Senior Operations Officer

Website World Bank Group

Home to about 700 million of Africa’s people, Eastern and Southern Africa is a geographically, culturally, and economically diverse region of 26 countries stretching from the Red Sea in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South. Children under 18 make up almost half of the total population. The subregion boasts of some of the world’s richest human and natural resources and apart from South Africa, the countries are predominantly raw material exporters. The subregion harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile, while significant gaps in education, health, and skills development continue to keep people from reaching their full potential. This creates a huge development challenge, heavily impacts people’s lives and livelihoods, and hinders regional integration and trade. But it also creates an opportunity to work closely with country leaders, civil society, development partners, and young people to chart a brighter course for the future.

The World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,260 staff, mostly based in 26 country offices, has been helping countries realize their considerable development potential by focusing on the following priorities- Creating Jobs and Transforming Economies, Building up the Digital Economy, Institutions more Efficient and Accountable, Investing in People, Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption, Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence, and Building Partnerships and Working across the African Continent: We are scaling up our work on regional integration, taking a holistic view of the continent that covers both North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Are you ready to make an impact? We are looking for dedicated professionals to join our innovative and diverse team to improve people’s lives and help countries.
Please visit Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE) Region

CMU CONTEXT

The Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, and Sudan team (AECET) provides a wide range of financial, knowledge, and convening services to help address our country’s most complex development issues. The CMU comprises a diversity of client countries and portfolios. The CMU manages two active country offices: in Addis Ababa (which serves Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan), and in Juba, with over 160 AFE regional mapped staff and hundreds of consultants. The management team comprises the Country Director, the Operations Manager, the Sudan Country Manager, and Program Leaders (all based in Addis Ababa), as well as a South Sudan Country Manager based in Juba and a Senior Country Officer in Washington, DC.

COUNTRY CONTEXT

Ethiopia

Home to an estimated 124 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa and one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with an estimated 6.4% growth rate in FY2021/22.  Ethiopia had previously enjoyed annual growth of nearly 10% per year over a 15-year period until 2019, driven by a state-led model involving large public investments in agriculture, enabling infrastructure, and manufacturing. Public investments averaged over 15% of GDP over that time and were financed by external debt and by domestic and diaspora savings. GDP growth slowed beginning in 2019 to around 6% per year due to multiple shocks, including COVID-19, a series of failed rains in the country’s lowlands, and conflict, particularly the severe fighting in the country’s North in 2020-2022.  With inflation running at over 30% for more than two years, a high risk of debt distress, limited reserves, and an overvalued local currency, Ethiopia faces significant macroeconomic challenges. The consistently high economic growth until 2019 resulted in overall positive poverty reduction trends in urban and rural areas. The share of the population living below the national poverty line decreased from 30% in 2011 to 24% in 2016, and human development indicators also improved. However, gains are modest when compared to other countries that saw fast growth, and inequality has increased in recent years.  The multiple shocks since 2019 have stalled progress on poverty reduction, negatively impacted human capital, and sharply increased food insecurity.  Over 20 million people are now estimated to need humanitarian assistance. The government has embarked on reforms to transition from a state-led model to a facilitating a more private-sector driven approach.   It launched a Home-Grown Economic Reform Agenda in 2019 and a HGER Agenda 2.0 in 2023-4, signalling that it will follow through with deep reforms to address macroeconomic distortions and drive growth.  The government has also formulated a 10-year Development Plan for 2029/30. The plan aims to foster efficiency and introduce competition in key growth-enabling sectors (including energy, logistics, and telecoms) and improve the business climate. The World Bank Group’s strategic focus is to assist Ethiopia in forging a more inclusive and sustainable growth path, supporting the objectives of the Home-Grown Economic Reform Agenda and the 10-Year Development Plan. The WBG’s wide-ranging engagement in Ethiopia’s reforms and development is underpinned by a national portfolio of 34 operations totaling US$14B in commitments together with 12 Ethiopia components of regional operations totaling US$2.6B in commitments. For more information, vist: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia

South Sudan 

South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011, following a negotiated, peaceful secession from the Sudan. The conflict outbreaks in December 2013 and July 2016 have undermined the development gains achieved since independence and worsened the humanitarian situation. The civil war is estimated to have led to nearly four hundred thousand excess deaths since 2013, and more than 4.3 million people have been displaced both internally and to neighboring countries. The latest UN updates suggest that about 6.1 million (more than half the population) are severely food insecure. After the signing of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution on Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), a new Transitional Government of National Unity was formed to oversee the country’s transition to a new and permanent system of government.  The Transitional Government is mandated to oversee, among other things, the completion of a new constitution, the formation of a unified armed forces, the promotion of public financial management reforms, and the organization of a national election. In light of numerous delays in the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, the signatories to the R-ARCSS opted in September 2021 to extend the end date of the transitional period to February 2025.  These signatories are now assessing and discussing the prerequisites for holding a free, fair, and credible national election in December 2024.  For information, visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/southsudan

Sudan,

The country experienced a major political transition in 2019, precipitated by a popular revolution that led to the dismissal of the previous regime of Omar Al-Bashir after 30 years in power. A transitional government (TGOS) was formed in August 2019, jointly comprised of military and civilian elements. The World Bank and the international community adopted a high-risk/high-reward approach as described in the FY21-22 Country Engagement Note (CEN), calling for the World Bank to “lean in” in recognition of the generational opportunity to contribute to stability and growth in the country. After three decades of isolation from the international community, in March 2021, Sudan was able to clear its arrears to IDA opening the door to full reengagement with the World Bank and reaching HIPC Decision Point in June 2021. Approximately $2 billion in grants were mobilized during IDA19, including $1.25 billion from the FCV Envelope Turnaround Allocation (TAA) and $50 million from the Crisis Response Window. However, escalating tensions between component parts of the government culminated in a military takeover in October 2021. A political deadlock prevailed between domestic stakeholders in the military and broader security apparatus, armed groups, political parties, and civil society until April 2023, when a failed political process saw an explosion of conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). For information, visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/sudan

Eritrea,

Eritrea’s recent growth performance has been marked by significant volatility in part due to its dependence on a predominantly rain-fed agriculture sector, accounting for about one-third of the economy (and which has a significant impact on distribution services, which account for around 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), and on a narrow mining sector which also accounts for 20% of the economy. For information, visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/eritrea

DUTIES AND ACCOUNTABILITIES:

The Senior Operations Officer will work in close collaboration with the Country Director (CD), Operations Manager (OM), Country Managers (CMs), Program Leaders (PLs), and other members of the CMU management and country teams on all aspects of the work program to ensure strategic focus, integration and consistency across and within the portfolio. More specifically (s)he will:
•Contribute to strong relationships and liaison at headquarters (HQ) vis-vis Executive Directors and support external outreach with other donors and civil society, as required.
•Coordinate AECET country work with AFE and senior management, the Global Practices (GPs), other Bank units, and internal partners such as IFC, MIGA, and IEG, as required.
•Work with the OM to analyze and monitor work programs, portfolio and operational performance, quality, and trends, and contribute to problem resolution with task teams.
•Make substantive contributions to country and sector strategies, lending, and non-lending work programs; play a key role in formulating and implementing the Country Partnership Frameworks and Regional Assistance Strategies; and assess sector and thematic issues in relationship with the broader country developments and Country Partnership Frameworks.
•Monitor and interpret political, social and economic developments; develop and maintain understanding of country socioeconomic and political conditions.
•Prepare briefing notes, assist in determining appropriate Bank responses, and draft and review operational correspondence.
•Take the lead or participate as a key team member in important strategic product activities, and contribute to or lead the preparation of management briefs and other major or complex internal reports.
•Serve as a liaison, coordination and integration point for the extended country teams; provide guidance and advice on country developments, operational priorities and strategies as needed; help foster teamwork and cross-sectoral cooperation on program preparation and implementation, and contribute to country team meetings and activities.
•Assist in country program management, including business planning and work program preparation, WPA budget allocation, monitoring of work program and budget implementation, quarterly reviews and progress reporting.

Selection Criteria

• Masters in a relevant field (Economics, Business Studies, Political Science, Finance, International Relations, or a similar field relevant to the Bank’s mission.)
• Minimum of 8 years of relevant experience with the World Bank or comparable institution. Thorough knowledge of Bank operational policies and business practices.
• Proven ability to think strategically and apply this to the design and implementation of country assistance programs.
• Extensive knowledge of WB instruments, policies, and procedures and ability to proactively apply them.
• Strong level of attention to detail and ability to manipulate and interpret portfolio data to identify areas for focus of further monitoring.
• Outstanding interpersonal skills with proven ability to work cooperatively with a multi-disciplinary country team, other groups throughout the Bank, and development partners.
• Demonstrated initiative, leadership skills, and drive for results, including the ability to undertake diverse tasks within a rapidly changing and demanding environment on short deadlines.
• Strong problem-solving skills and solutions-oriented attitude.
• Political sensitivity, mature judgment, and ability to focus on the big picture without losing sight of details.
• Highly developed spoken and written communication skills, including the ability to draft concise briefs, reports, and correspondence.
• English language proficiency (speak, read and write) is essential.

To apply for this job please visit worldbankgroup.csod.com.