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World Bank Group

World Bank Group


Position: Education Specialist/Economist - Senior
Job Time: Full-Time
Job Type: Permanent
Place of Work: Addis Ababa, Addis Abeba - Ethiopia
Posted date: 1 year ago
Deadline: Submition date is over

The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit

Eastern and Southern Africa (E AFR) Region

We need the best and brightest talent focused on our region in order to harness the potential and innovation happening across the continent. 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. 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, impacts heavily on the lives and livelihoods of people, 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.  

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 build back better after COVID!  

Eastern and Southern Africa (E AFR) Region: 

The Human Development (HD) Practice Group (PG)

Human development is at the core of the World Bank’s strategy to improve people’s lives and support sustainable development. The Human Development research program spans education, health, social protection, and labor. Additionally, the HD PG houses the gender group.

Education Global Practice

Education is a human right, a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. It delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income and is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. For more information:

Education is central to achieving the WBG’s twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty through large and consistent returns to income for individuals and as a driver for economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all and learning for life”- that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. In the past two decades, the developing world has made great advances in education, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Despite these successes in expanding access to education, critical challenges remain: removing persistent educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile and conflict-affected states, and improving the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. In recent years, the WBG, and the broader education development community, have shifted their focus to include learning outcomes. Traditional input-driven programs have shown that they do not always lead to improved learning outcomes so the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive ‘systems approach’ to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. It also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are. These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work, collection of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their progress in the education sector.

The Education Global Practice is led by a Global Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice, together with Regional Directors who oversee the human development program in the regions working with ten Practice Managers.

Education and the Africa Region

The WBG serves 48 client countries in the Africa Region (AFR). Clients range from low-income countries, among them several fragile and conflict-affected 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 population living in poverty. The Bank's strategy in AFR is focused on two pillars - competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience –and prioritizes cross-cutting approaches founded in governance and public sector capacity.

In AFR, many countries have achieved considerable progress in access to basic education. But challenges persist, namely: improving the quality and relevance of education at all levels; expanding access to early childhood development (ECD) and post-basic education; developing emphasis on science, technology and innovation; and improving skills development. Efforts are needed in each of these areas to produce a quality workforce to sustain, innovate, and expand on the current economic growth in the region.

The Education GP team in the region works with client countries – at the regional, sub-regional, national, and sub-national levels – to address their unique and shared challenges. We do this by addressing low quality at all levels of education, increasing the efficiency and accountability of education services, modernizing the higher end of the formal education continuum, integrating science and technology more effectively, and aligning skills formation with the needs of a fast-growing Region, including LICs. The GP aims to not only deliver high-quality products but also to 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 places a high priority on knowledge generation, including through rigorous impact evaluations of education interventions.

The Education GP is comprised of four Practice Management Units in AFR.  

Many of our operations and analytical products are based on approaches that: (i) assist countries in developing and implementing strategies for ensuring quality teaching and learning at all levels of education (ECD, basic education, secondary education and tertiary education), and in addressing the issues that face these countries' disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; (ii) ensure that education systems respond to the needs of labor markets; (iii) continue to stress the focus on results; (iv) build capacity for monitoring and evaluation of reforms, and foster knowledge sharing; (v) promote innovative strategies, cross-sectoral linkages, and partnerships with the private sector and other development partners whenever relevant; (vi) develop and scale up successful strategies for regional collaboration to leverage economies of scale; and (vii) aim to strengthen governance, accountability, and transparency in the education sector.

The Education Sector Unit for Eastern and Southern Africa (HAEE1) is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in the sub-region. The unit currently has a portfolio of regional and country projects and programs, analytical and technical assistance activities financed through IDA grants and credits, Trust Funds and Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) and using investment and results-based financing. The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood education to higher education and research. The unit is committed to delivering high-quality technical products to support education development in the Bank’s client countries and to do so in a manner that builds capacity through collaborative interactions with country counterparts.

The Unit’s core goals are to

(i) Expand coverage of early childhood development in a cost-effective manner

(ii) ensure universal completion of quality primary/basic education

(iii) improve learning outcomes, particularly in reading, mathematics and science and

(iv) expand access to and quality of secondary, technical, vocational, and higher education, with a focus on applied sciences, engineering and technology and strengthening the links between post-basic education systems and labor markets.

The unit is also developing innovative approaches to education, including the use of digital technologies to expand access and improve quality and results-based modalities for Bank projects. It tries to achieve these goals through education sector interventions (financial and analytical) and through interventions in other sectors that influence educational outcomes, as well as through partnership activities with a variety of partners.

Education plays a central role in the efforts by the Government of Ethiopia to transform its economy, reduce poverty and create jobs. Starting from one of the lowest levels of education coverage in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia has rapidly moved to expand access to primary education as well as to other levels. It is also placing great emphasis on improving the quality of education and developing technical-scientific capability. The country seeks to learn from international good practices, including from the countries of Asia and Latin America and is also striving to adapt these practices within the Ethiopian context. However, learning levels and retention remain low at the primary level and affect the quality of education at higher levels. There are problems of efficiency and accountability in the sector.

The Bank’s work in the education sector in Ethiopia, with a demanding client, is multi-dimensional. The education GP manages a large project, financed by IDA, GPE and a multi-donor Trust Fund, focused on improving quality in basic and secondary education. The education team works closely with the SP team and other GPs. With a rapidly urbanizing population and the drive to develop manufacturing, thinking of new collaborative approaches with non-HD practices is also critical. There is a significant program of analytical/ TA work, including PERs, and assessments of particular sub-sectors such as higher education, skills and early childhood education.

At the post-basic level, Ethiopia is participating in two flagship regional projects – the Africa Centers of Excellence project, as well as the East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration project. Ethiopia’s efforts to integrate into the regional economy and to transform its economy to develop manufacturing and services require building up a skilled base. However, the higher education and skills sub-sectors suffer from inefficiency and poor quality. The creation of a new Ministry of Higher Education, which covers universities as well as TVET, provides an opportunity for better leadership and management of the sub-sector, as well as to engage in new models of delivery, including the use of technology. Ethiopia has started innovating in Bank operations with the use of disbursement-linked indicators in the regional projects, and Program for Results in general education.

The unit is seeking a seasoned Senior Education Specialist/Economist to work in the Ethiopia country office to co-lead the education policy dialogue along with a team of education specialists/economists. S/he will also co-supervise the education portfolio. The expected candidate is expected to help develop the IDA pipeline and contribute to/ lead other tasks in the Country Management Unit. The selected candidate will lead the implementation of the Human Capital Project which is a multi-sectoral IDA-financed project that will be approved in mid-June 2023, in addition to co-lead, and contributing to other projects.

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

The advertised position is an International recruited position based in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

Duties and Accountabilities

  • The selected candidate will lead and contribute to policy dialogue, projects, programs, and analytical and advisory services. S/he will work with the government, civil society, and development partners as well as internally with the Country Management Unit and other Global Practices teams. 
  • As the portfolio is large, the selected candidate will need to work with and provide guidance to team members/task team leaders based in Washington DC, as well as in the field. 

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Technical Advice on key issues in the sector and strategic directions for the country’s education development: Bring relevant international experience and research to assist in developing local solutions, on issues such as strategies to improve teacher quality, early childhood development, basic education, secondary education/ TVET, quality improvement and financing of higher education, use of ICT in education
  • Policy Dialogue and Building Client Capacity: Conduct sectoral policy dialogue with clients at the highest levels, on a range of complex issues at different levels of education. Identify and nurture opportunities for participating in the broader policy dialogue in the country especially in so far as they impact education or where the education sector can make a contribution. Build client capacity to use findings of policy research/ analytical work for developing new policies
  • Operations: Design and supervise operations, both as a leader and as a member of the team, in the education sector or multi-sectoral operations, including the full range of Bank instruments. Provide implementation support for the ongoing portfolio. Provide timely advice and support to clients in implementing projects and help to build the capacity of the Ministry of Education to implement its program. 
  • Analytical work and Non-Lending Services: Design and lead in the preparation of “cutting edge” technical products that respond to critical policy questions identified by the client and which have an impact on policy and operational design. Produce “just in time” notes of high quality as well as lead longer analytical reports. Work on cross-sectoral teams to contribute to products such as public expenditure reviews and implementation of decentralization. Contribute to the country's diagnostics and other core analytic work. Contribute to the unit’s analytical work by generating “think pieces” and synthesis papers. 
  • Leadership: Work closely with the Practice Manager and education team and the CMU to identify new business, including innovative financial products, technical advisory services and other services, as required. 
  • Partnership: Work constructively with partners, including bilateral and multi-lateral donors, UN agencies, NGOs and partners from the South. Contribute to alignment and coordination around country led priorities.

Selection Criteria

The ideal candidate will combine excellent technical capabilities, experience in analyzing policy options and recommending practical policy reforms, and a capacity to translate analytical findings into policy and into innovative Bank operations to help clients shift policies in new directions or to pilot new approaches. 


  • A Ph.D./Doctorate in Education/Economics or a Master’s Degree with a minimum of 8 years of experience is required. 
  • Demonstrated expert-level knowledge of and experience in addressing education issues. Deep technical knowledge and experience in one or more areas of education of relevance to the country is required plus demonstrated ability to identify, mobilize and supervise high quality international expertise to develop local solutions. 
  • Ability to conduct high level policy dialogue with sophisticated clients, including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders
  • Experience with preparation and supervision of Bank projects. Prior field experience in another low-income country would be a plus but is not essential.
  • Strong technical leadership with client orientation, as demonstrated by range of relevant analytical products produced in response to client needs.
  • Demonstrated combination of analytical rigor and practical/ solutions-oriented approaches.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and teamwork. Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively across within and across sector boundaries, inspire commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as a member of a multicultural team.
  • High levels of energy, initiative, and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements
  • Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to country and management requests, and set priorities for self and others
  • Prior field experience in another low-income country would be a plus but is not essential.


  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are essential; knowledge of Ethiopian languages is highly desirable.

Key Competencies:

  • Integrative Skills: Demonstrates strong integrative thinking and ability to support project teams in developing an integrated point of view around development challenges;
  • Policy Dialogue Skills: Possesses political judgment, diplomatic acumen, and negotiating skills; applies cross-country development knowledge to discussions with clients and development partners; anticipates needs and requests in the field and develops/offers relevant tools to clients; 
  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena: Understands policy making process and the role of own sector of expertise in that process; finds relevant information/data and examines similar policy questions in multiple regions;
  • Client Orientation: Takes personal responsibility and accountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs, working to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success;
  • Drive for Results: Takes personal ownership and accountability to meet deadlines and achieve agreed-upon results, and has the personal organization skills to do so;
  • Teamwork: Collaborates with other team members and contributes productively to the team’s work and output, demonstrating respect for different points of view;
  • Knowledge, Learning, and Communication: Actively seeks knowledge needed to complete assignments and shares knowledge with others, communicating and presenting information in a clear and organized manner; and
  • Education Sector Knowledge and Experience: Possesses strong analytical and technical skills, including an understanding of the core education data sets, indicators, tools for analysis of these data, and the use of evidence for education policy.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.