International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Senior Technical Specialist (Economist)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Job Description

  This is a co-terminus position fully financed with supplementary fund. Contract renewal depends on the fund availability and/or duration of the project. There is no expectation of renewal or conversion into another kind of contract.

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 and thematic priorities and enhances the 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).

RIA plays a key role in generating rigorous evidence and insights to support decision-making, to contribute to more effective projects and to strengthen IFAD's capacity to influence dialogue on rural development globally by systematically assessing the impact of IFAD investments and through research analyzing the context in which IFAD operates. Working with partners inside IFAD and externally, RIA conducts research on relevant themes, such as agricultural and rural transformation, economic mobility and social inclusion, environment and resilience. It also supports innovative agricultural research topics through the Agriculture Research for Development (AR4D) financing window.

Since 2018, IFAD/RIA has been a partner on the 50x2030 Initiative to Close the Agricultural Data Gap, a $500 million initiative to address the problem of agricultural data availability and use.  IFAD, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Bank are the three implementing agencies to execute the work under the Initiative. IFAD leads the Data Use Component and all activities under it.

The Senior Technical Economist works on the 50x2030 Initiative work programme under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance, and supervision of the 50x2030 Lead Technical Specialist. As an integral member of delivery teams, s/he works collaboratively with the other thematic Technical Specialists, Country Directors (CD)/Country Programme Managers (CPM), Hub Heads and other staff to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support.  The Data Use Component of the initiative is critical to building the capacity of participant countries to manage self-sustaining agricultural data programs.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

1.STRATEGIC PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 50X2030 INITIATIVE DATA USE WORK PROGRAMME:  The Senior Technical Economist supports all aspects of the development and management of activities under the Data Use Component of the 50x2030 Initiative. S/he will work with a small team to design, develop, and implement the Data Use work programme, including activities at a global and country level and associated grants. S/he provides support on the budget for the Data Use work programme, planning for and allocating expenditures. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Supporting the development of the Data Use component’s annual work plan and multi-year work plans and ensuring their update;
  • Contributing in the design of country-level plans for data use activities and coordinating them with the overarching Data Use component’s work plan;
  • Overseeing the implementation of data use activities in partner countries, particularly through local consultants and contractors;
  • Coordinating planning and implementation of projects with the other Initiative partners, FAO and the World Bank;
  • Supporting monitoring and reporting activities, including the development and refinement of outcomes, indicators, means of verification - this should be done in close collaboration with other 50x2030 implementing agencies involved in measuring impact;
  • Supporting the development, oversight, and utilization of the Data Use Component’s budget;
  • Representing RIA at forums on related topics and present contributions related to data use.
2. STRATEGY AND PROJECT DESIGN:  The Senior Technical Economist designs country-level pilot projects in a number of countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean to test various approaches to promoting data use in pilot countries. As pilot projects mature, s/he designs longer-term projects that build off the lessons learned under the pilot projects and integrate with the Initiative’s data production activities and with other data use-related activities occurring within participant countries. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Supporting assessments of country conditions to inform project design;
  • Facilitating the development of joint program implementation plans for promoting data use with partner country and partner implementing agency staff;
  • Overseeing or contributing to the design of pilot activities to promote data use, including technical assistance, Training Programs, and workshops in partner countries;
  • Collecting and analyzing data and information about pilot project implementation to document and understand successes and failures; and
  • Supporting the coordination of the relevant knowledge development and dissemination with institutions outside of IFAD within partner countries, disseminating knowledge and lessons learned with outside partners and stakeholders through publication of Occasional Papers, journal articles, seminars and workshops, through electronic media and the development of new knowledge products and operational tools that are informed by learning from the field.
3. PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION: The Senior Technical Economist cultivates and maintains partnerships with a variety of organizations to further the work under the Data Use Component of the 50x2030 Initiative. Within IFAD, s/he looks for opportunities where 50x2030 can benefit other IFAD projects and programmes to also mobilise IFAD-managed resources toward the Initiative. S/he identifies and develops opportunities to link 50x2030 data use activities to similar efforts implemented or supported by other partners (e.g. IFPRI’s Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System, FAO’s Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies project, etc.). Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Building partnerships with centers of excellence, complementary technical organizations and specialized departments of other development institutions (including United Nations agencies, International Financial Institutions, bilateral cooperation agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others) as strategic partners;
  • Maintaining networks with partner government staff, policy makers, researchers, and civil society for enhanced knowledge exchange, including training workshops and seminars;
  • Strengthening IFAD’s representation and communication in policy processes (including representing IFAD at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences)
  • Developing and cultivating alliances in key global policy forums to strengthen IFAD's influence over time, with a strategic focus on specific themes.
4. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION: The Senior Technical Economist generates and promotes the uptake of knowledge related to data use for decision-making within IFAD and externally. S/he supports the generation and dissemination of knowledge, good practices and innovations in the area of data use to other divisions and offices throughout IFAD, particularly as related to the 50x2030 Initiative. S/he liaises closely with the Regional Divisions at IFAD headquarters, as well as the CDs/Heads of Hubs and/or South South Technical Cooperation and Knowledge Centers, and the Senior Regional Technical Specialists on relevant knowledge management initiatives and products, to promote the 50x2030 Initiative’s Data Use activities as a source of support to other IFAD projects.  Equally, s/he promotes the communication of IFAD’s knowledge on evidence-informed decision-making generated through 50x2030 to the broader development community by developing strategies and implementing approaches to share findings. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Contributing to the drafting of documents that promote awareness of the Initiative, findings of data use pilot projects, and progress on project implementation.
  • Supporting intelligence gathering and analysis of information relevant to data use and facilitates knowledge sharing experiences within SKD, IFAD and other stakeholders in the global area;
  • Participating in IFAD-wide thematic discussions and developing appropriate technical and operation approaches of relevance to the country/divisional strategies and programmes.
  • Planning and leading learning events to strengthen IFAD's knowledge and capacity to engage in global debates with policy implications for rural transformation; and
5.COORDINATION UNDER THE 50X2030 INITIATIVE: As part of a multi-partner initiative, the Senior Technical Economist supports the Lead Technical Specialist to coordinate the Data Use work programme with other Initiative activities implemented by the World Bank and FAO. The Lead Technical Specialist is IFAD’s primary liaison and representation to the 50x2030 Program Management team, located at the World Bank. As necessary and on behalf of the Lead Technical Specialist, the Senior Technical Economist collaborates and communicates with FAO and World Bank counterparts who work on related Initiative activities at a headquarters level to develop joint work plans and plan for country-level work. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to:
  • Attending and representing IFAD in coordination meetings;
  • Supporting monitoring and reporting for the Initiative’s monitoring and evaluation system that tracks outputs, outcomes, and objectives under the Initiative’s results framework;
  • Providing inputs to annual, semi-annual, and ad hoc performance and financial reports; and
  • Contributing to joint publications and guidance documents for the Initiative.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative professional expertise and technical leadership at the global, regional and national levels. The Senior Technical Economist provides critical guidance and support to projects or policies for the Fund and represents the position of IFAD in national, regional as well as global fora and conferences.  Innovation is required in the adaptation and development of approaches and methods to evolving technical and programmatic contexts.

Work at this level is considered as substantially complex and of critical concern to the Fund. In particular, analytical and advisory work requires in-depth identification and consideration of a full range of factors relevant to the examination and discussion of programme problems and policies in the solution of methodological problems or in the formulation of policy proposals and project recommendations

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of Senior Technical Economists involve the provision of authoritative technical advice and the negotiation and resolution of problems that arise in mission planning, technical project design and appraisal or the preparation of studies and reports.  Contacts are with counterparts within his/her team, the broader RIA Division, in-country project staff, partner country government agency staff and senior officials, and with counterparts from the partner institutions working on the Initiative, namely the World Bank and FAO. S/he may also engaged with a variety of representatives and senior officials within other United Nations organizations having related programmes and with officials of governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, research institutes and academia.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Strategic leadership (level 1)
  • 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
  • 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)

  • Authoritative technical expertise in economic development particularly in areas related to inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.
  • Authoritative technical expertise in impact assessment using experimental/non-experimental microeconomic data.
  • Strong analytical skills in order to identify systematic issues, both programmatic and operational and develop viable solutions. Analytical skills are also essential for identifying opportunities to promote new strategies and initiatives with regional divisions, partner agencies and national government partnerships.
  • Skill in the design and coordination of technical proposals and identification of innovative solutions to evolving issues.
  • Capacity to communicate fluently, particularly on technical matters, with different stakeholders/partners in the international policy fora and to build networks.
  • Writes clearly, succinctly and convincingly.
  • Ability to share technical guidance/knowledge at the governmental and peer levels as well as to inspire other specialists and programme staff in the development of viable programme activities.
  • Knowledge of global frameworks, stakeholder networks and multi-sectoral platforms at all levels
  • Computer skills: thorough knowledge of statistical tools such as STATA or R, Survey/Data Collection tools, and NVivo or similar qualitative software

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in economics, agricultural and resource economics or non-economist related fields, such as public Administration, international relations, and international development, degree in PhD is highly preferred.

  • At least eight (8) years of substantive and sustained work experience in development economics, in the formulation of technical guidance and input to development programmes, and in international policy frameworks related to global issues.
Language Requirements

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French, or Spanish), particularly French 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.

Apply Now