Senior Agriculture Economist/Senior Agricultural Specialist

  • Full Time
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary:

World Bank Group


Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions and thirteen Global Practices to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

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 must increase by at least 35 percent to meet the needs of the rising global population. Thus, 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 major strides in agricultural innovation and climate smart agriculture, efficiency in food production and distribution systems, promoting environmentally and socially sustainable production practices, strengthening agricultural policy and institutions, supporting agribusiness value chains, and joint private and public-sector action. The Agriculture Global Practice (GP) of the WBG, working closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), supports a Global Vision for Food and Agriculture with agriculture 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.

To help the achievement of the twin goals, the strategic focus of the Agriculture GP, as reflected in the Agriculture Action Plan, is to help client countries on the issues mentioned above. Our current work program (150+ operations) consists of engagement in policy dialogue, investment, and forging partnerships across the globe 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 Agriculture GP is led by a Senior Director, who has overall responsibility for the GP and two Directors. The Agriculture GP Management Team, which is the group that leads and manages the GP, consists of the Directors mentioned above and ten Agriculture Practice Managers, who manage the
roughly 260 staff working on Agriculture in all six Regions and on global programs.  About a third of the staff are located in Country Offices.

The Agriculture GP works with and across multiple sectors, in recognition of the fact that agriculture and food system outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the Agriculture GP, and the Agriculture GP actively contributes to work managed by other Global Practices.   Accordingly, a capacity to work across GP boundaries, forge coalitions and influence multi-practice solutions is essential for achieving the major objectives of improving agriculture outcomes.

Agriculture and rural development represent the core of the Zambia Country Partnership Framework 2018-2022 (CPF), and the Agriculture Global Practice has a dynamic portfolio in Zambia in support of the CPF, which is expected to grow under IDA 18. This includes 1) the ongoing Irrigation Development Support Project, 2) the Integrated Forest Landscape Project, 3) the Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa, a regional project where Zambia leads on legume research; and 4) the Community Markets for Conservation Landscape Management project. The Agriculture GP co-leads the Agribusiness and Trade Project, which is mapped to the GP on Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation. The Zambia Agricultural Cluster Project is in preparation and is scheduled to be submitted for approval in FY20, in support of the Economic Diversification and Rural Development Agenda as defined in Zambia’s 7th National Development Plan.

In addition, the work program includes non-lending work, including on Climate Smart Agriculture, Agricultural Diversification and Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture, as well as Policy Analysis, often in collaboration with other GPs.

The GP supports other practices where needed, for example in the Improved Rural Connectivity Project, the Strengthening Climate Resilience Project and the Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Project. The GP engages with IFC on its agenda in support of private sector development in the agricultural sector.  The work program may also include activities in other countries in southern Africa.

Duties and Accountabilities: 

Note: This position is being advertised as “Senior Agriculture Economist/Senior Agricultural Specialist” to cast a broad net, and candidates with economics or other disciplinary backgrounds in agriculture are encouraged to apply.

  • The Senior Agricultural Economist/Specialist will report to the Agriculture GP Practice Manager in charge of Southern and Eastern Africa, and assist him in the delivery of the work program, assurance of quality, interaction with internal and external clients, including the private sector, staff development and partnerships in Zambia and possibly other countries in the Africa Region. S/he will coordinate closely with the AFCS1 CMU, especially with the Country Manager for Zambia and the Program Leader for Sustainable Development in AFCS1, based in Pretoria.

In particular, the Senior Agricultural Economist/Specialist will:

  • Lead operations as Task Team Leader (TTL), in Agriculture GP projects and ASA, and for agriculture related projects in other GPs, assuring quality in all stages of the project cycle;
  • Collaborate with the Internationally Recruited Senior Agricultural Specialist/Economist, jointly leading the dialogue with the Government of Zambia and within the CMU, especially on strategic directions and opportunities for synergy with non-agricultural operations;
  • Advise colleague TTLs of operations with linkages to the agriculture sector;
  • Work with the Country Manager for Zambia and the Program Leader for AFCS1 sustainable development program to identify opportunities for further program development in Zambia, as part of the Bank’s country planning cycle (Systematic Country Diagnosis and Country Partnership Frameworks), country policy dialogue, sector investment operations, budget support operations, and multi-sectoral projects;
  • Assure a strategic approach to support sustainable and climate smart agricultural development and lead the country team on these issues;
  • Identify opportunities for bringing in experience from other global regions and/or other countries within Africa to address needs in the agricultural sector;
  • Remain current with the thinking on agricultural development, lead analytical activities in Zambia and work with teams engaged in analytical work relevant to Zambia;
  • Represent the Bank in the Development Partners Agriculture Working Group or in other Fora as needed, and at relevant events across the country.
  • Develop strong client relations and partnership, including with IFC agribusiness team, on operational matters and policy dialogue;
  • Work with other GPs in representing Zambia’s specific issues in regional and corporate strategies;
  • Initiate and maintain a high level and quality of engagement and dialogue with key stakeholders, including government, bilateral development partners, UN agencies such as FAO and IFAD, civil society, the private sector and the research/academic community on strategic and policy issues concerning agriculture, irrigation and natural resources in Zambia.

Selection Criteria

  • Masters, MBA or PhD in Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Economics, or in a relevant discipline;
  • At least eight years of experience on agricultural development issues;
  • Strong technical and analytical skills relevant to agriculture;
  • Demonstrated familiarity with Bank procedures and practices and experience in identifying, preparing, appraising and supervising operations, as a task team leader or team member;
  • Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving and team skills;
  • High level of energy, ability to work under pressure, and willingness to travel extensively;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to present complex issues to Senior Bank management, to Senior Government representatives, as well as to non-specialist audiences.


  • Linking macro, institutional, and micro-level behaviors; able to support technical findings/policy recommendations with credible analysis and tools;
  • Translating technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies;
  • Anticipating needs and requests in the field and conducting independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners;
  • Integrating knowledge and findings across sectors; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations;
  • Solid understanding of agricultural policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations;
  • Project planning and management experience, with a focus on obtaining impact. Demonstrating in-depth understanding of project management tools, as well as of Bank instruments;
  • Understanding finance management, disbursement, safeguards and procurements frameworks of the Bank and being able to engage with fiduciary and safeguards specialists;
  • Leading teams to achieve challenging outcomes, providing a role model and enhancing the team-leadership skills of team members;
  • Maintaining client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and providing evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge;
  • Sharing best practices, 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.

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.  Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply

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