Principal Programme Officer

Job Opportunity

Date: Thursday May 7, 2020

Post:  Principal Programme Officer

Number of Vacancies: (01)

Grade: AU P4/1 equivalency

Department/Agency: Africa CDC

Supervisor: Deputy Director, Africa CDC

Duty Station: Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

Application deadline: Thursday May 21, 2020


The African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) is a non-profit organization established in 2005 with a mission to improve human health through the strengthening and expansion of applied epidemiology and laboratory capacity in partnership with Ministries of Health, Non-Governmental Organizations, international agencies, private sector and other public health agencies. AFENET has its headquarters in Kampala, Uganda with operations in more than 30 African Countries.

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. Its Headquarters is located in Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) was officially launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 31, 2017. The Africa CDC is Africa’s first continent-wide public health agency and envisions a safer, healthier, integrated and stronger Africa, where Member States are capable of effectively responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health threats. The agency mission is to strengthen Africa’s public health institutions’ capabilities to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease outbreaks and other health burdens through an integrated network of continent-wide preparedness and response, surveillance, laboratory, and research programmes.

Towards meeting its’ mission, the Africa CDC will work with African Union member States, WHO, and partners in the five geographic sub-regions of Africa to strengthen their capacity in five strategic priority areas: (1) public health surveillance and disease intelligence; (2) public health emergency preparedness and response; (3) public health laboratory systems and networks; (4) public health information and technology systems; and (5) public health research and public health institutes. The guiding principles of the Africa CDC include Leadership, Management, Finance, Workforce, Partnership and Innovation.

In seeking to achieve this objective, the African Union intends to strengthen its capacity to deliver by, among others, the reinforcement of its organizational structure and expertise. The Commission of the African Union through AFENET invites applicants who are national and citizens of Member States for a position of Principal Programme Officer for the Africa CDC.

The position is based at the Africa CDC Secretariat in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia.

Job Purpose

The Principal Programme Officer serves as a principal advisor and provides technical support to the Deputy 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; helps 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.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

The Principal Programme Officer (Deputy Director’s Office), Africa CDC shall:

  1. Advise the Deputy Director, senior staff members and key agency officials on all activities that affect agency wide policy, programmes, projects and initiatives.
  2. Maintain knowledge and awareness of the Deputy Director’s objectives and exercises analytical judgment in order to anticipate potential problems and sensitive issues that may arise.
  3. Foster an intra-agency need to prepare carefully researched materials for the Deputy Director’s attention. Assures that all recommendations presented are comprehensive, accurate, fully discussed and encompass the issues involved.
  4. On an agency-wide basis, interpret the Deputy Director’s objectives and informs other key officials of proposed actions to insure their inputs into tasks that may affect their areas of responsibility.
  5. Support the Deputy Director by monitoring activities throughout the Agency for consistency of approach and providing coordinative leadership to key officials and programme managers in resolving problems.
  • Coordinate 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.
  • Coordinate or directly prepares talking points and briefing materials for meetings of the Deputy Director, including synthesizing all or parts of materials prepared by other officials.
  • Coordinate the preparation of briefing materials and other documentation in support of the Deputy Director’s responsibilities.
  • Oversee and coordinate the daily activities of the Deputy Director including determine the Deputy Director’s schedule based on agreed priorities; evaluates and determines the priority of internal/external meeting requests and necessary staff attendance and seeks opportunities for the Deputy Director to advocate for the Agency mission and programmes.
  • Support the Deputy Director with coordination and integration of functions and activities of the Executive Office (Director and Deputy Director) and meets regularly with relevant staff to ensure attention and timely response to high priority issues.
  • Organize all information that flows to and from the Deputy Director to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making and delegates action items sent to the Deputy Director for handling by other technical and Front Office staff.
  • Act as a final point of clearance for all materials going to and from the Deputy Director.
  • Support the resolving of issues crossing organizational lines, coordinates decision-making and planning processes to ensure that Africa CDC focuses on its highest priority initiatives.
  • Treat sensitive information with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. This information includes, but is not limited to: personnel information and detailed financial information
  • Perform other related duties as required or assigned by the Deputy Director or Director.

Minimum academic Qualification:

  1. Master’s university degree in public health, business administration, public administration or related field. Candidates should have a minimum of 7 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.
  2. A minimum of 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.


  1. University Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health, Business Administration, Public Administration or related field will be considered provided they have at least twelve (12) years continuous relevant work experience of which seven (7) years must be at Executive management level. Candidates should have a minimum of twelve (12) 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.
  2. A minimum of 12 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.

Required Professional Work Experience

  1. Clear understanding of African health systems and fair knowledge of operations of the Ministry of health in Member States.
  2. Strong leadership and effective health diplomacy in public sector and technical domains.
  3. 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.
  4. Experience in drafting documentation for executive level consumption.
  5. In-depth knowledge of public health issues in Africa and previous experience working in Africa.
  6. Experience in supervising and leading teams and individuals, and delegating tasks and authority.
  7. Clear understanding of the African Union and partners’ engagements.

Required Skills and Competencies

  1. Functional Skills
  • Excellent diplomatic, representational, interpersonal and communication skills, including experience with successfully interacting with stakeholders and decision-makers in technical and other professional settings;
  • 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;
  • Excellent computer skills, including word-processing capabilities, proficiency with e-mail and internet applications, experience in using office software applications such as MS Excel, Power Point and Word;
  • 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.
  • Ability to organize, support and motivate others and to work in a multi-cultural environment. High level of autonomy at work, yet with profound team spirit.
  • Able to operate in a multi-cultural environment
  • High levels of autonomy and with team spirit.
  • Adaptive, patient, resourceful, resilient and flexible.

Language Requirement:

Applicants must be proficient in at least one of the African Union working languages (English, French, Arabic or Portuguese). Knowledge of one more or several other working languages would be an added advantage.

Tenure of Appointment:

The appointment will be made on contract for a period of one (1) year, of which the first three (3) months shall be considered as a probationary period. Thereafter, the contract will be renewable, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

Gender Mainstreaming:

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

How to apply:

Submit your resume, application letter, and relevant documentation to:

The Administration and HR Office email;
*ONLY successful candidates shall be contacted for an interview.

Please note that all applications should be sent online by close 5:30pm (EAT) Thursday May 21, 2020.

Note: More details about this position can be obtained from our website: