Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Senior Program Officer (Development Policy & Finance)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Job Description

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that by creating an environment for our employees to personally and professionally thrive, we will have maximum impact toward our missions to achieve our vision. To learn more about our vision and missions, please visit our website at To learn more about career opportunities at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, please visit our Careers site at Group Summary The Development Policy & Finance team (DPAF) is the foundation’s focal point for the worlds of development economics and finance: we are accountable for bringing trends and opportunities in to shape foundation work, and accountable for carrying foundation perspectives out to shape the broader context of Development Finance priorities in service of our goals. The team is responsible for executing on a range of issues and interventions to effect change at the global, regional, and country level. DPAF sits within the Global Policy & Advocacy division and works together with Gates Foundation programs to ensure global resources are raised and spent effectively to support the needs of the world’s poorest people. DPAF aims to be a hub for creative Analysis and ideas to modernize aid and multilateral development Banking, and to support developing countries to raise and spend their own resources effectively to achieve their human development goals.  The team uses a combination of grant making, direct advocacy and partnership to achieve its goals. Leadership & Culture Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy. Position Summary The Development Policy & Finance team has an opening for a Senior Program Officer (SPO), our most senior technical role.  The SPO will be responsible for leading work in our country finance team, whose primary focus is a developing country Finance Ministry / budget authority.  The program officer will have the ability to both situate public finance within the broader macro-fiscal context while also recognizing some of the specific concerns and interests of the foundation’s program teams – such as those passionate about health, Agriculture, or digital financial services. They will demonstrate deep subject matter expertise, crafting then leading sophisticated grants and partnerships to advance team goals.  This is an exciting role shaping the practice of the foundation and our partners. We are currently looking for an SPO with expertise, network and passion to advance practice in one and preferably more of the following areas:
  • Public finance, budget analysis and advocacy in developing countries;

  • Development economics focused on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, especially macro-fiscal issues including revenue prospects, debt, Capital Markets development, and other salient issues related to fiscal space and public finance;

  • Applied economic policy analysis supporting foundation sector work, especially connecting our micro work (in health, Agricultural Productivity, financial inclusion, sanitation) to macro policy and economic growth questions;

  • Evidence to policy in developing countries

The successful candidate will lead and build upon a portfolio of work that enables and advocates for governments to take public finance actions that improve fiscal outcomes and result in better service delivery, with a primary audience being that of a developing country Finance Ministry / budget authority while being mindful of the work of international partners such as the World Bank and Official Development Assistance (ODA).  This position will also work closely with our Africa and India government relations teams to cultivate and lead critical in-country relationships (Ministries of Finance, Planning, in-country influencers, etc.) as well as with our program strategy teams in Seattle to collaborate on how DPAF and its portfolio can contribute to overall foundation goals. Core Responsibilities The SPO is responsible for advancing supportive policies and effective financing for foundation programs, by:
  • Designing, planning, and leading a portfolio of grants to advance knowledge, test policy solutions and implement new practice in the areas described above

  • Serving as the internal subject matter specialist on areas above, and collaborating with teams across the foundation on technical and operational intersections to advance program work

  • Cultivating a set of external relationships to identify partners and build technical, political or advocacy collaborations to advance the work;

  • Building out policy positions, standard methodologies and analysis for the team’s country finance portfolio to ensure we are continuously learning from prior and related efforts, including those of our partners.

  • Creating and maintaining high quality, productive, collaborative and coordinated interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners.

  • Reviewing submitted (or soliciting) concept notes and grant proposals; providing clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding; assessing progress of existing grants for review by foundation leadership

  • Consulting with grantees to achieve desired impact of grants; conducting site visits, providing technical mentorship, convening meetings, and applying and evaluating milestone-based performance objectives

  • Preparing and writing briefs synthesizing current practice and knowledge and/or recommending course of action on key topics of relevance to foundation; continuing to learn and maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the trends and drivers of areas above

  • Representing the foundation externally on matters relevant to body of work

Position Reports to: Deputy Director, Development Policy & Finance Core Knowledge and Skills Our ideal candidates will combine technical knowledge, political savvy, creativity, excellent project management and a good dose of self-motivation.  They may have:
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and implement exceptionally, translating research and ideas to ‘fundable’ proposals, advocacy and action

  • Flexible attitude interested in connecting multiple disparate fields, adaptable to different contexts and audiences, and stimulated by that variety

  • Positive relationships with relevant authorities and policymakers around the world, including direct policy work with governments in Africa or South Asia

  • A sense of humor and a “campaign mentality” i.e. no job too big, small or hard

  • Demonstrated critical and creative thinking, and excellent writing and public presentation skills – all on sophisticated and deeply technical topics

  • Proven ability to move significant issues successfully across large institutions, various levels of staff and different cultural contexts

  • Proven ability as a great teammate defined as someone who shares ideas generously, adjusts flexibly to changes in context, and is motivated to act with some urgency

  • Ability to travel up to 1/3 time domestically and internationally

Education and Experience
  • Relevant advanced degree in economics, public policy, finance or a related field preferred. A minimum of seven+ years of relevant experience in areas such as international development finance or public finance to include being in progressively senior level roles.

Important Notes
  • Please note this is a two-year limited term employment position.

  • For your application materials, please submit a cover letter and resume.

  • *Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

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