Vaccany open: Lead Regional Technical Specialist – Rural Finance, Markets and Value (P5)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

IFAD is hiring a Lead Regional Technical Specialist – Rural Finance, Markets and Value (P5)

Vacancy Announcement Number 1957
Date of Issue 10/11/2020
Deadline for Applications 10/12/2020
Organizational Unit Sust. Prd. Mkts. & Instit.
Level P-5
Duty Station Field Based
Duration of Assignment 2 years

Organizational context

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and  advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.

Post’s organizational accountability

The Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) provides expert guidance on IFAD’s strategic direction, thematic priorities and technical quality of IFAD’s operations. It plays a critical role in providing technical expertise to operational teams to enhance development effectiveness, by generating and disseminating IFAD’s development knowledge and evidence on strategic themes, and encouraging innovative application of cutting-edge global knowledge and evidence in IFAD investments to support countries tackle their most complex development challenges in fostering inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. SKD is composed of the (i) Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (ECG); the (ii) Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division (PMI); and the (iii) Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA).

PMI provides technical support to IFAD Country Programs to ensure the proper application of corporate quality standards required for achieving development results and impact in key thematic areas, including food production systems (i.e. fisheries, livestock, and agronomy), land, natural resources management, water and rural infrastructure, financial services, rural markets and enterprises and rural institutions. It also contributes to the generation of evidence and knowledge on these themes, and facilitates their use in IFAD projects and activities.

Within the thematic areas there are three that are in broad demand across Regional Divisions, namely: i) rural institutions, ii) rural finance, markets and enterprises, and iii) agronomy. The Lead Regional Technical Specialist is a leading professional in one of these three themes and serves as the lead regional expert in his/her area of expertise. S/he technically supports country/regional programs as well as the corporate agenda by providing state-of-the-art technical advice throughout the project cycle (strategic and operational). The accountabilities/key results expected include:

  • Technical Advice to Country Programmes
  • Policy Engagement and Partnerships
  • Knowledge Management
  • Corporate Activities
  • Managerial Functions

The Lead Regional Technical Specialist- Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance, and supervision of the Division Director, with dual reporting to the Regional Division Director to which s/he is mapped. As an integral member of delivery teams, s/he works collaboratively with the thematic Technical Specialists, Country Directors (CD)/Country Programme Managers (CPM) and other staff to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support. The Key Results Expected/Major Functional Activities are generic and representational; the majority of which, will be performed by the Lead Regional Technical Specialist.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

1. TECHNICAL ADVICE TO COUNTRY PROGRAMMES: Based on a planning exercise undertaken jointly between PMD and SKD, and working in close collaboration with the CDs/CPMs, the Lead Regional Technical Specialist provides authoritative technical advice to selected country programmes across the region. S/he provides guidance and advice to PMI staff based in the region on technical, operational and corporate policies and procedures. S/he provides technical advice in the area of value chains and rural finance for the preparation of Results-based Country Strategic Opportunities Programmes (COSOP) and Country Strategy Notes (CSN). S/he serves as Technical Lead for select project designs in the Region of particular complexity and/or strategic importance to which s/he is assigned, ensuring the overall technical quality of the assigned project design across all technical areas. This includes drafting terms of reference for technical team members, selecting and providing over-sight of qualified technical consultants, facilitating technical inputs from other IFAD staff and/or others (e.g. centers of excellence, research institutions), ensuring the technical quality of the project design report, leading select missions and ensuring that comments provided through corporate quality enhancement and assurance processes are adequately addressed. On the basis of his/her thematic expertise and skills in the area of value chains and rural finance, s/he also provides and/or coordinates targeted technical support and peer review to other select project designs in the respective Region. S/he also provides technical support in her/his thematic area for selected ongoing projects in the Region, with priority given to projects for which s/he was the Technical Lead during design and/or projects requiring implementation support (e.g. projects-at-risk), including participation in or leading supervision, implementation support missions, as well as organizing and/or contributing to training and/or capacity building activities. S/he also provides technical inputs to selected project completion reports.

2. POLICY ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS: The Lead Regional Technical Specialist- Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains develops and maintains a network of peer contacts and partners outside IFAD to keep abreast of recent developments and trends and facilitate brokering of partnerships in the area of rural finance and value chains to enhance the Fund’s profile as a highly competent and viable development partner in the region to which the Specialist is mapped. Specifically, on the basis of her/his thematic expertise and skills in value chains and rural finance and working closely with the CDs/CPMs, the Lead Global Technical Advisor at headquarters, the Lead Regional Economist and the Technical Advisors on policy engagement in the AVP/PMD Front Office, s/he leads the development of relevant technical policies and strategies linked to the country programs in the region, while providing substantive policy analysis to develop technical position papers, internal briefing notes, case studies to facilitate shaping IFAD’s perspective/position, based on evidence from IFAD’s loans and grants. S/he represents IFAD in high- level technical policy fora that are of relevance for the region and the respective area of  value chains and rural finance, requiring authoritative voice and knowledge. S/he develops and maintains strategic technical partnerships with organizations, centres of excellence, research institutions and thematic platforms that are relevant for the region.

3. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: The Lead Regional Technical Specialist- Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains serves as a champion for knowledge management in the region. S/he leads the generation and dissemination of knowledge, good practices and innovations in her/his thematic area of value chains and rural finance generated through loans and grants in the region. Based on business needs, s/he may be requested to provide technical support to other regions in areas of particular expertise to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing. S/he contributes to identify qualified technical consultants to be included in a corporate roster. S/he liaises closely with the Lead Global Technical Advisor at IFAD headquarters, as well as the CDs/Heads of Hubs and/or South South Technical Cooperation and Knowledge Centers, and the Senior Regional Technical Specialists on relevant knowledge management initiatives and products, including contributing to communities of practice. S/he also develops and delivers tailor-made training modules and courses related to his/her area of expertise as required.

4. CORPORATE ACTIVITIES: Working in close collaboration with the Lead Global Technical Advisor at IFAD headquarters, the Lead Regional Technical Specialist- Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains leads corporate initiatives of relevance for the region and the respective area of Value chains and rural finance as required, as well as contributing to the development of corporate operational policies, approaches and strategies. S/he also provides substantive inputs to corporate events and technical management briefs as required.

5. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: The Lead Regional Technical Specialist- Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes, among others, people management through support to recruitment of technical specialists and technical leadership/capacity development, coaching and mentoring of new and/or more junior staff, supervisory role and evaluation of performance of professionals and general service staff under his/her purview. Specifically, s/he will supervise the Technical Analyst (NOB) and provide guidance to and mentoring of PMI staff based in the region on technical, operational and corporate matters.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative professional expertise and technical leadership at the global, regional and national levels. Lead Regional Technical Specialists define, propose, revise and/or develop programmes or policies for the Fund and represent the position of IFAD in national, regional as well as global fora and conferences. Innovation is required in the adaptation and development of approaches and methods to evolving technical and programmatic contexts.

Work at this level is considered as substantially complex and of critical concern to the Fund. In particular, analytical and advisory work requires in depth identification and consideration of a full range of factors relevant to the examination and discussion of programme problems and policies in the solution of methodological problems or in the formulation of policy proposals and project recommendations.

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of Lead Regional Technical Specialists involves the provision of authoritative technical advice and the negotiation and resolution of problems that arise in mission planning, technical project appraisal or the preparation of studies and reports. S/He typically serves as the Fund’s senior technical advisor in the field of specialization and exercises wide professional latitude in contacts in her/his field(s), providing technical leadership and methodological guidance to management, CDs/CPMs, national governments, development partners and other country programme staff in the technical area of specialization.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Strategic leadership (Level 2)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change (Level 2)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture (Level 2)
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture (Level 2)
  • Problem solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact (Level 2)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources (Level 2)
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment (Level 2)
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills (Level 2)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally (Level 2)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 1)


  • Strong technical experience in designing and implementing Value chain and rural finance projects and more generally embedding Value chain-related issues in rural and agricultural development projects;
  • Skill in the design and coordination of knowledge products, technical proposals and identification of innovative solutions to evolving issues related to the field of value chains and rural finance.
  • Ability to share technical guidance/knowledge at the governmental and peer levels as well as to inspire more junior specialists and programme staff in the development of viable programme activities.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in in the field of specialization, e.g. Agriculture, Rural Development, Business, marketing, Finance, Economics etc..


  • At least 10 years progressively responsible experience in the field of value chains and rural finance, particularly in the formulation of technical guidance and input to development programmes and investment projects; of which at least 3 of the 10 years of experience should be at the international level. Experience in international policy frameworks related to global issues for value chains and rural finance as wel as strong engagement with private sector actors are desirable.

Language requirements:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French, or Spanish) is desirable.

Other information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD. In accordance with IFAD’s Human Resources Policy, staff members are subject to the authority of the President who can decide to assign them to any of the activities of the Fund. All International Professional staff members are required to be geographically mobile and positions in the professional category are subject to changes in location at any time in line with strategic priorities and reform initiatives in IFAD.

In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful

Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.