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Vacancy At The World Bank Group

Date Posted: 24/Oct/2013
Deadline: 05/Nov/2013

Lead Education Economist/ Specialist

Background / General description:

The Africa Region (AFR) of the World Bank Group serves 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries range from low income countries among them fragile and conflict states to a small but growing number of middle income countries (MICs) but with weak human development indicators. Average annual per capita income varies widely and inequalities persist in most AFR countries, with most of the Region's people living in poverty. The Bank's strategy in AFR is focused on two pillars - competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience - and a foundation - governance and public-sector capacity.

 

The Human Development Department in the Africa Region is comprised of three sectors: Health, Education and Social Protection.  The education sector is divided into two units: West and Central Africa; and East and Southern Africa.  The Africa Education Sector Unit for West and Central Africa (AFTEW) is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in the sub-region. The unit currently has a portfolio of IDA projects, Trust Funds, analytical work and technical assistance products in fragile, low and middle-income countries.  The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood education to higher education as well as skills development.  Many countries have achieved considerable progress in access to basic education but particular attention is now needed on issues of improving the quality and relevance of education at all levels, expanding access to post-basic education and training, and improving skills development so as to produce a quality workforce to sustain and expand on the current growth in the region in an inclusive manner.

AFTEW works with client countries – at the regional, sub-regional, national and sub-national levels – to address these challenges. The aim is to contribute to breaking the equilibrium of low-level quality at all levels of education, increasing the efficiency and accountability of education services, modernizing the higher end of the formal education continuum, more effectively integrating science and technology, and better aligning skills formation with the needs of fast-growing Region, including MICs. In doing this, AFTEW aims to not only deliver high quality products but also to support efforts towards inclusive growth, and build capacity in client countries through collaborative interactions with country counterparts and other development partners.  It seeks to bring the best possible knowledge to bear on the practical challenges facing client countries and at the same time puts a high priority on knowledge generation, including through benchmarking and rigorous impact evaluations of education interventions. The lending portfolio is increasingly using new instruments to shift emphasis from financing inputs to delivering results; and to support holistic and systemic reforms. Increasingly, the unit is witnessing demand for knowledge products and innovative AAA work (including through fee based services). Specifically, AFTEW (i) assists countries in developing and implementing strategies for ensuring quality teaching and learning at all levels of education (pre-school, basic education, secondary education, tertiary education and science & technology), and in addressing the issues that face these countries' disadvantaged population groups; (ii) ensures that education systems respond to the needs of labor markets; (iii) continues to stress the focus on results; builds capacity for monitoring and impact evaluation of reforms; fosters knowledge sharing; (iv) promotes innovative approaches, cross-sectoral linkages, and partnerships with the private sector and other development partners whenever relevant; (v) develops and scales up successful strategies for regional collaboration to leverage economies of scale; and (vi) works to strengthen governance, accountability, and transparency in the education sector.

 

Nigeria constitutes a major part of our work in education. With almost a quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, success in Nigeria is critical to achieving significant progress at the regional level. The education sector is the largest for any single country in Africa and is characterized by several challenges at all levels. These include: the challenges of managing access at all levels in view of a large and growing population, addressing the high numbers of out-of-school children, challenges in quality of education and learning outcomes, efficiency and sustainability of financing, regional and gender disparities, a complex sector governance system; and political economy issues in  implementing reforms. The Bank currently has a large portfolio in the country and increasingly, the need for a multi-sectoral approach is becoming eminent.

In the light of the above, AFTEW is seeking Lead Education Economist/Specialist candidates to be based in Abuja, Nigeria with: (a) experience in policy technical dialogue, including with MIC clients; (b) have strong analytical skills; and (c) are interested in the practical aspects of World Bank operations. The successful candidate will work primarily on Nigeria but may be asked to support work in other countries in West and Central Africa. He/she may also be to work in Eastern and Southern Africa, depending on business need.  He/she will be expected to work closely with the AFTEW Sector Manager, Country Management Unit (CMU), the AFR education team, colleagues from other sectors and our clients to develop in leading our education assistance program in the country; and to weave the education agenda into the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS).  He/she will also work constructively with other partners, including bilateral donors, UN agencies, the European Union, and NGOs.  

The strategic framework set out by the new Africa Strategy and the Bank’s Education Strategy 2020 has a number of implications for the Unit’s work program and skills mix.  Policy dialogue and operational work will become more strategically oriented, programmatic and results-oriented; both to support inclusive growth and competitiveness in high capacity countries and to address vulnerability and resilience in fragile and conflict states.  In particular, this will include emphasis on sector-wide approaches and partnerships, as well as programmatic approaches. The aim will be to deliver sustainable and comprehensive development solutions. This, in turn, implies strategic consolidation into larger programs and working multisectorally.  In all contexts, scaling up support to achieve the education MDGs will be accompanied by increased focus on improving quality of learning with appropriate tools for measurement of performance and results.  Demand for support in post-basic education, particularly skills development and higher education, has witnessed a significant growth in recent years and is likely to continue to be a major part of our program.  The Unit’s work will also reflect a better understanding of governance and the political economy of the sector in general, as well as support to countries towards more effective utilization of their own public resources which constitute the bulk of resources invested in the sector.  Although public sector capacity remains crucial, policy and operations work will reflect growing understanding of, and engagement with the private sector, other development partners and non-governmental organizations, as well as the essential role of households on individuals themselves.

 

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3 year term appointment.

 

Duties and Accountabilities:

Operations:

 

Lead and/or participate in teams and missions to develop, appraise and supervise Bank-supported human development and education sector operations. This will require a wide variety of skills, including technical analysis; design of project components and technical assistance activities; monitoring and impact evaluation studies and sector-related project documentation; interaction with clients at policy level; supervision of consultants; and lead role in the development of proposals and loan negotiations.

 

Contribute effectively to policy dialogue with counterparts with a view to assisting government translate broad policy objectives into concrete development proposals. 

 

Provide technical contributions to or selectively lead “cutting edge” knowledge 

 

Participate in multi-sector lending and non-lending tasks (Health, Nutrition, Social Protection, Poverty Reduction, Sustainable Development, Private Sector Development and Economic Management).

 

Contribute to the development of new ideas to enrich the ongoing partnership with the country.

 

Non-Lending Services: 

 

Strengthen the AAA work on education and skills in the country to help in forging a strategic framework for development of the sector.

 

Contribute to/generate “think pieces” and “good practice” papers and policy notes. 

 

Lead and produce major (flagship) reports as may be requested by the government. 

 

In collaboration with other sectors, play a key role in improving public expenditure analysis and monitoring and evaluation of sectoral activities.

 

Partnerships: Participate in partnership activities and contribute to forging new ones

 

Mentor other staff in the Unit and provide technical support to their work as may be required.

 

Selection Criteria:

                Advanced degree (Master's or PhD) and demonstrated ability to translate analytical/technical skills into operational innovations and results.

•             Sustained record of achieving high-quality substantive results over an extended period (typically at least 10 years) preferably in the education sector with experience in addressing complex issues in a holistic manner, and in designing, organizing and helping implement programs. Experience in differentiated education systems (e.g. centralized, decentralized) is an advantage.

•             Experience in reform of education systems (particularly secondary & higher education), skills development, science education, education financing and public expenditure analysis. In addition, knowledge of recent developments in the sector such as ICTs, online learning and early childhood development will be an advantage.

•             Experience in working multisectorally, particularly with respect to (but not limited to), public finance and education, governance and accountability, skills development and job creation and poverty reduction.

•             Demonstrated skills in analytical tools required for economic, social and institutional research.

•             Proven ability to interact effectively with clients, including ability to assist clients at all levels in their analysis, policy formulation, and education planning with a focus on results.

•             Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with both Bank staff and client country counterparts, and ability to liaise tactfully as a member of a multicultural team.

•             Demonstrated ability to lead multidisciplinary teams and competence to coach and mentor junior staff.

•             Excellent presentational and writing skills are essential.

                Competencies

General Economic Knowledge and Analytical Skills: Has broad knowledge of the main issues of economic development, gained through wide seasoning in the profession (either through extensive academic work, relevant public or private sector employment, or by providing technical advice to clients). Has a track record of intellectual leadership and ability to integrate economic-specific knowledge and specific micro/sector fields of expertise. Uses familiarity with prior work/reports to provide quality assurance and assess technical soundness of work/reports. Recognized as economic expert in specific field as evidenced either through (if research) a solid record of publications in peer reviewed journals, or (if operations) through a track record of managing and delivering high quality economic reports, lending operations, or equivalent assignments.

Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena: Has in-depth understanding of Bank objectives and practices and is capable of advising management and staff on strategy and long-range interventions on policy and related operational issues in an area important to Bank work. Influences the design and execution of major policy and/or research initiatives; conceives, develops and promotes innovations in Bank development policies, project design, organization and management to improve Bank operational and sector work. Is able to effectively engage in strategic aspects of country work, and has prior substantive and sustained work in more than one world region (including pre-Bank experience and/or corporate assignment in the Bank).

Policy Dialogue Skills: Is able to translate broad policy objectives into concrete development proposals. Has a track record of conducting effective policy dialogue with country counterparts. Facilitates and organizes intra and inter- sectoral teams, international experts to debate and exchange ideas on key issues. Has ability to communicate and defend orally and in writing difficult issues and positions (including in a hostile environment, as necessary) to senior bank management and government officials. Actively promotes dialogue with relevant counterparts, the donor community, the private sector, government officials, as well as with civil society.

Integrative Skills: Has in depth understanding of Bank services in all areas of work in the network, and proven fungibility. Has strong understanding of other Bank knowledge areas. Combines this understanding and superior technical skills to make substantial contributions across sectors.

Technical and Quantitative Skills as an Applied Development Microeconomist (HD): Participates in high level human development-related policy discussions at the ministerial or presidential level. Integrates analytical work with operations, taking in to account political economy considerations and policy strategy issues. Creates, implements and leads country, regional or global knowledge initiatives that involve learning, capacity building, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing in the areas mentioned above.

Client Orientation: Builds linkages across boundaries for optimal performance. Acts as a trusted advisor resolving client issues within and across units. Influences key stakeholders and gains approval and commitment on issues that affect the work of others in own Region/Network or VPU corporate unit. Moves ideas in meeting client needs from conceptualization to proposed actions. Translates insight into practice across disciplines, hierarchies, geographies and organizational units in service of clients.

Drive for Results: Facilitates and impacts results across units. Ensures successful implementation and delivery of key Regional/Network or Corporate Unit programs and projects with multiple resources. Sets, reviews and evaluates client deliverables against clear standards and expectations arrived at in collaboration with appropriate stakeholders. Delivers products that impact results to a broad spectrum of groups and that align with the Network/Region or VPU/Corporate unit results agenda. Demonstrates capacity to work within a complex environment but does not create complexity.

Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion: Leverages capabilities of others within and across boundaries. Invites an honest exchange of ideas with others regardless of organization level. Seeks to bring about collaboration between highly competing interest and stakeholders. Acknowledges the contributions of others within and across Networks, Regions, and Corporate units. Advises and coaches others on collaboration; nurtures and grows talent across departments and encourages others to reach their full potential. Creates a team climate of practical and innovative action.

Knowledge, Learning and Communication: Produces and disseminates knowledge products to create added value. Produces knowledge products and tools at the department level and across Regions and Networks. Ensures lessons learned are captured, documented and shared broadly with internal and external stakeholders in a variety of ways including face to face meetings, thematic groups, global expert teams, social media and knowledge sharing platforms and BBLs. Demonstrates a strong command of all forms of communication and delivers same in a consistently clear, objective and engaging manner in Network/Regional or VPU/Corporate Units wide settings. Partners with others WBG leaders to design innovative products, services, offerings that meet client's needs. Helps shape debates on global or regional issues, facilitating the Bank and its client to communicate openly and productively on critical Bank-wide issues. Enhances Region and Network client capability through effective and timely knowledge transfer. Composes technical/management reports that impact results to a broad spectrum of groups. Facilitates/leads discussions by ensuring the audience stays focused while engaged in a productive exchange of ideas; brings discussions to appropriate closure at the Network/Regional or VPU/Corporate Unit level.

Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making: Provides leadership in analytical decision making across boundaries. Acts as a trusted advisor to others on their decisions, ensuring alignment with other units and optimal impact on the organization as a whole. Considers and prepares contingency plans for challenging situations where leadership across multiple stakeholders is necessary. Mentors and provides counsel to staff on understanding and assessing risk, dealing with crises and solving problems.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Method of Application

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