Principal Programme Officer, Director’s Office

African Union


Position description

The Principal Programme Officer serves as a principal advisor and assistant to the Director, Africa CDC on internal and external affairs of the Africa CDC. The Principal Programme Officer serves as the focus for critical discussions and decisions impacting on policy and programme operations at the agency; aids in determining objectives and priorities; provides leadership in resolution of issues that cross organizational lines; and assists in assuring that agency policy, strategic and management priorities are represented in all matters, meetings and discussions as appropriate.

Main Functions

  • Provide technical and intellectual support and guidance in the management of various elements related to the area of expertise
  • Identify best practices and monitor effectiveness of the Office’s support to AU.
  • Assist in the development of the strategies and business continuity plan and participate in/ensure their implementation
  • Take charge of development of guidelines, policies and manuals that can guide programmes, system improvement initiatives and overall decision making by higher management in the respective area of expertise.
  • Foster and ensure implementation of initiatives related to area of specialization;
  • Assist in the organization of thematic networks, make high level technical contribution during consultations and meetings
  • Develop materials and provide necessary training and support to Organization Units as required.
  • Provide technical guidance on matters relating to system review and implementation project in area of specialization, as required.

Specific Responsibilities

The Principal Programme Officer, Africa CDC shall:

  • From an overall perspective, advises the Director, and other senior staff members on all activities that affect agency wide policy, programmes, projects and initiatives.
  • Maintains a knowledge and awareness of the Director’s objectives and exercises analytical judgment in order to anticipate potential problems and sensitive issues that may arise.
  • Fosters an intra-agency need to prepare carefully researched materials for the Directors decisions. Assures that all recommendations presented are comprehensive, accurate and fully discussed.
  • Interprets the Director’s objectives and informs all key officials of proposed actions to insure their input into the deliberative process that may affect their areas of responsibility.
  • Coordinates or directly develops, prepares and presents memoranda, briefings, staff papers and other materials concerning substantive questions, issues, findings, conclusions and proposed solutions or suggested courses of action.
  • Coordinates or directly prepares talking points and briefings materials for meetings of the Director including synthesizing all or parts of materials prepared by other agency officials and other AU components.
  • Coordinates the preparation of briefing materials and other documentation in support of the Director’s responsibilities to the Governing and Technical Advisory Boards as appropriate.
  • Oversees and coordinates the daily activities of the Director – determines the Director’s schedule based on current agency events and priorities; evaluates and determines the priority of internal/external meeting requests with the Director and necessary staff attendance and seeks opportunities for the Director to advocate for the Agency mission and programmes.
  • Assists the Director with coordination and integration of functions and activities in the Office of the Director (OD) and meets regularly with OD staff to ensure attention and timely response to high priority issues.
  • Organizes all information that flows to and from the Director to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making and delegates action items sent to the Director for handling by other OD staff.
  • Acts as a final point of clearance for all materials going to and from the Director as appropriate.
  • Resolves issues crossing organizational lines, coordinate decision-making and planning processes to ensure that Africa CDC focuses on its highest priority initiatives.
  • Treats sensitive information with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. This information includes, but is not limited to: personnel information and detailed financial information
  • Represents the Director on relevant committees and working groups within the African Union and externally as appropriate.
  • Performs other duties as required or assigned.

Academic Requirements and Relevant Experience

  • Master’s University degree in Public Health, Business Administration, Public Administration or related field and ten (10) years relevant experience in public health, programme and/or project management in either public or private sector contexts, or related discipline, out of which six (6) and three (3) years should be at expert and supervisory levels respectively; OR
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, Business Administration, Public Administration or related field and twelve (12) years relevant experience in Public Health, Programme and/or Project management in either public or private sector contexts, or related discipline, out of which six (6) and three (3) years should be at expert and supervisory levels respectively..
  • A minimum of ten (10) years of continuous and combined experience in implementing/coordinating public health programmes and/or other public or private sector programmes within a governmental agency, academic institution, research organization or a private company. This experience may include coordination of management, operations and policy affairs, strategic planning and other executive level support.
  • A minimum of five (5) years practical experience in coordination and/or primary support of executive management services portfolios, advisory and management boards, high-level initiatives, or related projects or programmes is preferred.
  • Clear understanding of African health systems and fair knowledge of operations of the Ministry of health in Member States
  • Proven history of strong leadership and effective health diplomacy in public sector and technical domains.
  • Experience in the preparation of strategic plans, policy and operational guidance, and technical proposals for advancing initiatives and programmes in either public or private sector domains.
  • Demonstrable experience in drafting documentation for executive level consumption.
  • In-depth knowledge of public health issues in Africa and previous experience working in Africa.
  • Demonstrable experience in supervising and leading teams and individuals, and delegating tasks and authority.
  • Deep understanding of the African Union way of working and managing associated relationships with Member State entities and partners.

Required Skills

Functional Skills

  • Excellent diplomatic, representational, interpersonal and communication skills, including experience successfully interacting with stakeholders and decision-makers in technical and other professional settings;
  • Excellent organizational skills and a proven ability to deliver under tight deadlines and works well under pressure;
  • Demonstrated project planning and management skills for organizing, planning and executing projects from conception through implementation;
  • Excellent technical writing skills, in addition to narrative and financial reporting skills;
  • Skills in translating highly technical information into presentations, briefings and report and funding proposals for both technical and lay audiences;
  • Resourceful and skilled at collecting, analyzing and using data to recommend, make and communicate decisions of a technical nature to both scientific and lay audiences;
  • Demonstrated ability with regard to computer skills, including excellent word-processing capabilities, proficiency with e-mail and internet applications, experience in using office software applications such as MS Excel, Power Point and Word;
  • Proficiency in one of the African Union working languages (Arabic, English, French, Portuguese or Spanish) is required. Knowledge of one or more of the other AU working languages would be an added advantage.

Personal Abilities

  • Leadership and management abilities.
  • Pro-active and solutions oriented.
  • Ability to work under pressure, stay on track and meet deadlines.
  • Analytical and problem solving abilities.
  • Proven ability to use clear, concise language in correspondence as well as including content fitting for the purpose and audiences when preparing written briefs and reports.
  • Able to operate in a multicultural environment.
  • High level of autonomy at work, yet with profound team spirit.
  • Adaptive, patient, resourceful, resilient and flexible.

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