UN Offices

China-africa Cooperation Specialist

UN Offices

Job Description


UNDP is a catalyst of South-South Cooperation and aims to accelerate, amplify and strengthen global cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). South-South and Triangular Cooperation have emerged as innovative means of development cooperation among developing countries, involving cooperation of development actors at various levels, including national governments, donors and development partners, UN agencies and non-governmental stakeholders. In line with the UNDP Strategic Plan (2018-2021) and the UNDP SSC Corporate Strategy (2016), UNDP’s role in supporting South-South and Triangular Cooperation lies in four areas: 1) brokering knowledge on scalable development solutions; 2) facilitating and coordinating partnerships across countries and sectors; 3) strengthening capacities of Southern partners and fostering enabling environments at national and regional levels; 4) designing, piloting and implementing demand-driven projects that fit partners’ needs and priorities. As part of UNDP’s global efforts of strengthening South-South and Triangular Cooperation, UNDP (in particular, the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA), Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific (RBAP) and the Country Office in China) has engaged on and aimed to foster cooperation between China and African countries at both policy and programme levels.
For example, China-Africa collaboration within the UNDP framework has been fostered through:
  • South-South and Triangular Cooperation projects implemented in collaboration with China and four African countries (Malawi, Ghana, Zambia and Ethiopia);

  • Impact assessments, research Analysis, network and partnership facilitation, Capacity Development and stakeholder engagements aimed towards enhanced effectiveness and sustainability of China’s development financing and investments in Africa;

  • Policy dialogues through organization of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the annual China-Africa conferences on Poverty Reduction and Development;

  • Resource mobilization and channeling of funding opportunities from China to African countries through the China-established South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund.

The China-Africa Cooperation Specialist will contribute towards enhancing UNDP’s understanding of Africa-China relations and strengthening the cooperation between UNDP, China and African countries, including by scaling-up the South-South and Triangular Cooperation efforts across UNDP. Besides fostering existing partnerships, this position will also contribute to the identification of innovative ways of creating cross-regional cooperation opportunities within the UNDP, pinpointing opportunities, mitigating risks, and contributing to UNDP’s capacity to become a more agile and trusted partner in support of cooperation between China and African countries. Reporting Structure and Partners
The China-Africa Cooperation Specialist will be based in the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA), and will be the critical link between the RBA, RBAP, UNDP in China and Country Offices in Africa. The China-Africa Cooperation Specialist will report to the Chief, Partnerships and Communications, and collaborate closely with the UNDP China Country Office, RBA, RBAP, relevant UNDP Country Offices, development partners and other relevant entities and stakeholders.Duties and ResponsibilitiesThe China-Africa Cooperation Specialist will be responsible for providing critical support to ensure planning and implementation of activities between UNDP China and Africa. In order to do so, the incumbent will perform the following functions:
  • Provide strategic planning and Coordination support, including developing a strategic value proposition for UNDP’s work in support of Africa-China relations.

  • Provide financing and partnership development support aimed towards realization of SDGs in Africa.

  • Provide internal and external advisory and policy influence support on China-Africa collaboration.

  • Facilitate knowledge management and capacity development.

Strategic Planning and Coordination
  • Analyzes recent trends, milestones, key activities of China-Africa cooperation on a regular basis to identify and harness new opportunities, anticipate changes and potential risks, and to plan for adjustment of engagement strategies accordingly.

  • Develops RBA’s strategic value proposition for enhancing UNDP-China cooperation in Africa, as well as a concrete plan for implementation.

  • Leads the implementation of RBA’s plan of work for enhancing UNDP-China cooperation in Africa, as well as China-Africa South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

  • Facilitates coordination and liaison within UNDP at HQ, regional and national levels.

Financing and Partnership Development
  • Positions UNDP as a partner in implementing development projects funded by China in Africa with reference to UNDP’s ongoing engagements with the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank on setting up financing platforms for development.

  • Analyzes priority areas of where cooperation can be fostered between China, relevant UNDP Country Offices and regional programmes on the African continent, as well as available China-led mechanisms and channels for accessing finance, grants and/or aid (e.g. the China-initiated South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Fund) in order to match demand and supply.

  • Acts as the anchor point for the formulation, quality assurance, due diligence (if applicable) for cooperation projects (such as project proposals for the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund), and ensures the proposed projects are in line with UNDP and RBA strategic priorities.

  • Identifies, explores and creates new innovative financing and partnership tools and mechanisms, inclusive but not limited to Public-Private Partnerships with Chinese and African partners (e.g. CSR, green value chains, ESGs and decent jobs in investments/SEZs).

Advisory and Policy Support on Africa-China relations
  • Advises RBA’s senior management, regional offices and country operations on key policy issues affecting Africa-China relations, such as development financing, trade, and consumption.

  • Support the coordination of RBA and UNDP-wide policy engagements around key corporate signature solutions and how they impact Africa-China relations.

  • Explores opportunities to pilot UNDP’s initiative on SDG Impact within the China-Africa context in collaboration with the Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA), selected Country Offices and Chinese institutional partners (including but not limited to the China-Africa Development Fund, the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Chinese business associations, etc.).

  • Facilitates organization and coordination of the high-level policy dialogues such as the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

  • Provides advice and overall guidance on cooperation between China and Africa within UNDP.

Knowledge Management and Capacity Development
  • Supports the establishment of a knowledge and information-sharing network between UNDP CO and Regional Bureaus on South-South and Triangular Cooperation and SDGs between China and African countries.

  • Augments linkages and cooperation between RBA, key research institutions/think tanks working on China-Africa related areas, as well as the UNDP Global Policy Network, with the aim of creating an enabling environment that inspires sharing and exchange of knowledge, information, and resources.

  • Supports UNDP country office’s capacity development and knowledge sharing work with national counterparts by drawing on experiences from China’s development path and offering services, instruments and potential solutions to key government counterparts across Africa (including but not limited to Ministries of Planning/Finance, Ministries of Energy, Ministries of Environment, etc.).

  • Explores opportunities to establish innovation pilot initiatives between Country Offices in Africa (e.g. Rwanda, Kenya) and Chinese technology providers.

Other tasks
  • Performs any other tasks as required by the Chief, Partnerships and Communications

CompetenciesImpacts and key results:
The China-Africa Cooperation Specialist will contribute to effective coordination of collaboration between UNDP, China and African countries.
InnovationAbility to make new and useful ideas work
  • Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them

  • Integrates diverse contributions to formulate coherent approaches

  • Aligns innovation to service delivery components

  • Manages prototype / pilot efforts and seeks feedback

LeadershipAbility to persuade others to follow
  • Plans and acts transparently, actively works to removes barriers

  • Creates awareness of substantive opportunities and risks among others

  • Navigates complex circumstances thoughtfully and is solution-minded

Communication and Relationship Management
Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others

  • Persuades others to embrace new ideas, even when controversial

  • Empathizes with client perspectives and needs and communicates messages with the clients’ experiences in mind

  • Creates opportunities for developing new Client Relationships, opportunities and risks among others

  • Navigates complex circumstances thoughtfully and is solution-minded

  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

  • Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions

  • Anticipates constraints and identifies solutions

  • Expands capacity of team to deliver on time, on target, and within organizational standards

  • Ensures high quality of work in terms of both substantive depth and adaptive relevance to client needs

  • Accepts responsibility for implementation / team deliverables / client satisfaction consistent with organizational standards

  • Exhibits thorough organizational awareness of UNDP’s approach to client service delivery and integrity and accountability

  • Exhibits sound judgment and the ability to make reasonable decisions in complex situations

Strategic Planning
  • Knows the objectives and outputs of organizational units and their Human Resource, financial and technological capacities and links them to appropriate management policies and services

  • Forms partnerships with managers and staff providing advice and solutions that integrate various management areas to enable them to meet their needs

  • Adapts best management practices to the requirements of the organization and/or organizational units to facilitate the achievement of strategic objectives

  • Builds capacity for management practice in organizational units throughout the organization by providing appropriate tools and advising and coaching managers

Promoting Organizational Learning and Knowledge Sharing
  • Makes the case for innovative ideas documenting successes and building them into the Design of new approaches

  • Identifies new approaches and strategies that promote the use of tools and mechanisms

  • Develops and/or participates in the development of tools and mechanisms, including identifying new approaches to promote individual and organizational learning and knowledge sharing using formal and informal methodologies

  • Effectively networks with partners seizing opportunities to build strategic alliances relevant to UNDP’s mandate and strategic agenda

  • Sensitizes UN Partners, donors and other international organizations to the UNDP’s strategic agenda, identifying areas for joint efforts

  • Develops positive ties with civil society to build/strengthen UNDP’s mandate

  • Identifies needs and interventions for Capacity Building of counterparts, clients and potential partners

  • Displays initiative, sets challenging outputs for him/herself and willingly accepts new work assignments

  • Takes responsibility for achieving agreed outputs within set deadlines and strives until successful outputs are achieved

  • Promotes UNDP’s agenda in inter-agency meetings

Client Orientation
  • Anticipates client needs

  • Works towards creating an enabling environment for a smooth relationship between the clients and service provider

  • Demonstrates understanding of client’s perspective

  • Keeps the client informed of problems or delays in the provision of services

  • Uses discretion and flexibility in interpreting rules in order to meet client needs and achieve organizational goals more effectively

  • Solicits feedback on service provision and quality

Resource mobilization
  • Develops detailed knowledge and understanding of key donors, their priorities and areas of interest and adapts content and approach of resource mobilization activities to their requirements

  • Builds and maintains relationships with donors demonstrating professionalism in providing advice and information on UNDP activities and sensitivity to donor concerns

  • Develops, reviews and monitors agreements and trust funds which reflect the outcomes of negotiations with donors and meet the reporting requirements of UNDP

  • Uses knowledge of donors and successful programmes and projects to contribute to fund raising and resource mobilization strategies

  • Creates effective global advocacy messages/strategies

  • Contributes to the elaboration of a global advocacy strategy by identifying and prioritizing audiences and messages

  • Performed analysis of political situations and scenarios, and contributes to the formulation of institutional responses

  • Uses the opportunity to bring forward and disseminate materials for global advocacy work and adapts it for use at country level

  • Identifies and develops activities to enhance the visibility of UNDP

  • Develops promotional activities based on monitoring/evaluation information identifying areas requiring higher visibility

  • Develops messages for use by UNDP staff when working with partners, internationally and nationally

  • Reviews documents and materials intended for use within and outside the organization in order to ensure consistency and validity of messages

  • Creates and cultivates networks of partners to promote UNDP’s image

  • Conducts assessments of activities to improve impact and effectiveness

Stress Management
  • Maintaining a professional profile while under stress

  • Able to work under pressure and coordinate multiple activities and processes simultaneously

  • Maintains a respectful and responsible work style

  • Manages emotions

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in public Administration, international relations, economics, law or related fields.


  • A minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience in international development or related fields;

  • Strong analytical skills with demonstrated experience advising senior management on trends and dynamics relevant to the organization;

  • Partnerships and South-South cooperation experience would be an asset;

  • A background on China-Africa cooperation is highly desirable;

  • Experience working with either or both the government or non-government sector in China or/and Africa would be an advantage.

Language Requirements: 

  • Fluency in English is required;

  • Fluency in Chinese would be an asset;

  • Knowledge of additional UN languages would be an asset.


Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

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Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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