International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Associate Vice-president (Strategy and Knowledge Department)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Job Description

  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 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.

Reporting directly to the President of IFAD, and as a member of the senior management team, the Associate Vice-President (AVP) heads the Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) of IFAD. 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 support countries efforts to tackle their most complex development challenges in fostering inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. This is mainly achieved by generating and disseminating IFAD's development knowledge and evidence in IFAD's investments.

The AVP has the responsibility for overseeing and providing leadership in ensuring the technical quality of IFAD’s program of work; spearheading efforts to generate and disseminate IFAD’s knowledge and evidence on strategic themes; and promoting partnerships to facilitate knowledge exchange, enhance visibility and mobilize resources. The work of the Department is undertaken by three divisions: (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).

As the Head of the Department, the AVP provides leadership to over 100 staff of the Department and ensures that high staff morale is maintained, paying particular attention to the staff located outside headquarters. In this regard, the AVP has the overall responsibility for ensuring that the Department is adequately staffed with the requisite competencies and skills to deliver its annual programme. The AVP is also responsible for the prudent and efficient management of the financial resources made available to the Department annually.

As a member of the senior management team of IFAD, the AVP is expected to contribute to corporate and operational policy discussions and decisions of the Executive Management Committee (EMC), chaired by the President of IFAD and the Operations Management Committee (OMC), chaired by the Vice President.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

Under the direct supervision of the President of IFAD, the AVP, Strategy and Knowledge Department:
  • Leads the work of IFAD’s Strategy and Knowledge Department, providing guidance and managing the work of SKD Directors and SKD staff.
  • Oversees the development and implementation of the annual programme and budget of the Department in the context of IFAD’s Strategic Framework and IFAD Replenishment Commitments.
  • Provides leadership in and contributes to discussions on IFAD’s strategic direction.
  • Promotes the development of rigorous evaluations, reviews, Analysis and lessons to inform IFAD’s lending and non-lending portfolio (including country programme strategies, policy engagement initiatives, etc.), particularly on issues linked to sustainable and inclusive rural transformation, Food Systems, environment, , climate change, resilience, nutrition sensitivity and inclusion of women, youth and vulnerable groups.
  • Ensures projects have sound technical design built on up-to-date knowledge and evidence, and deliver development results during implementation.
  • Certifies projects are environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, nutrition sensitive and inclusive of women, youth and vulnerable groups.
  • Oversees and provides guidance in the assessment and reporting of corporate impacts of    IFAD’s funded projects.
  • Leads and/or contributes to the corporate development effectiveness agenda.
  • Chairs IFAD’s Knowledge Management Coordination Group, provides leadership in and coordinates IFAD’s corporate knowledge management agenda.
  • Encourages evidence-based knowledge generation and its dissemination in all activities.
  • Oversees the supervision of the on-going SKD portfolio of grants.
  • Contributes to resource mobilization activities and to evidence-based policy making at the international, national and local level to advocate for the extreme poor and food insecure in rural areas.
  • Mobilises and manages supplementary funds to finance activities relevant to IFAD’s mandate
  • Develops and maintains good collaboration with strategic partner organisations.
  • Participates in and contributes to IFAD’s Executive Management Committee and the Programme Management Committee.
  • Participates in IFAD public relations and outreach with the public, other donors, and client countries.
  • Closely collaborates with ERG and PMD in discussions and dialogue on development policy issues.
  • Leads and assumes ownership of ensuring and managing appropriate internal control mechanisms for mitigating risks in line with the applicable organizational framework and policies for risk management and in line with the mandates of the Department.
  • Acts for the President and Vice President of IFAD when requested.
  • Performs other related duties as required by the President.



  • 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 wider teams with greater impact on others and on the organization (Level 2)

Setting Strategy
  • Acting as a champion for change, developing solutions to intractable challenges.
  • A strong analytical mind and the ability to think strategically, setting clear priorities for SKD; and the ability to lead by example.
  • The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization’s overall strategy.
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
Executing for Results
  • Capacity to promote ideas and optimal service practice to a multi-cultural diverse audience.
  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results whilst also being comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainly.
  • A grasp of detail and understanding of programme delivery, balanced by well-developed delegation and team management skills;
  • A deep understanding of operational systems and how to execute them successfully, including excellent knowledge of techniques for planning, monitoring and controlling programmes.
Leading Teams
  • Excellent management skills, of people and process. The AVP will be comfortable leading a team of diverse and exceptional professionals.  S/he will be consultative, respectful, and transparent in decision-making;
  • Creating opportunities for staff members to grow and develop and delegating responsibilities to staff or concerned offices.
  • The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
  • The ability to persevere in the fact of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
Relationships and Influence
  • Strong diplomatic and communication skills, with the ability to negotiate skillfully and develop close and effective working relationships with internal and external clients.  Ability to articulate and present convincingly.  Capacity to promote ideas and optimal service practice to a multi-cultural diverse audience;
  • Naturally connects with and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive.
  • Creates a sense of purpose/meaning for the team that generates followership beyond his/her own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the organization as a whole.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university degree in economics, agricultural and resource economics, management, business Administration, or a related field.

  • At least 20 years of professional experience in international development, which could include international finance institutions, UN agencies, or other development related organisations, preferably in the area of Agriculture and rural development. Proven record in leadership and strategic management. Extensive and proven managerial experience with a focus on people management. Experience in working with tight deadlines with multiple priorities. Knowledge of inter-agency relations within the UN System and with international financial institutions is an asset.
Languages and other skills

  • 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.

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