Job Description: AMDA CEO
Challenge and market opportunity: The lack of access to electricity in Africa is a pressing issue, affecting over 760 million people, the majority of whom live in rural areas. This issue stifles economic development and negatively impacts quality of life and business opportunity. Investing in renewable energy, particularly solar mini grids, is crucial for improving access to electricity, driving economic development and improving the quality of life for people and businesses in Africa.
What are solar mini grids: Solar mini grids are village-sized utilities providing electricity to remote or under-served areas that are not connected to the traditional power grid. Increasingly, mini grids are also deployed as systems that can connect to the main power grid to work in parallel, allowing for a reliable source of electricity for customers, even when the main grid is down, or the local power source is not available. According to the World Bank ESMAP, 291,000 communities have the characteristics for solar mini grids as a least cost solution for electrification.
What is AMDA: The Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA) is an industry association of companies and organizations in the solar energy industry that jointly promote the development and growth of solar mini grids. AMDA has 41 member companies operating in 17 countries in Africa. The companies have a combined portfolio of 600 mini grids in operation providing electricity services to about 150,000 customers, impacting the lives of 750,000 people. The industry is on a growth trajectory to provide electricity services to 2 million customers, impacting 10 million people, and to have an asset base of $1 billion by 2025/2026.
AMDA’s objective and activities: The purpose of the association is to advance the use of solar mini grids as a reliable and sustainable source of electricity by advocating for policies, regulations and financing that support the growth of the industry. The association aims to promote the use of solar mini grids as a means of providing access to electricity in rural and remote areas as well as in undergrid areas where needed and to increase the awareness of the benefits of these systems among policymakers, regulators, investors, and the general public. Activities of the association include advocating for favorable policies, regulations and financing, conducting research and development, developing and disseminating sector intelligence, designing mini grid programs, providing education, training and mentoring, and organizing networking events and trade shows.
Membership in the association is open to companies and organizations that are involved in the development, manufacture, installation, or operation of solar mini grid systems in Africa. This includes manufacturers of solar panels, inverters, and other components, as well as companies that provide engineering, construction, and maintenance services. An estimated 200 companies and organizations have the profile for becoming a member of AMDA. Benefits of membership in the association include visibility and brand awareness, access to industry information and best practices, opportunities to network with other industry professionals, and potential discounts on products and services. Additionally, members can participate in the development of industry standards, and have access to research and development opportunities that can improve the performance of their technology.
AMDA’s operational structure: Financing for the association comes from membership dues, sponsorships, donors and foundations. The association communicates with its members and the public through newsletters, websites, and social media. The association is governed by a board of directors consisting of seven AMDA members, elected by the rest of the members. The board sets the strategic direction of the association and approves the budget and activities. The association is also divided into various committees, such as technical, policy, and communication committees, which focus on specific areas of interest. AMDA has a core team of 11 professionals based in Nairobi, Kenya as well as national coordinators in 5 countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia). Key partners are Shell Foundation, World Bank ESMAP, Power Africa and GEAPP.
AMDA’s next phase: AMDA is designing the framework for the next phase of the sector under a Mini Grid 2.0 strategy, which will continue to strengthen the efforts supporting its member companies and also start to coordinate between them and investors, donors, and regulators in the mini grid ecosystem. There will be a special emphasis on supporting its developer members on (i) exponential growth, (ii) capitalization of the companies, (iii) continued high quality of service delivery and (iv) capacity building and mentoring within the developer community. For this new phase, AMDA is developing an updated vision, strategy and roadmap to guide these efforts (together with partner organizations such as GEAPP, the World Bank, the AfDB, member companies and others) and ensure a long-term financing strategy and organizational sustainability.
The mini grid industry association is at an important transition point in its development. The organization is in search of a new CEO to guide the association into its next phase of growth. The new CEO will play a critical role in finalizing the organization’s strategy, strengthening and building the team, and driving AMDA and its member companies towards the overall objective of achieving a $1 billion asset valuation and impacting 10 million people through clean and reliable energy connections by 2026.
AMDA and the mini grid sector are growing and evolving quickly with changing market dynamics. To continue this success and expand the scale and effectiveness of AMDA, we are seeking a dynamic and visionary Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization and guide the direction of the sector. Overall objectives over the next five years are that the mini grid sector increases the number of mini grids deployed, to increase the number of connections from 150,000 to 2 million, impacting 10 million people, with an intermediate goal to achieve a $1billion asset valuation by 2026. The ideal candidate for the CEO role will be a seasoned leader with a proven track-record of growing a product, business, value-chain and/or industry in Africa and who can bring together key stakeholders and steer the industry through this period of growth, leveraging the increasing interest, investments, and opportunities to drive sustainable growth.
● Results and growth driven: The new CEO will have a successful history of driving significant and rapid growth in sales and revenue in Africa, ideally within the energy, electricity, or relevant sectors demonstrating experience in standardization and replication of projects at scale. This would be measured on an annual basis: tens of millions of dollars in new asset addition and/or hundreds of thousands in new customer acquisitions and/or millions of dollars in new revenue generated.
● Visionary, strategic mindset and leadership qualifications towards delivery: You are a high-energy, passionate, strategic leader with the ability to see the big picture, create and implement a vision with a highly motivated team. You are also able to inspire and unify disparate companies/institutions around overarching objectives and guide them towards a common goal. You can grow and lead a team that is as passionate about expanding the mini grid sector as you are. You are the kind of person that takes satisfaction in helping others, including member companies, achieve their goals; ultimately every sustainable mini grid connection will be your success.
● Commercial experience, technological innovation and infrastructure understanding: You have lived through growing a business/industry/association under commercial pressures and ideally understand the business models of mini grid companies, understand the challenges to scale, and can find ways to reduce those barriers and steer the industry for growth. You also have a clear understanding of the supply and-demand dynamics to reach impact on the ground on a commercial basis. You understand the dynamics of providing a public good and can help attract subsidies for the sector to improve the commercial viability of the projects and to help reduce the cost of electricity for the customer. You have worked with innovative technological solutions to improve efficiency and quality of service delivery both within the organization as well as external. Experience in the electricity sector is valuable, but private sector experience in similar, regulated infrastructure sectors would also be relevant.
● Advocacy, diplomacy, networking and partnering: You have a strong emotional intelligence, are collaborative and can build on a strong network of partner organizations. You will understand who the decision makers are in the industry and have a way of getting them into a room to develop joint solutions. You will be engaged in significant public speaking, external communications and stakeholder engagement on behalf of developers and the sector more broadly. You can clearly and concisely articulate the issues, successes, and opportunities within the sector. You are diplomatic and a skilled facilitator and can bring together groups of people with differing, sometimes conflicting agendas and lead them through a consensus building process that supports the needs of the private sector and developers to execute. Ideally you have partnered with governments, donors, and investors; you understand their needs and can find ways to align their interests with the private sector’s needs.
WHAT YOU WILL ACHIEVE
The new CEO will bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the association – building on existing practices – which will lead to improved performance and growth of AMDA and the overall sector. Your primary role will be to build a compelling value proposition for AMDA members, increasing AMDA membership and facilitating the combined strength of the private sector to jointly move the sector forward by accomplishing the following:
● Drive the Mini Grid 2.0 vision, strategy, and roadmap – Create and execute AMDA’s global vision and strategy and inspire your team and the sector to move towards action and progress. You will work in close collaboration with the Board of Directors. A core element in the strategy is the value proposition for the members of the association.
● Build a communication strategy and thought leadership – Build a strong communication strategy to both educate the mini grid community and provide a common voice for the sector. Communicating that voice to relevant stakeholders is key to unlocking sector barriers and bringing together fragmented working groups to allow the sector to scale faster.
● Expand and strengthen partnerships – No single organization can execute the Mini Grid 2.0 strategy alone; it takes a village. You will build and maintain strong and mutually beneficial local and global partnerships, which result in tangible outcomes as defined in the organization’s strategy.
● Provide sector leadership – Ensure that key decision makers (i.e., financiers, donors, governments, planners and regulators) understand the potential for mini grids to fulfill the electrification potential across Africa. You will:
○ Co-develop and promote the Mini Grid 2.0 vision, strategy and roadmap, including the creation and facilitation of a related leadership group.
○ Drive KPIs for the industry, in particular LCOE as the industry standard to measure the cost of electricity.
○ Instigate and support initiatives as well as implement programs to accelerate exponential growth of mini grid deployment across the continent.
○ In this capital-intensive power sector, ensure the sector has access to the appropriate forms of capital in a timely manner. The right blend and the right quantity of capital is crucial to sector success.
Your role in growing and strengthening AMDA as an organization will specifically include the following:
● Develop and execute AMDA’s five-year funding strategy – Develop the medium-term and sustainable funding strategy that provides resilience within AMDA and reduces the management teams focus on continual fund-raising, providing bandwidth for execution of the Mini Grid 2.0 strategy. This includes raising funds and managing relationships with AMDA funders, as well as expanding AMDA memberships and associated revenues. Increasing AMDA member revenue is a direct measurement of AMDA’s value proposition to its members.
● Build a strong team – Directly manage a motivated and passionate team in a multi-stakeholder environment across multiple geographies, providing leadership and direction to the organization. Ensure AMDA’s strategy and mission is clear to all members of the team and that everyone is jointly working towards the common goal of adding value to AMDA members and scaling the sector.
● Expand AMDA’s reach: Develop thought leadership to bolster AMDA’s presence and influence across the African energy, business and finance sectors.
WHAT YOU ALREADY POSSESS
● Proven senior leadership ability to:
○ Grow a business and its associated impacts at scale in Africa,
○ Design and implement a vision for an organization together with the board of directors, team members and key stakeholders,
○ Build and grow an excellent team to execute on the vision/strategy as well as provide on a continuous basis high quality service to internal as well as external clients, and
○ Grow and/or turn-around companies.
● 10+ years relevant work experience in leadership roles with a focus on renewable energy markets or relevant infrastructure sectors.
● Experience with and track record of fundraising or investing.
● Business & people management experience and understanding of renewable infrastructure, climate, SDG 7, and sustainability.
● Strong network with financiers and relevant public and private stakeholders across Africa
● Experience building, leading, mentoring and developing high-performing teams across geographies and cultures.
● Experience working with senior decision makers and managing a board of directors.
● University degree (Master’s level or above is a plus) in a business, energy, or sustainability-related field.
● Excellent prioritization and time management skills.
● Practical experience in change management and sustainability strategy development.
● Fully comfortable operating in a fast-paced high-growth international environment.
● Experience managing and growing a portfolio of companies.
● Experience with and affinity for climate finance.
● Experience with negotiations with African governments, regulators and financiers.
● French and English speaking and experience working in multiple countries.
WHY WORK WITH US
● AMDA is a unique organization that blends traditional association work with meaningful impact in Africa; qualitative and quantitative market and industry research; thought leadership in accelerating deployment of mini grids; policy and regulatory support where requested as well as global advocacy.
● AMDA is influencing decision making across the continent and working with large corporations, financiers, donors, government, regulators and researchers to ensure that we are building the energy system of the future.
● AMDA is working with 41 companies led by driven entrepreneurs who are keen to combine healthy commercial growth together with lasting impact on the African continent. AMDA has built a trust relationship with all of these companies’ leadership and the new CEO has a unique opportunity to continue the dialogue towards growth.
● AMDA is a fast-paced environment where constant change is the norm and individual initiative-taking is encouraged. You will have autonomy to implement your creative solutions – not just coming up with ideas, but the mandate to implement them as well.
● You will lead an organization that is sitting at the forefront of positive change, for Africa and our planet. You will truly make a difference.
This is a full-time CEO role. A competitive remuneration package is offered. Please send an application (CV and cover letter) to firstname.lastname@example.org