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Commissioner - Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS) at the African Union (AU)

Posted on Mon 20th Jul, 2020 - --- (0 comments)

The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).  We are an Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

Applications are invited for the position below:

Job Title: Commissioner, Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS)

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Reports to: Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Directorate/Department: Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development(HHS)
Number of Direct: Reports Two (2) Directors
Number of Directorates and Agencies: 2 Directorates and 8 Specialised Technical Offices/Agencies
Division: N / A
Job Family: Elected Official
Level: 6
Job Grade: SP3

AU Values

  • Respect for Diversity and Teamwork
  • Think Africa Above all
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Integrity and Impartiality
  • Efficiency and Professionalism
  • Information and Knowledge Sharing


  • Under the authority of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, this position is responsible for driving the formulation and implementation of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development policies, programs and strategies in line with the aspirations of Agenda 2063, the associated medium-term plans and other key continental legal and policy frameworks.
  • Leads engagement with the AU Member States and strategic partners in the delivery of the portfolio’s continental priorities. The Commissioner shall have a high commitment to pan-African values and the guiding principles of the African Union.

Main Functions

  • Sets the overall goals of the Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development portfolio in line with the AU Agenda 2063;
  • Sets annual performance targets for the Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development portfolio and report on annual progress to Specialized Technical Committees and AU Policy Organs;
  • Provide regular reports to the Chairperson of the Commission on portfolio delivery;
  • Carry out effective regular engagement and collaboration with, and timely reporting to the PRC and respective subcommittees;
  • Drive the implementation of the AU Institutional Reform Agenda as part of the senior leadership team;
  • Provide leadership and guidance to Directors in the implementation of policies and programs within the portfolio;
  • Engage with Member States in order to pursue the Commission’s work to promote domestication of AU Agenda 2063 at the national level by Member States;
  • Lead partnership negotiations and resource mobilization with Strategic Partners to finance continental programmes and priorities;
  • Co-ordinate Specialized Technical Committees to promote the achievement of the departmental mandate;
  • Strengthen regional coordination, cooperation and integration initiatives and ensure an effective division of labour with Member States and Regional Economic Communities
  • Ensure effective collaboration in programme development with the AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD);
  • Collaborate with other members of the senior leadership team to ensure strategic coherence and overall synergy in the implementation of the Commission’s programme and the delivery of high impact results for the continent;
  • Cultivate a knowledge management culture through promotion of research and publications that will ensure knowledge sharing and transfer within the department and with other departments across the Commission; and
  • Supervise Directors and inspire high performance and delivery across the portfolio;

Specific Responsibilities

  • Lead advocacy efforts for development of common policy principles across health-related sectors to encourage investments in healthcare by Member States;
  • Drive the establishment of continental accountability mechanisms to track the implementation of continental commitments and carry out ongoing advocacy at political levels on strategic health issues jointly affecting AU Member States;
  • Lead the facilitation of Africa-wide consensus on the key strategic actions within the context of the AU Catalytic Framework to Eliminate AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030 to intensify the implementation of the 2013 Abuja Declaration commitments to end AIDS, TB and Malaria as public health threats;
  • Drive the continental response and preparedness to emerging health threats and pandemics including medical and pharmaceutical research and development Engage with Member States on the Articles of the AU Protocol on Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by all persons with disabilities and to ensure respect for their inherent dignity;
  • Lead the adoption of necessary measures by Member States to achieve the provisions of the African Charter on the Welfare of the Child to facilitate the recognition of the rights, freedoms and duties of children as enshrined in the Charter;
  • Champion the establishment of networks of AU Member States to leverage on synergy in the fight and control of drug abuse and prevention of crime;
  • Drive the establishment and expansion of migration centres across AU Member States to foster the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration through data-based decision-making on matters concerning migrants;
  • Lead the development of policies on diaspora matters to leverage on Africans living in the diaspora to transfer knowledge and technical know-how to Member States and reduce costs of diaspora remittances to Africa in collaboration with African central banks;
  • Promote sports and physical education amongst Member States by working closely with Member States and partners to advocate for establishment of relevant policies and programmes;
  • Lead the engagements with Member States in identifying emerging social issues such as cyber-security and online sexual exploitation of women and children to facilitate formulation and adoption of policy frameworks and programmes to address such emerging issues;
  • Foster the cultural heritage of the African people by promoting repatriation of African artefacts and establishment of African museums to store and maintain African cultural wealth; and
  • Lead advocacy efforts for resolution of labour matters such as alignment of African education with the job market, labour development and creation of new jobs by AU member States in collaboration with the Education, Science and Technology department, the International Labour Organisation and other relevant partners.

Key Relationships
Internal Relationships:

  • Executive Council of the African Union
  • Permanent Representatives Committee
  • Other AU organs
  • Specialised Technical Committees
  • Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat
  • Chairperson
  • Deputy Chairperson
  • Director General
  • Other Commissioners
  • Support Service Directorates

External Relationships:

  • AU Member States
  • Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
  • International development partners
  • UN agencies and African Development Bank
  • UN Security Organs;
  • African private sector
  • Civil Society Organisations
  • Research Institutions and Policy Think Tanks

Academic Requirements

  • Master’s degree in Medical or Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Development Studies, or closely related field from a recognized institution.
  • A PhD in Health Sciences, Public Health, Social Sciences, Development Studies, or closely related field from a recognized institution is an added advantage

Relevant Experience:

  • Have not less than eighteen (18) years of relevant professional experience with at least ten (10) years served in a senior leadership role preferably in an intergovernmental organisation or national government/public service, international or regional institution Language(s)
  • Proficiency in one of the AU working languages. Fluency in another AU working language is an added advantage

Required Skills:

  • Demonstrated leadership experience with strategic vision and proven skills in managing complex organizations at the national, regional or international level;
  • Demonstrated record of setting clear standards for accountability, probity, value for money and risk management and zero tolerance to fraud and corruption; for ensuring sound and transparent financial management; and delivering continuous improvement, impact, efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Demonstrated intellectual leadership, creativity and proven ability to propose new ideas and lead on new ways of working across silos in a complementary and synergistic way for a prosperous and peaceful Africa;
  • Proven track record of change management and accomplishments at the regional, national or international level with strong resource mobilization, political and diplomatic skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work harmoniously in a multi-cultural team and establish harmonious and effective working relationships both within and outside the organization;
  • Proven ability to inspire, encourage, build trust and confidence and build consensus, stimulate effective campaigns and drive collective action among a broad spectrum of people and organizations.

Leadership Competencies:

  • Strategic Focus: - Determines and outlines the portfolio’s strategic priorities and connects the portfolio’s purpose to that of the broader organization vision and values. Inspires others and the organisation to achieve beyond expectations. Proactively identifies and prioritizes the key issues involved to facilitate executive decision-making and makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data is limited, or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.
  • Developing Organizational Capability: - Promotes and catalyzes organizational learning and development to ensure that the portfolio is well positioned to meet future leadership needs and mentors others to enhance their development.
  • Change Leadership: - Acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action and identifies change opportunities and champion organizational change initiatives – consistently looks for ways to improve the portfolio or organization. Understands multiple cultural frameworks, values, and norms.
  • Demonstrates an ability to adapt style when faced with myriad dimensions of culture in order to be effective across cultural contexts. Able to resolve conflicts arising to competing objectives, limited resources, or differing perspectives and seeks amicable solutions.
  • Strategic Risk Management: - Manage the organisation’s and portfolio’s reputation by making risk-intelligent decisions and using sound judgement in highly complex situations based on an assessment of the risks and benefits, impacts.

Core Competencies:

  • Building Partnerships: - Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals to foster organizational goals through proactive engagement with key stakeholders. Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.
  • Drives Accountability Culture: - Determines objectives, sets priorities and develops longer-term goals and proactively influences how resources, services, etc. are re-organized to achieve goals and offering recommendations on issues of accountability for improvement. Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results.
  • Learning Agility and Resilience: - Engages in systematic and development activities aligned with the strategic needs of the organisation. Promotes ongoing learning and development across the organization, develops personal and professional goals and makes insightful career planning decisions to achieve (or alter) these goals. Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
  • Communicating with impact: - Projects authority, credibility and influences external executive decision makers to achieve substantive goals. Uses personal rather than positional power to influence and motivate others to achieve results and presents the key points of an argument persuasively. Negotiates and facilitates through cultural differences, conflicts, tensions, or misunderstandings.

Functional Competencies:

  • Conceptual Thinking: - Creates new concepts that are not obvious to others to think through issues and/or resolve problems.
  • Job Knowledge Sharing: - Fosters and enables a knowledge and information-rich culture through engaging with thought leaders within and outside the organization.
  • Drive for Results: Drives high performance standards from goal creation to continuous improvement. Commits significant resources and/or time (in the face of uncertainty) to improve performance, reach a challenging goal and implements innovative solutions.
  • Fosters Innovation: Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting-edge programs/processes for the overall performance of the organization and the portfolio.

Application Closing Date
17hrs (5pm) Addis Ababa time, 4th September, 2020.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click Here to Start Application

Click Here for More Information (PDF)

Click Here to Get Senior Leadership Position Curriculum Vitae (CV) Template

To submit your application:

  • Create an account via the link above (Click here to see instructional video)
  • Fill out your personal information and the application form


  • The requirements and responsibilities contained in this job description do not create a contract of employment and are not meant to be all-inclusive. It may be changed by the role manager during employment on an as-needed basis.
  • The Regional nominations shall be received by the commission (Office of the Legal Council) hand-delivered in a sealed envelope on or before 17hrs (5pm) Addis Ababa time of 4th September 2020.
  • Please use this link to get Senior Leadership Position Curriculum Vitae (CV) Template:


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