Senior Agriculture Economist
World Bank (World Bank)
Closed on 25 Sep 2020
Location: United States
Grade: GG, Mid-level Professional
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Job Description


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. 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, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. 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

Agriculture is an essential pathway to meeting the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals—eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity. Food production will have to increase by at least 35 percent during the next decade to meet the needs of the expanding global population. Ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity cannot be achieved without more and better investment in agriculture, food security, and nutrition. Meeting today’s challenges on the food and agriculture agenda will require making major strides in agricultural innovation and climate smart agriculture, raising efficiency in food production and distribution systems, promoting environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive production practices, strengthening agricultural policies and institutions, supporting agribusiness value chains, and encouraging collaboration among private and public actors throughout the food system.

The Agriculture and Food Global Practice (AGF GP) of the WBG, working closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), supports a Global Vision for Agriculture and Food. Our shared goal is to bring about an agriculture that is able to feed every person, every day, in every country, with a safe, nutritious and affordable diet, and where jobs and income gains in the food system are sufficient to meet poverty reduction targets.

In pursuit of the twin goals, the AGF GP through its Agriculture Action Plan is helping client countries to achieve the Global Vision. Our current work program includes engagements in policy dialogue, investment lending, and forging partnerships across the globe. Through more than 150 operations worldwide, we are seeking to: (i) raise agricultural productivity, (ii) link farmers to markets and strengthen value chains, (iii) support rural non-farm income, (iv) reduce risk, vulnerability, and gender inequality, and (v) enhance environmental services and sustainability.

The AGF GP works with and across multiple sectors, recognizing that agriculture and food system outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the agriculture sector. Capacity to work across GP boundaries, forge coalitions, and influence multi-practice solutions is essential for achieving the major objective of improving agriculture sector outcomes.

The Latin America and Caribbean Region (LCR) Unit of the AGF GP consists of about 26 staff (6 of whom are based in country offices), covering all eight of the Region’s Country Management Units (CMUs). Our active and diversified lending portfolio, which includes investment projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Jamaica and Haiti, among others, is one of the largest in the Region. It consists of about 30 IBRD and IDA projects representing a total commitment of about US$2.40 billion, with annual disbursements of over $200 million. The LCR Unit also manages recipient-executed trust funds in Honduras, Mexico, among others.

The projects supported with IBRD and IDA lending, as well as through trust funds, have diverse objectives: (i) promoting agricultural/rural development with a poverty alleviation focus; (ii) strengthening competitiveness of rural producers and maintaining profitable market access, paying special attention to the inclusion of indigenous populations; (iii) establishing and developing modern business productive alliances between agricultural producers, exporters/agro-industrial buyers and financial/technical services providers; (iv) accelerating development and adoption of new climate smart and nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices that can increase productivity while also ensuring sustainable management of natural resources and reducing vulnerability to climate changes; (v) developing innovative and environmentally-sound technologies to strengthen all stages of key value chains; and (vi) promoting skills development and gender equality and increasing prospects for farm and non-farm incomes.

In addition to managing lending operations, the LCR Unit is responsible for the analytical work done by the AGF GP in LCR. This includes both country-focused analytical work, as well as regional analytical work focused on cross-cutting agriculture and food issues. The analytical work done by the LCR Unit is used to develop new entry points for maintaining our robust lending program that adds value for clients across the Region.

The successful candidate will be affiliated professionally with the Agriculture and Food GP, which falls within the Sustainable Development Vice Presidency. The candidate will be mapped to the LCR region, part of the LCR Vice Presidency, with a work program focused exclusively on agriculture and food systems in the LCR region.

Duties & Accountabilities:

The primary responsibility of the Senior Agriculture Economist will be to provide technical, analytical, operational and strategic leadership for the development and implementation of the Agriculture and Food GP’s work program in the LCR region.

The Senior Agriculture Economist will be based at the World Bank Group Headquarters in Washington, DC. S/he will report to the Practice Manager of the Agriculture and Food GP LCR Unit, also based at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC, and assist him/her in the delivery of the Unit’s work program, assurance of quality, interaction with internal and external clients, including the government and private sector, and partnerships across the countries in one or more Country Management Units.

In particular, the Senior Agriculture Economist will:

• Lead policy dialogue, carry out cutting edge analytics, and provide strategic advice to clients, peers and unit management relating to agri-food systems relevant themes

- These could include policy and reform levers to inform macro-level agendas such as food commodity trade and global supply chains;

• Lead as Task Team Leader (TTL) or as a team member, both agriculture and multi-sectoral Investment Project Financing (IPF) and Development Policy Financing (DPF) operations and Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA), assuring quality in all stages of the project cycle;

• Work with the relevant Program Leaders and staff of the Agriculture GP and other GPs to identify opportunities for addressing agricultural issues as part of the World Bank’s Systematic Country Diagnostic, Country Partnership Framework, country policy dialogue, sector deep dives, sector investment operations, budget support operations, and other multi-sectoral projects;

• Promote a strategic approach to support agricultural growth and effectively communicate that to the country team;

• Identify innovative opportunities or ways to address existing needs in the agricultural sector, including bringing in experience from other countries;

• Remain current with relevant major pieces of analytical work in the profession. Lead or participate in strategic analytical work in the country and/or on a sub-regional level, and work with teams engaged in analytical work relevant to the Agriculture GP’s work program;

• Represent the World Bank in fora involving the community of development partners. Provide support, either explicit or implicit, to the work of the development partners in the sector;

• As necessary, represent the World Bank and the Agriculture GP’s management at events with sectoral focus that take place in the field;

• Develop strong client relations and partnerships, including with the International Finance Corporation, on operational matters and policy dialogue;

• Work with other Global Practices in representing the country specific issues in regional and corporate strategies;

• Initiate and maintain a high level and quality of engagement and dialogue with key stakeholders, including government, civil society, private sector and research/academic community on strategic and policy issues concerning agriculture and food security;

• Mentor and coach other staff in the unit.

Selection Criteria

• PhD in Agricultural Economics or macroeconomics, or in a relevant economics field with at least eight years of experience on agricultural and food system development issues;

• Robust, proven operational experience as Task Team Leader (TTL) of agriculture and multi-sectoral Investment Project Financing (IPF) and Development Policy Financing (DPF) projects;

• Strong analytical skills in the range of issues of relevance to agriculture and food systems;
• Recognized substantive leadership in one or more of the strategic/ technical areas noted above;

• Familiarity with the institutional context of LCR regional agricultural development and World Bank operations will be an advantage;

• Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving and team skills with ability to find balanced, pragmatic and implementable solutions also in a multi-disciplinary context;

• High level of energy, ability to work under pressure, and willingness to travel and work under challenging conditions;

• Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, including the ability to present complex issues to World Bank management and senior Government representatives, as well as to non-specialist audiences.

• Excellent written and oral communication skills in Spanish.

WBG Competencies:

• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.

• Policy Dialogue Skills - Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.

• Integrative Skills - Understands relevant cross-sectoral areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations.

• Analytical skills - Deep understanding of concepts used in analyzing the different agricultural sector issues, with significant experience.

• Agriculture Policy, Strategy and Institutions - Solid understanding of agriculture policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations.

• Project Design for Impact and Sustainability - Contributes to the design of projects and programs based on an understanding of the country and sector context.

• Sector Dialogue - Able to conduct a dialogue with the client including on complex issues, based on a solid understanding of the sector.

• Client Orientation - Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.

• Drive for Results - Identifies the needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finds solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.

• Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion - Shows leadership in ensuring the team stays organized and focused, and actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches.

• Knowledge, Learning, and Communication - Leads in the sharing of best practice, trends, knowledge and lessons learned across units and with clients and partners, articulating ideas verbally and in writing in a clear and compelling way across audiences of varied levels.

• Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making - Gathers inputs, assesses risk, considers impact and articulates benefits of decisions for internal and external stakeholders over the long term.

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.

About World Bank

With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.

World Bank's mission is to end extreme poverty by reducing the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030, and to promote shared prosperity by increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country.