
  • Job Knowledge Sharing: Fosters and enables knowledge and information-rich culture through engaging with thought leaders within and outside the organization.
  • Drive for Result: Commits significant resources and/or time (in the face of uncertainty) to improve performance, reach a challenging goal and implements innovative solutions.
  • Fosters Innovation: Encourages creativity on the part of others by highlighting the benefits of innovation and change on the overall performance of the organization and/or the performance department/ directorate.

Leadership Skills and Competencies:

  • Strategic Focus: – Creates a compelling vision for the future state of the department / directorate and or organization. Establishes a comprehensive course of action to achieve the vision.
  • Developing Organizational Capability: Promotes organizational learning and development to ensure that the department is well-positioned to meet future leadership needs and mentor others to enhance their development.
  • Change Leadership: Leads and champions organizational change initiatives – consistently looks for ways to improve the Department / directorate or organization.
  • Strategic Risk Management: Uses sound judgement to make risky decisions in highly complex situations based on an assessment of the risks and benefits, impacts, etc

Personal Abilities:

  • Ability to use strong managerial delegation, political tact and supervisory skills to achieve documented objectives
  • Evidence of ability to lead, motivate and guide a team of professionals;
  • Ability to work effectively with people from various backgrounds and create an environment where diversity is respected
  • Ability to identify key strategic opportunities and risks
  • Ability to delegate the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority with regard to performance management and professional development
  • Ability to initiate and cultivate strategic internal and external networking relationships, builds alliances and collaborates across boundaries to foster organizational goals through proactive engagement with key stakeholders.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ability to communicate with impact, uses personal rather than positional power to influence and motivate others to achieve results.

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • Demonstrable in-depth knowledge of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, its Protocols and its subsidiary legal instruments;
  • A good working knowledge of African countries capacity needs in terms of implementing trade agreements and policies;
  • Detailed knowledge of regional trade relations between developed and developing countries and relevant WTO agreements.
  • Demonstrable extensive knowledge of the functioning and decision making processes of the African regional trade and economic integration and/or multilateral trading system;
  • Experience in public communication and dealing with the media.

Language Requirement:

  • Applicants must be proficient in one of the following African Union working languages; Arabic, English, French or Portuguese. Knowledge of one more or several other working languages would be an added advantage.

Tenure of Appointment and Assumption of Duty:

  • The appointment will be made on regular term contract for a period of three (3) years, of which the first twelve months shall be considered as a probationary period. Thereafter, the contract will be for a period of two-years renewable, subject to satisfactory performance and deliverables.

Least Representative Countries:

  • Angola, Algeria, Cape Verde, Central African Rep., Egypt, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Guinea, Libya, Morocco, Namibia, Saharawi Arab D.R., Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa

Gender Mainstreaming:

  • The AU Commission is an equal opportunity employer and qualified candidates, including women, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Remuneration and Benefits

  • Indicative basic salary of US$78,138 (D1 Step1) per annum plus other related entitlements e.g. Post adjustment (57% of basic salary), Housing allowance US$ 27,290.88.00 (per annum), education allowance (100% of tuition and other education related expenses for every eligible dependent up to a maximum of US$ 10, 000.00 per child per annum), etc. for internationally recruited staff of the Commission.

Application Closing Date
26th July, 2020.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
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  • Create an account via the link above (Click here to see instructional video)
  • Fill out your personal information and the application form


  • All applications which include passport copy, professional and academic certificates, CV and cover letter stating their suitability and motivation for the position must be submitted through above
  • Attach detailed and updated curriculum vitae / resume including three (3) referees with good knowledge of candidate’s work, please, provide referees’ contact details – telephone and e-mail addresses.
  • Copy of valid passport.
  • Certified copies of educational qualifications – degrees, diplomas and certificates, where applicable (Not 4. More than 5 Documents in PDF Format, and not exceeding 1 MB).
  • Please be aware that only complete applications will be considered.
  • Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
  • Applications are pre-screened by the system according to the published requirements of the job opening on the basis of the information provided in the application. In relation to the requirements of the job opening, applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their qualifications, including their education, work experience, and language skills. Each applicant must bear in mind that submission of incomplete or inaccurate applications may render that applicant ineligible for consideration for the job opening. Initial screening and evaluation of applications will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted. Applications cannot be amended following submission. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to a reference-checking process to verify the information provided in the application.
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