British High Commission Infrastructure Sector Director – Department for International Trade Jobs in South Africa

British High Commission Infrastructure Sector Director – Department for International Trade Jobs in South Africa


  • The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) is the UK Government’s Department for promoting free trade and open market access, UK exports and investment. In Africa, DIT supports the development of strong, prosperous and peaceful African nations, through trade and investment partnerships delivering mutual benefit for the UK and Africa. DIT brings together trade policy, promotion, and finance expertise to break down barriers to trade and investment in markets across the world, and to help businesses succeed.

  • This is a great opportunity to take a leadership role, operating with a high level of autonomy, shaping our work in Africa in a very important sector for the UK. The UK offer is comprehensive and includes world-class capability in consulting, design engineering, project management, investment and legal services, as well as strong capabilities in products and services in key infrastructure sectors such as water, rail, construction, aviation and airports.

  • The City of London is the centre for green and international finance helping to support infrastructure development globally. Africa’s infrastructure needs are huge and the continent is in need of reliable partners like the UK who can deliver sustainable solutions.

  • Your job will be to work independently with senior level African buyers and key UK companies. You will help UK firms to create new, and expand existing business, and build up investments in Africa. This includes identifying the very best opportunities in Africa and the right strategies and markets together with UK companies, informing, challenging and helping UK companies at board level to create plans that support new effective market entry, and successful engagements with major projects.

  • You will guide DIT country teams to understand the UK offer, and help them to evaluate projects in terms of their best alignment to deliver outcomes that match UK interests, and to work effectively in support of UK business interests in their countries. You will leading DIT’s work with the key UK businesses in infrastructure in Africa.

  • You will develop a strong understanding of the current state of infrastructure development in Africa, the greatest opportunities for the UK, identifying new projects on the horizon as well as driving existing projects forward. You will learn to understand the key barriers to UK trade and investment, and ensure that our work in this area is prioritised effectively, and that adequate action is taken to resolve these barriers.

  • You will engage UK companies early on when opportunities start to arise in Africa. You will liaise with key buyers, increase their understanding of UK expertise, and help key buyers to engage with UK companies. You will create and lead a small number of very high quality events that reflect the unique quality of the UK offer in infrastructure, and that advance our interests with key buyers.

  • The successful candidate will have autonomy and will be expected to bring a step change in UK business results in infrastructure, drawing on the full set of tools available, including UK export finance, UK Government capability working with host Governments, and all the UK’s private sector USPs, to create partnerships based on sustainable growth in our trade.

  • This will require strategic thinking, drive, leadership and an ability to understand and link up different tools and approaches, creativity and problem solving in work with stakeholders to ensure the right outcomes are achieved, together with sales and delivery skills in working with key buyers.

  • The jobholder will join a dynamic team of experts from the private sector, committed to support UK business interests and Africa’s economic growth. This is an exciting time to join DIT Africa, as we deliver on our ambition to be Africa’s trade and investment partner of choice.

    Roles and responsibilities:

  • You will lead and deliver DIT Africa’s work in the infrastructure sector.

  • You will create and deliver a sector plan focussed
    on outcomes and with clear priorities, goals, milestones and deliverables. You will create greater awareness in the UK, organise focussed sector events, and provide an evidence based view of the key areas for UK business engagement.

  • You will create a pipeline of key projects and opportunities, and ensure there is appropriate and strong support for UK companies in making progress on these projects. You will lead a pan-Africa virtual sector team working in the sector. You will work together with UK stakeholders to advance your interests.

  • You will lead this work, securing outcomes through the wider DIT Africa team across the continent, providing them with direction, helping to upskill them, and ensuring a consistent high standard of delivery and service.

  • You will lead a strong programme of relationship management with major UK companies in the sector. You will lead accounts at Africa CEO level, working with senior leaders to understand their strategy, priorities and objectives, and market access concerns, delivering additional support for them that matches their needs, helping to realise the best possible opportunities in Africa.

  • You will deploy support across the full range of DIT and HMG interests (trade policy, market access, export and business support, planning and strategy development, and new investments). You will also create your own relationships with buyer Governments, and your role will include some occasional travel when conditions permit to African countries.

  • You will use your own experience of business to role model and secure better services for UK business among the DIT Africa family. You will have autonomy to drive forward our work in this key sector, helping country teams in DIT Africa to find new opportunities, develop new deals, resolve problems, and win projects.

  • You will ensure alignment with other HMG work streams where relevant, for example Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the FCDO.
    This role is subject to change, removal or amendment from advert at short notice.

    Resources managed (staff and expenditure):

  • Team of around 5 advisers, who you will matrix manage in coordination with their Country Directors.

  • Operational budgets for travel and subsistence, and marketing and communications.

    Essential qualifications, skills and experience

  • Fluency in English both verbal and spoken. Able to express ideas and messages clearly and concisely, both orally and in written communication;

  • Undergraduate degree or other relevant professional qualification relevant to infrastructure development;

  • Knowledge of infrastructure projects, having worked in the private sector to develop infrastructure projects, with at least ten (10) years of experience working on infrastructure, preferably in Africa;

  • At least 5 years experience in leading teams at a senior level within a private sector business, operating with autonomy to deliver success and project impact;

  • Experience of working with government departments in Africa at a senior level to secure progress on infrastructure projects;

  • At least 5 years of leading the development of new areas of business in Africa for international companies, or at one of Africa’s most successful private sector firms;

  • Proven track record of cross-team collaboration;

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

    Desirable qualifications, skills and experience

  • Knowledge of the UK, a keen interest in sustainable development.

    Required competencies

  • Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Achieving Commercial Outcomes.

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; British High Commission Infrastructure Sector Director – Department for International Trade Jobs in South Africa

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