Home » Senior Economist / Social Protection Specialist, Nairobi, Kenya

Senior Economist / Social Protection Specialist, Nairobi, Kenya

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Organization: The World Bank

Country: Kenyas

City: Nairobi

Office: World Bank in Nairobi, Kenya

Closing date: Monday, 4 October 2021

Senior Economist / Social Protection Specialist

Job #: req13204

Organization: World Bank

Sector: Social Protection

Grade: GG

Term Duration: 4 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: International Recruitment

Location: Nairobi,Kenya

Required Language(s): English


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? 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 www.worldbank.org.

Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE) Home to about half a billion 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 sub-region harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile, while significant gaps in education, health, and skills development continues 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.

The World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,207 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: We are working with countries across Africa to stimulate job creation and economic transformation by leveraging all sources of finance, expertise, and solutions to promote investment.

Building up the Digital Economy: We are supporting Africa’s vision to ensure that every African individual, business, and government is connected by 2030 – a vision that, if realized, can boost growth by up to 2 percentage points per year, and reduce poverty by 1 percentage point per year in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Institutions more Efficient and Accountable: Our support is helping governments strengthen public policy processes, manage resources effectively, and reinforce fair and reliable delivery of public services.

Investing in People: We are at the forefront of helping African countries accelerate human capital gains and empower women by improving their access to education and skills acquisition, sexual and reproductive health services, and employment opportunities. With the influx COVID-19, we are mobilizing financial support and timely analysis and advice to countries across the subregion deal with the pandemic.

Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption: In the face of increasing climate-related risks, we are working with African countries to advance efforts to adopt renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, and green infrastructure.

Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence: Given the cross-border nature of conflicts in Africa, we are employing an approach that simultaneously focuses on the drivers of fragility while also supporting well-targeted regional initiatives to create opportunities for peace and shared prosperity.

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.

The World Bank is a dedicated partner for Eastern and Southern African countries, helping them deliver strong development outcomes for their people. A brighter future for Africa is a better future for the world.

Social Protection & Jobs Global Practice

As part of comprehensive approach to supporting human capital investment, the Social Protection & Jobs Global Practice delivers operational approaches and evidence-based solutions to help individuals and families manage risk, cope with chronic/transitional poverty, and access better livelihoods and jobs. These include:

Strategy, analysis, financing and design of programs delivering social safety nets/social assistance in the form of cash transfers, public works programs, and fee waivers.

Advisory and analytical services on design and delivery of contributory transfers (including old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, disability and survivor benefits), and their fiscal sustainability (including budget support for transitions).

Analysis, design and delivery of labor market and youth employment programs (with a focus on supply side interventions and intermediation policies), as well as policy advice on labor market regulations and interventions.

Strategy, analysis, financing and design of integrated social protection delivery systems (e.g., payments, identification, registries, systems assessments) as underpinnings of effective social programs that can help cope with climatic shocks or underpin fiscal reforms.

Ongoing Social Protection & Jobs Global Practice Support and Engagement Strategy in Kenya CMU (and South Africa CMU; since selected candidate will be asked to work on both)

Various operations and knowledge products have been delivered in the Kenya CMU to enhance the coverage of safety net cash transfers, modernize delivery systems for beneficiary identification and payments, and promote enhanced access to social and economic inclusion services. Here we will focus on the World Bank engagement in youth employment, since the position is looking for a person to co-lead this engagement.

On the employment front, the pilot Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP), implemented in 2011-2016, was a highly successful public-private partnership, implementing demand-driven training with strong private sector involvement. The Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) with an IDA allocation of US$150 million is being implemented since 2016 and aims to “increase employment and earnings opportunities for targeted youths”. The project has recently been restructured to involve more centrally the private sector in the employability component and to resolve operational challenges related to payment of trainees and training providers.

KYEOP is designed to support around 100,000 vulnerable youth with life skills training, technical training, and internships, as well as start-up grants, business development services, and behavioral interventions. The project also includes the MbeleNaBiz Business Plan Competition that has selected 750 businesses that have high growth and job creation potential. Finally, KYEOP includes a component on the Labor Market Information System. This IPF has disbursed approx. 55 percent to date and a total of 100,000 youth have already been covered. The project has, so far, outperformed its target of 70 percent employment 6 months after youth exit the interventions. It will support an additional 180,000 youth to access information on employment opportunities, such as government affirmative action funds and procurement opportunities. KYEOP also has a focus on women: a) it has a 50 percent women quota in its core interventions; b) it incentivizes training providers with bonuses for women participation; c) it provides childcare in portions of the programs, d) it offers digital business training to facilitate women’s learning, and, e) it pilots behavioral interventions that aim to expand business networks that women lack.

The Bank SPJ team, in collaboration with FCI, DEC, and the University of Exeter, is also advancing much-needed knowledge on what works for youth employment, including women’s employment, with two large impact evaluations (IE) attached to KYEOP. The first IE focuses on support to self-employment and examines the cost-benefit of providing small start-up grants, business development services of various forms, including digital, as well as behavioral interventions. The second IE focuses on job creation and the premise that identifying promising firms through a business plan competition and supporting them with capital infusions will allow them to grow further and create jobs.

Furthermore, the Bank team has started a new ASA on “Jobs for Refugees” on barriers to employment among youth in refugee camps and in host communities, with a view to adapting interventions a la KYEOP to the refugee and host community context. Beside examining supply- and demand-side constraints to employment, the task will explore refugee-specific constraints, in particular identification documents, work permits, and movement restrictions and how they impact entrepreneurship and employment.

The Bank SPJ team is also providing cross support to the Supporting Access to Finance and Enterprise Recovery (SAFER) project led by FCI which will provide technical assistance to Participating financial intermediaries (PFIs) to identify and target women-owned MSMEs and develop products and services geared towards women owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). In South Africa, youth unemployment was estimated at 58 percent before the pandemic hit and the urgency of tackling this challenge has increased over the past year and a half. The Presidency has been proactively addressing the issue through the creation of the Yes4Youth Accelerator in 2018 and the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) in 2020. In late 2020 the Employment Stimulus Program – a public works-type program – was also started. The WB has been supporting the government’s efforts by partnering with Yes4Youth Accelerator to develop and pilot test web-based job preparation and matching tools targeted toward vulnerable youth. In FY21, the WB broadened the engagement with the PYEI by defining a package of support and expanding collaboration with Harambee, SALDRU, and other partners. Our work on youth employment has included also a review of Active Labor Market Policies and a review of Labor Regulations.

Duties and Accountabilities

The responsibilities of the staff member will be to support the coordination of the World Bank’s current youth employment project in Kenya and co-lead and coordinate the analytical work on youth employment in the Kenya and South Africa CMUs, as well as the broader jobs policy dialogue. This will specifically relate to supporting ongoing programs or operations as well as the ongoing technical assistance agenda of the World Bank Team.

The senior Social Protection Specialist/Senior Economist is accountable for performing the responsibilities, modeling the behaviors and maintaining the competencies in his or her capacity as a member of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. Accountability means being answerable for achieving results, managing quality, risks and institutional initiatives, mentoring junior staff and operating in compliance with Bank policies and procedures.

The specific responsibilities are as follows:

Lead and/or carry-out, as needed, policy dialogue, analytical work, and operational engagement on youth employment. This includes the development, appraisal, and supervision of youth employment operations, including analytical and operational work. Provide technical advice and policy guidance to government in consultation with the Bank’s management and relevant TTLs. These tasks will require a wide variety of skills, including technical analysis; design of project components, and technical assistance activities; interaction with clients at the policy level; supervision of consultants; management of trust funds etc.;

Provide support to the day-to-day operational support to the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project and Co-lead subsequent youth employment operations, providing operational or analytical support as needed. Respond to government and donor partners requests for action on project implementation issues and help to ensure the Bank’s timely and complete responses to those requests.

Organize, lead and participate in missions to provide technical inputs and guidance to counterparts, including improving the monitoring and evaluation of project activities. The candidate will also be expected to participate in developing reports and program evaluations;

Strengthen Bank’s services to clients and donor partners by helping in donor coordination and liaison with NGOs and Government counterparts;

Contribute to cross-sectoral operational and analytic agenda to support human capital investment, collaborating with other initiatives in social protection and Jobs, with the Human Development team, and other units within the World Bank’s broader country team.

Provide operational support, as needed, to other team members as may be delegated by the Practice Manager. This may include support to other SPJ programs in the region and actively work on business development.

Note – This internal requisition is open to WBG and IMF staff only (including short-term and extended term consultants/ temporaries). External candidates are requested not to apply. In case an external candidate applies, their application will not be considered.

Selection Criteria

Graduate degree and minimum of master’s level qualification in economics, social policy or related sector

Tags access to finance business development cash transfer climate change climate change mitigation climate smart agriculture covid development potential economist entrepreneurship extreme poverty health services human development impact evaluation internship knowledge products medium enterprises monitoring and evaluation natural resources parental leave procurement project implementation public services public works red sea refugee camps refugees regional integration renewable energy reproductive health skills development small and medium enterprise social policy social safety nets south africa southern africa sub saharan africa technical training trust funds unemployment insurance youth employment

Minimum of eight years of directly relevant experience in social protection and/or youth employment. Experience and substantive skills in labor and social protection policy.

Experience in World Bank operations as demonstrated through TTL-ship and/or being core team member for lending operations.

Demonstrated international experience, including within low capacity environments.

Experience working with clients to build capacity and engage in dialogue on youth employment and social protection.

Experience working with multiple development partners to harmonize support for Government-led programming.

Experience in leading analytical and technical assistance activities designed to support the development and strengthening of youth employment programs.

Proven ability to carry-out independent policy-relevant research, translate theory into practical applications, and adapt professional knowledge and technical skills to analyze, diagnose and propose solutions to policy issues and challenges.

Knowledge of WB financing instruments and operational procedures.

Strong engagement and policy dialogue skills with high-level counterparts and other stakeholders; client focused with an ability to provide prompt and high-quality responses.

Ability to maintain client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions

Demonstrated ability to provide evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.

Ability to advise, influence and promote consensus among different stakeholders.

Experience in managing diverse and sometimes competing interests and perspectives to arrive at consensus.

Demonstrated ability to lead teams. Excellent interpersonal skills, with proven ability to work in a team and intercultural environment, with minimal supervision.

Proven track record of multi-tasking, managing competing demands and effectively time-manage tasks.

Proven ability to identify and develop new and creative partnerships with a wide variety of agencies and organizations.

Ability to work in a collaborative way, delivering cross-support and building relationships around a common goal.

Evidence of strong interpersonal skills, judgement.

Evidence of sharing and conveying complex technical issues, in accessible format – written, spoken.

Native or near-native proficiency in written English.

For information about WBG Core Competencies, please visit: https://bit.ly/2kbIA7O.


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.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.




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