Senior Public Sector Economist / Specialist at World Bank Group

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The 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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Senior Public Sector Economist / Specialist

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Job #: req12028
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Grade: GG
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Health/Nutrition/Population
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment
Required Language(s): English

Description

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions – providing loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses.
  • The vision of the World Bank Group (WBG) is the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent in each country.
  • To achieve its vision, the WBG leverages the combined strength of its institutions and their ability to partner with the public and private sectors to deliver customized development solutions backed by finance, world class knowledge and convening services.

Health, Nutrition And Population Global Practice Context:

  • The central contribution of the HNP Global Practice to the World Bank’s twin goals is to enable the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in which all people are effectively covered by essential health services, and nobody suffers undue financial hardship because of illnesses.
  • The HNP Global Practice includes staff members in Washington, DC and many country offices. The HNP Global Practice works with and across multiple sectors, in recognition of the fact that HNP outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the HNP sector.
  • The HNP Global Practice supports country and regional efforts to: (i) improve health outcomes, especially for the poor and most vulnerable; (ii) expand access to high-quality HNP services, interventions and technologies that give the most value for money; (iii) strengthen health systems for results; (iv) establish and improve health financing mechanisms that promote efficiency, equity and sustainability of investments; (v) strengthen heath-relevant institutions within and outside the health sector; (vi) harness multisectoral policies and investments for better health outcomes; and (vii) develop and learn from rigorous impact evaluations.

Africa Region Context:

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  • Africa has registered strong economic growth in recent years that has helped to reduce poverty levels in the continent. Yet, as Africa’s population expands, the region faces a critical challenge of creating the foundations for long-term inclusive growth.
  • Many countries still contend with high levels of child and maternal mortality, malnutrition is far too common, and most health systems are not able to deal effectively with epidemics and the growing burden of chronic diseases.
  • These challenges call for renewed commitments and accelerated progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC)—the principle that everyone receives needed health services without financial hardship.
  • Most African countries have integrated UHC as a goal in their national health strategies. Yet, progress in translating commitments to UHC into expanded domestic resources for health, effective development assistance, and ultimately, equitable and quality health services, and increased financial protection has been slow.
  • To accelerate progress toward UHC in Africa, the countries will require political leadership and a clear strategic vision to achieve their UHC targets and to be able to eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public health emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and strengthen the foundations for long-term economic growth.

Nigeria HNP Country Context:

  • Despite some notable progress in Polio and malaria control, Nigeria is far behind in Human Capital and Especially Child Survival. Nigeria is ranked 152nd out of 157 on the Human Capital Index (HCI) (154th on child survival) and has the highest under-five mortality rate (U5MR) of any lower-middle income country (LMIC). 
  • Nigeria now accounts for about 13% of under-five deaths in the world and 25% of those in Africa.
  • U5MR in 2023 is going to be at least 17% higher than the AFR strategy goal. Almost 87% of U5MR in Nigeria, excluding neonatal mortality, is due to malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and three other vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Nigeria’s total fertility rate (TFR) of 5.3 children per woman in 2018 has changed little since 1990 when it was 6.0.
  • The TFR is highest in North West (6.6 children per woman) and lowest in South West (3.9 children per woman) and also appears to be increasing among the poor and the uneducated.  Persistently high fertility rates have created a worker-to-dependent ratio of 1.1, less than half of the ratio in East Asian economies.
  • Nigeria’s U5MR is stagnating at high levels (132 per 1,000 live births in 2018) although progress was made from 2003 to 2013. It is also inequitable. Some recent progress has been made on immunization with coverage (DPT3) of 50% in 2018. 
  • Skilled birth attendance, antenatal care, and contraceptive prevalence have largely remained the same since 1990.
  • Recent Bank investments have achieved impressive results.
  • Nigeria has recently been certified wild Polio virus free.   Use LLINs has increased by 71 percentage points and decreased severe anemia by 10 percentage points.
  • The Government of Nigeria’s spending on health is low. In 2017, government health spending was 0.5% as a share of GDP or just $US10 per capita resulting in limited resources available to pay for basic preventive and promotive health services that could have outsized impact; high levels of out-of-pocket payments at the point of delivery which reduce the use of services and act as a barrier to care, especially for the poor; and dependence on the largesse of development partners.
  • External financing may decrease, as donors such as Gavi and GFATM reduce their commitments in line with Nigeria’s high per capita GNI.
  • This will leave large gaps in key services unless there is greater domestic resource mobilization.
  • On the positive side, the Government of Nigeria has joined the Human Capital Project, and taken ownership of the Human Capital Agenda at the highest level through launching a call for action for strengthening the country’s human capital.
  • The Government has further noted its strong focus on making dramatic improvements in child survival as one of the key pillars in addressing the human capital crisis in the country.
  • Earlier in 2014, the national assembly passed the NHAct that provides for the establishment of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) funded amongst other sources from the Federal Government’s share of the consolidated revenue fund that will enable the Government to use its own resources to purchase services; buy services from both public and private providers; establishes a system of accreditation to improve quality of care; finance a rigorous system of verification to ensure value for money;  (v) creates robust electronic payment systems to providers to reduce the chance of corruption; and demonstrates long-term Government commitment to using public funds to subsidize the cost of services for the poor.
  • Finally, in 2018, an investment case was developed to provide a country framework for alignment of sector stakeholders around a set of prioritized and phased RMNCAH + N interventions to accelerate progress towards better maternal and child health outcomes.

Nigeria World Bank HNP Program:

  • The World Bank has been involved in the health sector since its reengagement in 2001 and now has an ambitious and complex engagement that encompasses several operations and programs of analytic work.
  • To strengthen the World Bank’s health team for Nigeria, the World Bank is recruiting a Senior Health Specialist / Economist based in Abuja.
  • The candidates’ work program will focus on supporting the Bank’s health engagement in Nigeria. In addition, within the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, the successful candidates might contribute to selected regional/global health engagement and solutions areas based on his/her expertise and interest.

Duties and Accountabilities

  • The World Bank is hiring a Senior Health Specialist / Economist in the country office in Nigeria. 
  • The Senior Health Specialist / Economist will work as part of the broader HNP team to provide support and leadership on the World Bank’s technical and operational engagement at federal and state level.
  • He/she will be expected to work across multiple areas, including health financing, primary health care, health security preparedness, COVID-19, as well as multisectoral agendas such as nutrition and women and girls’ empowerment.

Specific responsibilities will depend on the technical profile of the candidate, but will include:

  • Lead, co-lead or contribute to policy dialogue, technical assistance and other support to government and other stakeholders in Nigeria (and possibly other countries in the region) across the areas of the Bank’s HNP engagement in Nigeria.
  • Lead, co-lead or contribute to implementation support of the Bank’s HNP operational portfolio, as well as the preparation of selected national and/or regional operations.
  • This will include leading, co-leading or contributing to technical discussions and monitoring of the Bank portfolio on a day-to-day basis in close collaboration with the relevant government agencies and development partners.
  • It will also include participation in missions of the health team at federal and/or state level.
  • Contribute to cross-GP agendas and activities, including both analytic and operational.
  • Prepare or contribute to sector-specific or cross-sectoral inputs for various operational products/outputs (e.g. sector/country briefings, background reports, portfolio performance reviews, etc.).
  • Respond to ad hoc information requests from internal and external parties.
  • The work will be substantive in nature, requiring frequent interactions with senior external and internal counterparts.
  • The Senior Health Specialist / Economist will report to the Practice Manager (Health Nutrition and Population) for HAWH2.  For day-to-day operational work, the Senior Health Specialist / Economist may serve as Task Team Leader on assigned tasks and work closely with other Task Team Leaders, the Human Development Program Leader, and staff from other Global Practices.
  • The Senior Health Specialist / Economist will be subject to all World Bank regulations and guidelines applicable to staff in the Country Office which is their duty station.

Selection Criteria:

  • Advanced degree in Medicine, Public Health, Epidemiology, Health Economics or equivalent with at least 8 years of relevant experience.
  • Extensive experience working in technical and policy issues that are at the core of the World Bank’s engagement, including health system strengthening, health economics and financing, health security and preparedness, and multisectoral agenda.
  • Experience from outside Nigeria is an advantage.
  • A track record of working effectively with government officials, high level stakeholders, and international partners such as WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, USAID, CDC, West African Health Organization etc. Experience working with stakeholders at both federal and state level is an advantage.
  • Excellent interpersonal and diplomatic skills and demonstrated ability to exercise technical and operational judgement in complex contexts and client relationships.
  • Proven ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues / team members, including from other sectors, and to contribute productively to the team’s work and output, demonstrating respect for different points of view.
  • Experience working on WBG funded projects and familiarity with WBG operations, policies, and procedures is an advantage.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills in English is essential.

In addition to the above, the selected candidate is expected to demonstrate the following WBG core competencies:

  • Integrative Skills: Understands core issues and knows where to get additional expertise when needed.
  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena: Understands policy making process and role of the health sector in that process. 
  • Can find relevant information and examine similar policy questions in multiple regions and to distill operationally relevant recommendations and lessons from this analysis for clients.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills  Identifies and assesses policy issues and communicates findings/points of view verbally and through economic reports and papers. 
  • Plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders as part of Bank teams.
  • 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.

Application Closing Date
7th June, 2021 at 11:59pm UTC.

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How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
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