Regional Director, West Africa at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Nigeria

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Regional Director, West Africa

Location: Abuja
Reports to: Chief Global Programs Officer
Desired Start Date: ASAP
Job Type: International

Job Description

  • The Regional Director, West Africa is the overall lead of IPA’s programs in the West Africa Region and is responsible for directly supporting the programmatic, operational and financial functions of Country Offices in the region.
  • Currently IPA has presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Liberia with projects in other locations in the region.
  • In conjunction with the Chief Global Programs Officer, the Regional Director is responsible for setting the strategic agenda and direction of IPA’s programs in West Africa, including identifying opportunities for expanding IPA’s presence in the region.
  • The position holder will play important role in growing IPA’s research portfolio, maintaining a strong business development pipeline, and strengthening and streamlining operational presence across IPA’s West Africa country offices to ensure that IPA’s work influences local and regional decision makers.
  • The RD will directly supervise and mentor Country Directors for each Country Office in West Africa and advise them on all strategic aspects of their roles.
  • This includes working with Country Office management to establish business models and leading and supporting in project development efforts to allow for IPA to have long-term, in-country presence to deliver on IPA’s mission and vision; provide strategic, financial and operational oversight and ensure long-term financial sustainability; establish and strengthen relationships with researchers and partners and grow these networks by identifying new research partners; identify high impact policy opportunities for evidence creation and policy engagement; develop locally relevant research and policy agendas that draw upon global bodies of evidence and leverage existing projects; and continue to generate high quality research to contribute to iterative learning and evidence sharing about what works and doesn’t in development.
  • Building off a solid base of evidence and strong partnerships in the region, the Regional Director will be in a position to leverage existing evidence and help guide the development of the next wave of research in IPA Country Offices in West Africa.
  • To do this well, the Regional Director will need to be a strong communicator and translator between academics, researchers, and private and public partners. The incumbent should also be intellectually curious and open to new ideas and ways of doing things. A successful Regional Director will provide a clear vision that allows Country Directors to lead individual offices but provide strategic support and guidance when necessary.
  • The Regional Director also plays an important role in representing IPA globally, both internally and externally, and ensures that countries are aligned and connected to each other and the global office.
  • The Regional Director reports directly to the Chief Global Program Officer, coordinates closely with other IPA Regional Directors, the Senior Director of Business Development and the Director of Global Operations, and works closely with IPA’s functional support teams and the Senior Management Team.

Country Office Oversight:

  • Providing strategic and inspiring leadership to the country offices in West Africa and oversight to the overall financial and operational health and sustainability of country offices with a focus on award/ project financial management and high-quality programme delivery.
  • Recruit country office leadership when required, with responsibility over the leadership of country offices during transition periods (both planned and unplanned) and oversee succession planning for country leadership roles in the region.
  • Provide individualized support and mentorship to country leadership with an emphasis on staff retention and development and organizational structure innovation.
  • Guide and oversee Country Programs with annual planning and oversee country teams throughout the year to ensure that plans are executed successfully.
  • Collaborate with IPA’s functional teams to support and advise Country Programs on strategic, managerial, and operational issues, contribute to, roll-out and ensure compliance with operational manuals and policies to standardise operations across country offices.
  • Regularly review IPA’s presence in West Africa, conduct systematic assessments (risk, safety and security, sustainability, etc.) of existing country offices and recommend and actively support expansion of IPA into new geographies.
  • Act as the main point of Contact for any cross-country efforts in West Africa to donor, partners, and researchers.
  • Act as the main point of contact on safety and security and crisis management for the West Africa region.

Business/ Project Development Guidance:

  • Oversee the development of new research projects in West Africa ensuring that they align well with IPA’s mission and standards and that new projects are adequately planned and budgeted for; review all project budgets before submission for accuracy and precision.
  • Support strategic project development opportunities across the region to refine and develop IPA’s presence in West Africa, looking for opportunities to grow, including in new countries; encouraging communication and collaboration between IPA Country Offices, the Policy team, the Right Fit Evidence team, and Sector Programs and help to facilitate matchmaking of potential implementing partners, researchers, and donors.
  • Work with IPA’s Business Development team to fundraise for Country Programs in West Africa, recommend new funding opportunities in terms of their alignment to IPA’s strategy and mission.
  • Help coordinate cross country and cross regional project development efforts.

Research and Policy Development and Quality:

  • Work with Country Programs to refine their research focus and grow their sector approach with key stakeholders and to set a corresponding agenda for policy engagement and project development.
  • Collaborate closely with the Policy and Right Fit Evidence teams to support the training of managers and Country Directors and the roll-out of joint projects in West Africa.
  • Promote high quality research and support the roll-out of innovations in research methods.
  • Stay abreast of IPA/J-PAL evidence and support linkages between global and local research agendas.
  • Present on evaluation and about IPA and IPA’s research and policy projects to internal and external audiences.

IPA Global Programs and Cross-functional Leadership:

  • Contribute to and champion global priorities including IPA’s Strategic Ambition and ensure that global goals are part of country plans and priorities.
  • As a member of IPAs senior leadership, lead cross functional special projects across the organization that seek to address unexpected crises and/ or to solve long standing organizational pain points.
  • In coordination with IPA’s Global Operations Director, play a focal point liaison role between the Global Programs team and IPA functional support teams to ensure strong coordination and integrated support across the organization and at the regional level. Work to create regional support centers that will provide administrative support services across country offices.
  • Coordinate with internal teams to achieve results for Country Programs and provide Country Programs’ perspective to functional team leads.
  • Promote IPA’s principles and values across Country Offices and oversee a strong culture for effective teamwork and performance.

External Representation and Partnerships:

  • Advise on the development and management of external relationships with donors, researchers, and partners in the region and closely coordinate activities, both in the development and implementation of country research and policy agendas and projects.
  • Create new and strengthen existing donor relationships and perform the role of steward for selected donors.
  • Provide advice and support to Country Office teams in developing and building the capacity of partners on the ground to undertake impact evaluations.


  • At minimum, MPA, MPP and/or Master’s in a relevant subject area such as Economics, Statistics, Public Policy, Development, etc. as well as at least 6 years of senior leadership experience required.
  • Strong communication skills, team-player attitude, and a creative approach to work is required.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and strong ability to multi-task.
  • Ability to coordinate with cross functional teams at a variety of levels.
  • Ability to deal with a wide variety of cultures and personalities gracefully.
  • Ability to present academic research in clear simple language and to engage policymakers and donors in discussion on using and scaling rigorous evidence.
  • Ability to deal with ambiguity, cope with change, and comfortably handle risk and uncertainty.
  • Experience advising others on how to approach complicated management, human resource, financial, and logistical challenges.
  • Experience in an IPA Country Program, or similar organization, strongly preferred.
  • Experience working with donors, government agencies, policymakers, and researchers on evidence-based policy making.
  • Passion for and experience with quantitative research.
  • Experience developing or managing research projects in multiple sectors, ideally randomized controlled trials, is strongly preferred.
  • Experience working in the West Africa region is strongly preferred.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently within the region.

Application Closing Date
Rolling Basis.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

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May 2024