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Senior Economist

The World Bank Economics logo

The World Bank
Washington, DC - United States
S: Competitive

Background / General description:

Education is central to achieving the World Bank Group's twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty because it has large and consistent returns to income for individuals as well as other non-monetary benefits and because it can drive economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. One of the main challenges the education sector faces is ensuring equitable access to quality education for all –that is, ensuring that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. The developing world has achieved great advances in education in the past two decades, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Yet, more remains to be done in these areas and many challenges remain, including removing the educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile states, and improving the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. Indeed, the WBG and the broader education development community are increasingly shifting their focus to learning outcomes. Because traditional input-driven programs often fail to promote learning, the WBG's education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive systems approach to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. And it also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are. These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work expertise combined with practical and technical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their educational progress.

The Education Global Practice (GP) is led by a Senior Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice. The Senior Director is assisted by the Director, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Practice. The Education Global Practice Management Team, which is the group that leads and manages the GP, consists of the Senior Director, the Director and nine Practice Managers.


The World Bank Group serves 19 diverse clients in the MENA region, with a population of 424 million people. Clients range from the Higher income oil producing countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to large sophisticated middle income countries and low income countries. The MENA region has been undergoing major changes over the past several years with the "Arab Spring" that started in 2011 which led to major shifts in the region with a number of countries undergoing transitions and others undergo civil conflict. Moreover, the oil rich countries of the GCC are exploring ways to diversify their economies in light of the declining oil prices. Given the ongoing fragility and conflict in the region, the World Bank Group has recently prepared a new MENA regional strategy. Instead of taking conflict and violence as given and working around it, this new strategy puts the goal of promoting peace and social stability in the MENA region at its center. The strategy responds to both the underlying causes of conflict and violence as well as the urgent consequences through development interventions that foster inclusion and shared prosperity.
MENA countries have placed a renewed emphasis on education as a priority for development. Countries in the Region have taken great strides in education in the past few decades, but challenges remain, particularly in the areas of education quality, inequality, governance and accountability, and the relevance of skills for the labor market. The Education Global Practice team in MENA focuses on helping countries build the human and social capital required for economic growth and social development by providing analytical and knowledge products, technical and financial support, as well as advisory services through various instruments. Specifically, the unit supports countries in developing and implementing strategies to ensure quality education and learning at all levels of education from childhood to tertiary. Teams in the unit work closely with countries to improve their systems of delivery, promoting greater equity in education opportunities, fostering better management and accountability at the centralized and decentralized level as well as in schools. An increasing area of focus is on the impact of conflict education and learning given the large numbers of displaced students and teachers both internally and in neighboring countries which is affecting not only the communities in the conflict areas, but those in host communities as well as systems in host countries. The MENA region has been developing innovative approaches to address the education and refugees and working closely with governments and international partners to meet the education needs of children. The education team in MENA works closely with other Global Practices, as well as other Global Practices as well as with other regional units within the Education practice.

The unit has a growing program that spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood education to higher education. The team is committed to delivering high quality technical projects to support education development in the Bank's client countries and to do so in a manner that builds capacity through collaborative interactions with country counterparts. Our engagement includes lending operations, reimbursable advisory services (RAS) and analytical and advisory services (ASA). The portfolio currently consists of eight active lending projects in Djibouti, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza and Yemen. Over the past several years, the demand for World Bank reimbursable advisory services has been growing very fast in the states of the GCC. The unit provides support to the Kuwait education system (which constitutes the largest RAS in the World Bank's history at $30 million), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and UAE. The MENA education team also recently completed a number of analytical reports including public expenditure reviews in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman, and technical assistance in West Bank and Gaza and Tunisia. The unit is also supporting a large network of universities in the region on governance and quality assurance in collaboration with the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI). Moreover, the unit has recently embarked on an innovative initiative – Education for Competitiveness (E4C) – to support countries in improving their education and training systems so that these contribute to improved socioeconomic outcomes, including higher productivity, growth, social cohesion and inclusion. The regional initiatives will continue to grow as well as regional reports on key issues starting with a flagship report this year that aims to understand the persistent underlying factors that have been keeping education outcomes at very low levels in the region, their interactions, and ways to break out this impasse.

The strategic framework set out by the MENA Strategy and the Bank's Education Strategy 2020 has a number of implications for the Unit's work program and skills mix. Policy dialogue and operational work will become more strategically oriented, programmatic and results-oriented; both to support inclusive growth and competitiveness in high capacity countries and to address vulnerability and resilience in low income countries. In particular, this will include emphasis on sector-wide approaches and partnerships, as well as programmatic approaches. The aim will be to deliver sustainable and comprehensive development solutions. This, in turn, implies strategic consolidation into larger programs and working multisectorally. In all contexts, scaling up support to achieve the education MDGs will be accompanied by increased focus on improving quality of learning with appropriate tools for measurement of performance and results. Demand for support in post-basic education, particularly skills development and higher education, has witnessed a significant growth in recent years and is likely to continue to be a major part of our program. The Unit's work will also reflect a better understanding of governance and the political economy of the sector in general, as well as support to countries towards more effective utilization of their own public resources which constitute the bulk of resources invested in the sector. Although state capacity remains crucial, policy and operations work will reflect growing understanding of, and engagement with the private sector, other development partners and non-governmental organizations, as well as the essential role of households on individuals themselves.

The selected Senior Economist will be based in Washington D.C. and report to the Education Global Practice Manager for Education in the MENA Region.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3- year renewable term appointment.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3 year term appointment.

Duties and Accountabilities:

The selected Senior Economist will be based in DC and report to the Practice Manager for Education in the MENA Region. S/he will be a highly motivated and dynamic professional, with very solid analytical, advisory and lending operational skills, excellent client engagement and team spirit skills and knowledge of key education issues.

S/he will be expected to produce independently important and complex policy reports and take responsibility over important components of TA/advisory and lending projects, as well as lead lending operations and policy work. He or she will be expected to lead client dialogue at the highest level.

The successful candidate will:
• Lead and contribute to cutting edge analytical work and operations on education in a diverse set of countries
• Lead policy dialogue with clients in low, middle, and high income countries and work closely with development partners
• Contribute to MENA regional initiatives on education and help develop new areas for regional work
• Lead/organize/participate in meetings with partners and clients at HQs and on missions.
• Lead/ contribute to business development in MENA countries.
• Foster strong working relationships with other GPs and CCSAs
• Mentor junior team members in the delivery of the program.
• Respond to ad-hoc and urgent requests from education GP management (such as preparing presentations, needed studies, etc.).
• Perform other tasks as needed include developing proposals, preparing new projects, events and conferences.

Selection Criteria:

General Economic Knowledge and Analytical Skills - Possesses a track record of intellectual leadership and ability to integrate economic-specific knowledge and specific micro/sector fields of expertise; provides quality assurance and assesses technical soundness of work/reports.

Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Influences the design and execution of major policy and/or research initiatives; conceives and promotes innovations in development policies, project design, organization and management to improve operational and sector work.

Policy Dialogue Skills - Has a track record of conducting effective policy dialogue with country counterparts; communicates and defends difficult issues and positions to senior Bank management and government officials.

Integrative Skills - Possesses in-depth understanding of Bank resources in all areas of work in the network, and proven fungibility.

Written and Verbal Communication - Demonstrates a strong command of all forms of communication and delivers messages in a consistently effective, timely and engaging manner.

Client Orientation - Translates insight into practice across disciplines, hierarchies, geographies and organizational units in service of clients.

Drive for Results - Ensures successful implementation and delivery of key programs and projects, ensuring that outputs positively impact results.

Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion - Creates a team climate of practical and innovative action, facilitating collaboration between competing interests and stakeholders.

Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making - Serves as a trusted advisor to others on their decisions, ensuring alignment across units and optimal impact on the organization as a whole.

Other Selection Criteria

Advanced degree preferably a PhD in Economics, or equivalent, and at least 8 years of experience in development.

Proven skills in managing and exploiting large datasets; undertaking econometric analysis in the social sectors, preferably related to education; preparation of high quality reports.

Demonstrated combination of analytical rigor and practical and solution oriented approaches, including ability to contextualize research findings and apply them to specific country contexts.

Excellent writing skills and ability to convey complex technical ideas to a non-specialist audience.

Knowledge and experience in education reform as well as in project management.

Strong client orientation and excellent interpersonal skills. Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively across within and across sector boundaries, inspire commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as a member of a multicultural team.

High levels of energy, initiative, and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements.

Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to country and management requests, and set priorities for self and others.

Fluency in English. Working proficiency in Arabic and/or French highly desirable.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in race, gender, na

Job summary


The World Bank


Washington, DC, United States







Job Type:





12th June 2017

Apply By:

22nd June 2017

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