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The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region comprises 30 extremely diverse countries, with a population of nearly 500 million people. The ECA region faces multiple challenges today. First, the region is considerably vulnerable to climate change. It has a large potential to strengthen climate change resilience and improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing its contribution to climate change. Second, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected all the economies in the region, impacting people’s health and education service delivery, and causing a sharp slowdown in growth in many countries. Third, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing significant humanitarian and infrastructure losses in Ukraine and slowing down growth, increasing costs of food and energy and destabilizing macro-fiscal outlooks across the region. This is further exacerbated by several conflicts in the region including unsettled land disputes and delineations. These major challenges and crises serve to re-emphasize the critical importance of ECA’s medium-term strategic agenda. In order to reach the World Bank Group’s twin goals, the ECA region’s strategy focuses on: (i) boosting human capital – addressing inclusion, resilience, quality of delivery and next generation Human Capital challenges, (ii) enabling markets – supporting the private sector to compete in a knowledge-intensive global economy, (iii) green transition - innovative knowledge and financing engagements to decarbonize, build resilience and support a just transition through policy engagements, investments, and (iv) building & strengthening institutions - supporting the quality of spending, improve debt management, and enhance service delivery. https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/eca
The Central Asia Country Management Unit (CMU), includes a diverse set of countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. While coming from the same background as post-Soviet republics, the countries range from the Upper MICs and oil-rich countries such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the poorer IDA recipients such as Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan as well as a blend country, Uzbekistan. The five countries cover an area of some 4 million sq km (about the size of the European Union), inhabited by close to 75 million people.
The World Bank maintains a very active programs the region, with net commitments totaling over US$10 billion for 78 projects, and annual lending of around $1.2-1.5 billion (11+ projects a year). It is among the largest programs in the Bank. The program in Uzbekistan has grown significantly in recent years in support of the historic transformation to a market economy. This complements a large portfolio in Kazakhstan with a large RAS program with the transfer of cutting-edge knowledge to the client. The Bank plays a critical role in the IDA countries, with its strategic engagement in the priority areas and a strong emphasis on close coordination with other donors. Engagement with Turkmenistan is at a lower level with a small RAS program and a new lending preparation under preparation for COVID- related matters (the first lending project in 15 years). There is also a growing and important program supporting regional development of hydropower and water resources as well as cooperation on trade, transport, and disaster management.
The main Central Asia country and regional challenges are: (i) to complete the transition to the market economy and reduce the still large role of the state; (ii) to promote greater economic diversification and create space for a larger private sector participation to create better jobs; (iii) to enhance and strengthen regional cooperation (trade, water, energy); and (iv) to increase efficiency in public spending.
The Country Director is located in the Central Asia Regional Office (CARO), in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Four Country Offices report to CARO, each of which is led by a Country Manager, while Turkmenistan has a small liaison office. There is a total of 127 staff in CARO, the country offices, the liaison office and the Anchor unit in DC.
DUTIES & ACCOUNTABILITIES
• Provide administrative support to the Country Director (CD), Operations Manager (OM), Country Managers (CMs), Senior Country Operations Officer (SCO) , and Country Officers and other CMU HQ staff, including coordinating meetings, videoconferences, and handling internal and external correspondence, including to high-level government officials. This requires close liaising with ACS colleagues in the country offices, GPs and the Front Office. Such administrative support includes e.g., managing calendars, meetings, TRS, and travel of CMU HQ staff as required.
• Liaise with other parts of the Bank and the Region, particularly those in the Vice President’s Front Office, on behalf of the CMU and serve as a resource person for internal and external queries regarding country operations and draft routine correspondence. Where appropriate, route incoming communications to appropriate country team members.
• Support the CD, OM and CMs and other country office CMU staff when they are in Washington.
• Coordinate the production and processing of projects, Country Engagement products and other complex documents, ensuring documents adhere to Regional and Bank guidelines, clearance requirements and processing procedures, and preparation for Board.
• Coordinate sector and country inputs into all briefs and regional reports, including County Program Portfolio meetings.
• Provide administrative support to the Country Teams, including organizing country team meetings, and preparing minutes of meetings upon request. Ensure relevant background materials are available for meetings, deadlines are met and documents are of high quality.
• Coordinate logistics for Annual and Spring Meetings, CPPR Reviews, Senior Management visits to countries, Senior Government officials’ visits to Washington, and other events as required. For all meetings, support preparation of briefing books by collating all inputs and putting into proper formats.
• Provide general research support to CMU team members as required.
• Administer and maintain relevant data and filing systems for the CMU and related country teams, including a monitoring and tracking system for aspects of the country's work program. Retrieve and format data for inclusion into relevant reports.
• Maintain relationship with country office based staff. Share updates of processes and procedures and promote best practices.
• Maintain Client Connection Accounts, and provide variety of assistance to clients in creating, updating and deleting of organization and user accounts. Serve as Client Connection Champion for the unit.
• Coordinate and set up meetings with the Board and Executive Directors’ offices, particularly in preparation for full Board presentations.
• Act as the Transaction Processor for SAP requests including Travel Requests, Statement of Expenses, Consultant contracts, Consultant payments, Purchase Orders, Office supplies, P-Card, etc.
• Given the ten hour time difference to Central Asia, ability to be present at HQ relatively early, e.g. especially when organizing morning VCs.