British High Commission Deputy Head of Trade Policy and Programming Jobs in South Africa

British High Commission Deputy Head of Trade Policy and Programming Jobs in South Africa


Many countries, including middle-income countries - still face considerable challenges such as youth unemployment, climate change, high and persistent inequality (including gender inequality) and digital exclusion, which can lower long-term growth prospects.

The British High Commission in South Africa delivers a portfolio of activities to support the broad-based and inclusive growth needed for poverty reduction.

Our strategic priorities within the Resilient and Productive Economies Campaign team include supporting bilateral and regional trade and investment, improving business environment and economic reform, driving productivity in key sectors through education, employment and skills development, improving digital access, support for entrepreneurship and MSMEs and sustainable urban development.

Within this team you will work across the Economic Growth team and the Trade team including working closely with colleagues in our Trade for Development team in HQ and with the Department for International Trade (DIT).

DIT is the UK’s Trade Promotion and Negotiation organisation. DIT promotes UK businesses overseas and attract foreign investment to our shores. Our aspiration is to address some of the challenges facing the UK, by helping British businesses to internationalise and grow overseas.

The Africa Region is exciting and energising and UK firms have a strong presence here, making the UK the 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. Our role is to promote these opportunities and position the UK as the continent’s number one trading partner and investor.

Roles and responsibilities:

The Role

The position is a unique opportunity to lead the UK’s substantial agenda on both trade policy and programming across Southern Africa.

Working with the D6 Head of Trade Policy, Southern Africa, you will lead work to shape the UK’s trade policy in the region, working in a matrix function between DIT Africa, the wider FCDO network in Southern Africa, and the teams in London ultimately accountable for trade policy and oversight and technical advice for regional trade programming.

The primary vehicle of UK trade policy in Southern Africa is the Southern African Customs Union + Mozambique – UK Economic Partnership Agreement. You will be one of the key internal and external focal points based in the region for engagement on the agreement.

You will also have responsibility for considering wider elements of trade policy, including but not limited to: services and investment, digital, public procurement, intellectual property, and multilateral issues at the WTO.

You will also have responsibility for the oversight and technical advice to the Trade Forward Southern Africa programme in its final year of delivery. The programme focuses on interventions to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth through Southern African export promotion.

Working across South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, the programme prioritises: increased information and resources for businesses to export, addressing non-tariff barriers to trade in priority markets including green technology and renewables, and support for Women in Trade.

You will already have a good understanding of trade policy and programme fundamentals. Success will mean quickly immersing yourself in the wider trade environment while getting a comprehension of the regional dynamics and context.

You will need to quickly develop your relationships with the key teams in Post as well as with relevant departments across Whitehall, establishing yourself as the trade policy link between the network and Trade Policy Group in DIT, DIT Africa teams, Trade for Development and wider FCDO teams.

Your primary objectives will be:

Trade Policy and Programme Oversight

  • Lead work to identify how trade policy can make a
    positive and practical difference on the ground to businesses, drawing linkages between market conditions and these possible solutions. This spans the full span of possibilities, from direct changes and improvements to the existing free trade agreement to enhancing cooperation mechanisms.

  • Lead in the planning of numerous major events and trade-related dialogues (including Ministerial economic/development forums), maximising the potential from both set-piece events and more ad-hoc engagements in order to drive progress on our agenda. You will have the opportunity to create and establish some of these for the first time.

  • Create and maintain realistic delivery plans for trade policy, reporting to both HQ and country boards in order that the wider HMG network is appropriately appraised of progress.

  • In its final year of delivery provide strategic oversight and technical advice to the Trade Forward Southern Africa programme, including technical assessment and review of programme deliverables ensuring they are of high quality and in line with UK strategic objectives for trade and economic growth;

  • Focus on sustainability of programme activity ensuring impact is able to translate beyond the life of the current Trade Forward Southern Africa programme; and consider options for what UK offer for export promotion and growth looks like post March 2024

    External Engagement

  • Build and maintain strong relationships with host Governments, local institutions and business to influence and progress our trade policy and programme objectives. Representing the UK and working closely with the in-country DIT trade advisors, you will establish commercial connections and influence a network of Trade counterparts.

  • You will be a champion for trade and the commercial and economic benefits it can bring to developing countries. You should spend a proportion of your time seeking to assist the business community across Southern Africa to help on their exporting journey. You should encourage green and sustainable investment in the region that unlocks genuine economic growth.

    Leadership and Management

  • Build relationships and work closely with other Economic Growth team members, Trade Programming Policy and Market Access officers in London and throughout the Africa network.

  • Provide timely reporting on changes to trade policy within your Posting and assist colleagues in London to develop and implement an engagement strategy with the country.

  • Work closely with trade promotion colleagues to ensure businesses are aware of increased market access and can take advantage of any changes.

  • Line management of 1xC4L/HEO Trade Programme Officer who will be the PRO officer for the programme and oversee the day to day programme management; further line management opportunities are possible

    Essential qualifications, skills and experience

  • Deep and extensive knowledge of trade policy, with minimum three years professional (or other substitutable) experience

  • Postgraduate degree and/or undergraduate degree and other relevant professional qualification

  • Experience of working in or with government departments, NGOs, and similar institutions

  • Proven track record of cross-team collaboration

  • A positive, resilient, flexible and adaptable “can-do” attitude that can see way through challenges

  • Excellent drafting skills

    Desirable qualifications, skills and experience

  • Knowledge/experience of international development, or a willingness to learn

  • Knowledge/experience of international economics

  • Knowledge/experience in programme management or management of ODA funds

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; British High Commission Deputy Head of Trade Policy and Programming Jobs in South Africa

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