Head of Network, The Africa List

Team: Investment

Location: London, UK

Employment Type: Permanent

Salary: Competitive

Closing Date: 14 June 2017

Head of Network, The Africa List

Our Mission

  • Our mission is to support the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia, to create jobs and make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places.
  • We aim to invest in countries where we can have the greatest impact. In countries where the private sector is weak and jobs are scarce.
  • We invest in sectors where growth leads to jobs – both directly and indirectly. In sectors such as manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, financial institutions, construction, health and education. Last year, the businesses we invest in created more than a million jobs. 
  • We are successful because we are a high quality investment organisation, using the best commercial skills and judgement to make investments in great companies and support them to grow over the long term.  We therefore want to attract people with these skills but who are motivated to use them to dramatically improve the private sector in Africa and South Asia
  • For further information, please visit our website cdcgroup.com

The Role

Background to Role

  • CDC has been building businesses in Africa for 70 years. We know that the quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines whether a company succeeds or fails. If we are to see Africa thrive in the coming decades, we will need a generation of emerging leaders who are equipped for the challenges ahead. The Africa List is a new kind of community designed with exactly these needs in mind. This community brings together the continent’s next CEOs and helps them build enduring businesses that drive economies.
  • Every quarter, The Africa List holds events in each of our target countries. Because of our belief in the power of relationships, we have always placed a strong emphasis on the importance of bringing people together. Even in today's connected world, where so much of our communication is virtual, nothing can replace the power of face-to-face interactions and genuine conversations.
  • Each event we host is unique and ranges from a fire-side chat with senior experienced business leaders, to classroom sessions delivered by the world’s top business schools. This provides a space for our members to step away from their busy day-to-day lives, connect with each other, share ideas, and develop further as leaders. You will be spearheading these interactions and leading the continued expansion of the continent’s most useful business network.
  • For further information on The Africa List, see www.theafricalist.com

Your Challenge – Sustain + Scale

A highly focused and trusted network has been built in each of The Africa List countries. You will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of this existing network while enhancing its long-term sustainability. Importantly, you will also be leading the next phase of growth and will be exploring innovative ways to do more with The Africa List as we help ensure the continent’s next business leaders are best prepared to drive growth over the coming decade.


Role Purpose

To lead the team and build on CDC’s original vision for The Africa List: a sustainable platform that connects Africa’s future private sector leaders and, through leadership development and management education, helps equip these next generation CEOs to lead successful healthy businesses that drive growth.



1. Sustain the network in existing countries

Over the last two years, The Africa List has grown to cover 5 countries, 500 top companies, and 1000 leaders. The brand is trusted and competition to be part of this exceptional community of peers is intense. However, keeping everyone engaged and ensuring the network continues to deliver value requires constant creativity and innovation. The first part of your role will be leading The Africa List team and working closely with the in-country Working Groups to continually enhance the long term sustainability of the community. This will include:


a. Coordinating the selection process

Ensuring we are identifying the companies and leaders who are truly responsible for leading the next decade of growth is critical and the foundation for everything else we do.

  • Identify the top 100 companies in each country through detailed market mapping;
  • Maintain an up-to-date list of current and (likely) future CEOs

b. Oversee the design and management of multiple events across Africa

Our events are at the heart of The Africa List community and provide a space where members can step back from their busy day-to-day lives, connect with peers, and develop further as leaders. It also provides a regular opportunity for other teams within CDC to build real relationships with key companies and decision makers. Working with The Africa List team you will ensure we run excellently executed events every quarter in each target country. This will require:

  • Managing an event schedule that continually forecasts out for the next 12 months;
  • Designing creative events in unique spaces while working within the constraints of our budget;
  • Identifying and securing speakers who will inspire our members and help them build better businesses;

c. Create ongoing leadership and management education opportunities

We are now at the stage where we need to put more structure around our leadership development programme. Providing constant learning opportunities helps ensure the network remains engaged but importantly also plays a role in ensuring the continent’s next business leaders are best able to realise the growth potential in their businesses.

  • Help identify new partners, including business schools, corporates and other organisations, who share our vision and are able to provide relevant leadership development and executive education training and content;
  • Continually explore new channels of delivering and sharing content with members, from MOOCs to traditional classroom learning;
  • Find ways of sharing these lessons and leadership insights beyond The Africa List membership to ensure the maximum trickle-down effect.

d. Direct the network’s content and marketing strategy

  • Continually look for ways to further enhance The Africa List brand to create a community leaders value and aspire to be part of.
  • Leverage as well as contribute to CDC’s wider external communications strategy.

e. Team and budget

  • Lead a very high-calibre small team and ensure their learning, experience and career progression is carefully managed while achieving the objectives of The Africa List.
  • Write the annual budget and manage the monthly financial allocation and expenditure.


2. Scale The Africa List

This is the second part of your role. The foundation has been set, we know the model works and is repeatable across different markets, but now once again we have a blank sheet in front of us and can design a model and community that is at the forefront of creating jobs in some of the world’s fastest growing markets. Your focus on scaling will include leading the geographical pan- African expansion of The Africa List network beyond the existing 5 countries, but also importantly extends to looking for ways to innovative around the existing model in order to have the widest possible impact on leadership and business growth on the continent. Think TED before it went online or launched TEDx. Or LinkedIn before it integrated Lynda.com. Or YPO before it decentralised its model. There will be few opportunities to make as much of a difference.

a. Country expansion

  • Lead the market mapping and subsequent launch in each new country.

b. Shared insights

  • The Africa List was built on the belief that more can be achieved together. This idea should not be limited to just the current membership of The Africa List, but wherever possible we seek to pass on the knowledge and experience from within the community with whoever may benefit.
  • You will be working with brand companies, design agencies and videographers to capture insights from within The Africa List community and come up with creative ways to share these lessons with a wider audience.

c. Engage new partners

  • Build relationships with companies and select partners who are interested in interacting with the next leaders of a country’s top 100 companies;
  • Identify potential revenue streams that allow us to continually enhance the network;
  • Ensure each partner is aligned with our values, outlook and vision and adds value to The Africa List;

 d. Shape the vision for the next five years

  • How can we do even more?


3. Collaborate with the broader CDC Africa team and other sector, regional, and investment professionals within CDC.

The reach of The Africa List network – especially in more challenging markets - provides a powerful platform for CDC to achieve its mission of building job creating businesses in some of the poorest parts of the world. The final part of your role will be to ensure CDC is best plugged into this network and can leverage the considerable power of relationships to make even more of a difference.

a. Maintain current market knowledge

  • Develop deep country expertise in our target markets and support other CDC investment teams with relevant market intelligence that informs better decisions and ultimately investments;

b. Sensitively but proactively find ways to connect CDC with the leaders and companies that make up The Africa List


The Candidate

Professional Background


  • Proven track record of successfully leading small teams on big visions;
  • In depth knowledge of business in Africa with very close links to the continent, ideally having grown up and worked in Africa;
  • Significant business experience, including in an international environment;
  • Excellent relationship building skills and the ability to interact seamlessly with numerous people, from business school faculty to a country’s most senior business leaders;
  • Excited by the opportunity to live in London and spend significant time in some of Africa’s fastest growing economies;
  • Demonstrable alignment with the wider CDC mandate, mission and values;


  • An active interest in investing in leadership in Africa as a critical path to private sector growth;
  • Appreciation of the value in networks backed by a strong personal network that spans international corporates, business schools and leading African organisations;
  • Experience in facilitating market relevant training that boosts skill development;
  • Great eye for creative communications;
  • Sound knowledge of social media and other online tools and resources that increase member engagement;
  • Flexibility and desire to work in a start-up environment with a small team, while benefiting from the scale and reach of CDC


Personal attributes

  • Able to effectively lead and influence internal/external partners towards intended and successful results;
  • Self-starter and proactive problem solver, with a high sense of urgency yet meticulous attention to detail;
  • Able to work successfully and efficiently with minimal supervision, yet seeks and takes direction appropriately;
  • Can balance the need to be strategic and plan for the next phase, while comfortable with rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in the day-to-day detail that ensures we are creating the best possible community of private sector leaders who are learning together and building better businesses faster;
  • Finally, as the Head of Network, you will have to be comfortable with rapid growth, considerable autonomy, and have a demonstrated track record of ‘getting stuff done’.


CDC Identities

We look for candidates who share our culture and reflect our identity. The CDC identities are described as follows:

  • Compassion is central to everything we do
  • We owe our clients and prospective clients a fast and thoughtful process
  • We accept the tough challenges inherent in our mission
  • We are quick and non-defensive when things go wrong
  • We oppose bureaucracy
  • We never forget that we are investing and spending tax payers’ money
  • We promote a fulfilling work environment


Posting date: 16th May 2017

Closing date: 14th June 2017

Salary: competitive

Apply now