International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Global Technical Specialist (ICT4D in Agriculture)

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 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 enhance  development  effectiveness,  by  generating  and disseminating IFAD’s development knowledge and evidence on strategic themes, and encouraging innovative application of cutting-edge global knowledge and evidence in IFAD investments to support countries tackle their most complex development challenges in fostering inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. SKD is composed of the (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).

PMI provides Technical Support to IFAD Country Programs to ensure the proper application of corporate quality standards  required  for achieving  development  results  and impact  in key  thematic  areas,  including  food production systems (i.e. fisheries, livestock, and agronomy), land, natural resources management, water and rural infrastructure, financial services, rural markets and enterprises and rural institutions. It contributes to the generation of evidence and knowledge on these themes, and facilitates their use in IFAD projects and activities.

The Global Technical Specialist – ICT4D in Agriculture is an information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) professional with strong experience in implementing digital solutions in the area of agricultural markets/value chains, rural finance and agritech projects. S/he technically supports the Global Senior Technical Specialist (GSTS) in ICT4D and helps in the implementation of the corporate agenda and the integration of ICT4D in the country/regional programs. The technical specialist will contribute to the following key results:
  • IFAD ICT4D Strategy Plan Development and Implementation
  • Technical Advice to Country Programmes and other ICT4D initiatives
  • Partnerships and Policy Engagement
  • Knowledge Management
The Global Technical Specialist – ICT4D in Agriculture is technically supervised by and delivers to the GSTS in ICT4D, but works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance of the Lead Global Technical Advisor for Rural Finance, Markets and Enterprise. As an integral member of delivery teams, s/he works collaboratively with the thematic Technical Specialists in PMI, Country Directors (CD) and other staff to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical support and provision of programme development support across the globe.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

The following Key Results Expected/Major Functional Activities are generic and representational; the majority of which will be performed in support and under the technical guidance of the Global Senior Technical Specialist – ICT4D in Agriculture. 

1.  IFAD ICT4D STRATEGY PLAN DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION: IFAD’s ICT4D Strategy was approved by the Executive Board in December 2019. The Global Technical Specialist – ICT4D in Agriculture will be guided by the Strategy and action plan to support the implementation of prioritized activities under the guidance of the GSTS and in coordination with other relevant IFAD divisions and units, including the regional hubs. S/he will provide technical support on various ICT4D project proposals and initiatives that may come-up and support the corporate agenda in this sector field. S/he will also support the regular reporting and evaluation of the Strategy, the periodic updating of the related rolling action plan, and annual reporting on the corporate ICT4D commitments and KPIs.

2.  TECHNICAL ADVICE TO COUNTRY PROGRAMMES AND CURRENT ICT4D INITIATIVES: Based on a planning exercise undertaken jointly between PMD and SKD, and working under the technical guidance of the GSTS and in close collaboration with the CDs and PMI experts, the regional Technical Specialist provides technical advice to selected country programmes across the 5 regions with  particular focus on the NEN region, focusing on the development area of e-market platforms, digital finance, and fintech solutions..

S/he provides technical advice in her/his area of technical expertise for the preparation of project design reports and supporting documents/annexes.   S/he serves as a member of Project Design Teams (PDTs) for selected projects that require ICT4D inputs. S/he will provide technical support and propose an offering of new technologies and/or identify ICT4D tools and technologies that can be incorporated in IFAD projects/programmes. This would involve drafting technical content contributing to the project concept note and project design report, participating in design and implementation support missions to provide technical advice and input, drafting terms of reference, selecting and providing over- sight of qualified ICT4D consultants, facilitating technical inputs from other IFAD staff and/or others (e.g. centers of excellence, research institutions). S/he also provides and/or coordinates targeted technical support and peer review to other select project designs.

S/he will also support country programme teams and HQ staff that are implementing ICT4D initiatives in their portfolio (e.g. in the area of e -market platform, financial inclusion, digitization of business plans, etc.).

3.  POLICY ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS: Under the overall leadership of the GSTS, the Global  Technical Specialist ICT4D in agriculture develops and maintains  a  network  of  peer  contacts  and  partners  outside  IFAD  to  keep  abreast  of  recent developments and  trends  and  facilitate  brokering  of  partnerships.  S/he  will  support the follow-up  on  existing partnership discussions with ICT companies interested in working with IFAD, as well as support the initiation of new partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including in both the public and private sector, UN agencies, NGOs, etc.

On the basis of her/his thematic expertise and skills and working closely with the CDs, other Technical Specialists/Advisors, and the Lead Regional Economists, s/he contributes to the development of relevant technical policies and strategies linked to ICT4D. S/he also helps in the representation of IFAD in related technical policy fora, and supports the development and maintenance of strategic technical partnerships with organizations, centers of excellence, research institutions and thematic platforms that are relevant for IFAD.

4.  KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Under the guidance of the GSTS, the Global Technical Specialist – ICT4D in Agriculture will contribute to the generation and dissemination of knowledge, good practices and innovations in his/her thematic area and ensure there is cross-fertilization across the 5 regions with a particular focus on the NEN region. She will support the systematization of the regional ICT4D trackers, organization of events and webinars, online training & capacity-building tools, and preparation of briefs and talking points. S/he will also help coordinate and organize the ICT4D bi-monthly task team meetings, and the recently created ICT4D Community of Practice (D-Group).

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of technical expertise in the field of specialization. The impact of work by the incumbent directly affects country programmes and contributes to regional and corporate policy and  strategy. The impact on the overall IFAD country and regional programmes is significant in projecting the Fund’s role/capacity as a reliable, viable partner in development. Work is intricate in that it requires consideration of a wide range of technical factors and related data. Global Technical Specialists also select and provide oversight of external consultants, participate as experts in field missions and in the servicing of intergovernmental and expert group meetings of a technical nature. Work at this level normally is not reviewed for technical accuracy. Global Technical Specialists thus exercise independence and initiative in assessing needs. Decisions are made on the research or analytical strategies to be followed in resolving problems of concern in the technical area. Established methods and procedures are adapted as necessary in order to achieve desired results.

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of Global Technical Specialists involve the provision of technical advice and the negotiation and resolution of problems that arise in technical project design and appraisal, supervision/implementation support and in the preparation of studies and reports. S/He serves as an expert in his/her field of specialization and works with full technical independence in the provision of technical expertise and methodological guidance at the country level, as well as regionally as required. Contacts are with counterparts and senior officials within other United Nations organizations having related programmes and with officials of governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, research institutes and academia. In servicing intergovernmental bodies, expert groups and other meetings, the Global Technical Specialist provides technical expertise and recommendations for policy formulation and official conclusions in a consultative and Specialist capacity; s/he also may provide information regarding the organization's policies, and act as the representative of the organization. Contacts are maintained to identify and evaluate emerging developments.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level1)
  • 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 staff and teams effectively (Level 1)

  • International technical expertise and operational experience in the area of ICT4D in agriculture with emphasis on markets/value chains, rural finance, and fintech;
  • Technical skills in the design and coordination of ICT4D in the context of agricultural/rural development projects and interventions and identification of innovative solutions to emerging issues.
  • Analytical ability to write and share technical guidance/knowledge ina  clear and operationally relevant manner and to support other technical and programme staff in the development of viable ICT4D activities

Minimum recruitment qualifications


Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in in the field of specialization, e.g. System Engineer, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, ICT, digital development, and related fields Experience:

At least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in and demonstrated understanding  of,  development  projects  in  the  field  of   ICT4D   in agricultural and rural development of which at least 2 of the 5 years of experience should be  at  the  international level. Experience in international   policy frameworks related to agricultural markets, financial inclusion, finance for development, and/or ICT is an asset.

Language requirements:

Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.

Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French, or Spanish) is desirable.

Other information

In accordance with IFAD's Human Resources Policy, staff 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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