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External Affairs Officer

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. It uses its financial resources and extensive experience to help poor nations reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve quality of life. To ensure that countries can access the best global expertise and help generate cutting-edge knowledge, the WBG is constantly seeking to improve the way it works. Key priorities include delivering measurable results, promoting openness and transparency in development, and improving access to development information and data.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). It is also organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and fourteen Global Practices as well as three Cross-Cutting Solution Areas to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

The World Bank Group (WBG) is committed to achieving diversity in race, gender, nationality, culture, and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

Regional Context

  • The Africa Region, comprised of approximately 800 staff members, mostly based in about 40 country offices, is committed to helping Africa realize its considerable development potential, with a focus on employment generation. The core values guiding our work are passion for our mission of sustainable poverty reduction with keen attention to quality and transformative impact, putting the needs of the client at the center of all our activities, trust and respect as a common currency, intellectual rigor and curiosity, honesty and integrity, teamwork, openness to learning and the courage to admit we do not always have the answer.
  • In this deeply interconnected digital world, the 21st century will be defined by rising generations of skilled young African men and women. With approximately 11 million young Africans expected to enter the labor market each year for the next decade, our development work is dedicated to improving the job prospects, living conditions, and well-being of Africa’s people, especially Africa’s poorest. We believe that by enabling Africans from all walks of life reach their full potential—physically and intellectually—the world will breach the final poverty frontier.
  • Eradicating extreme poverty and catalyzing transformative development across the continent requires supporting our clients to overcome barriers to economic growth and challenges to competitiveness in the global economy. Together we are addressing bottlenecks to doing business, scaling up investments for critical infrastructure, boosting Africa’s human capital, facilitating innovation and technology adoption, and leveraging drivers of growth, notably agricultural productivity.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is recovering from a decline in economic growth, which reached a low of 1.5% in 2016. The economic recovery lost momentum in 2018 but is set to continue. However, structural transformation in the region remains slow and the availability of good jobs has not been able to keep pace with the number of entrants in the labor force. Public debts burdens are rising, fueling debt sustainability risks, and fragility in the region remains widespread with vulnerable populations of extreme poor on the rise.
  • While the overall business climate in Africa is the weakest in the world, several countries including some fragile states have made great strides in improving their environment for business. What is emerging as a result is a growing region, with setbacks from time to time, that is increasingly seen as a destination for investment; and one where leaders are increasingly willing to address problems of poor governance that harms development effectiveness.
  • The Africa Region seeks to seize this unprecedented opportunity to better support our clients in realizing the ambition of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
  • Country Context
  • Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer. It achieved middle-income country status in 2011, during a decade (2004-2014) of impressive economic growth, averaging 7.4% per year. However, growth only benefited a small segment of the urban population and had limited impact on poverty.
  • The WBG’s Country Partnership Framework(CPF) for Zambia for the period 2019-2023 is closely aligned with the government of Zambia’s National Development Plan and Vision 2030. The CPF is supporting Zambia in achieving its development goals, by focusing on three pillars; promoting opportunities and jobs for the rural poor, investing in human capital, and building resilience.
  • Currently, the World Bank portfolio in Zambia includes 14 projects with a total commitment of 1.2 billion United States Dollars. Agriculture accounts for 18% of the World Bank portfolio infrastructure (roads, water and electricity), about 60% of the Bank’s portfolio. The average life of a project is 3.8 years. Other sectors stack up thus: environment (11%), agriculture (10%), finance and private sector development (8%), the public sector (8%), and human development (5%). Grants now account for about 18%of the current total net commitments while credits stand at 82%.
  • Africa External Communications (AFREC) employs an extended team of professionals in World Bank Headquarters and across country offices, including Zambia, to support the overarching goal of advancing inclusive growth in Africa. AFREC uses the full array of communications tools and methodologies to build awareness and understanding and mobilize support for development goals. Work programs cover dissemination through traditional and online media, relationship building, analysis of political and project risks, and design of programs to manage those risks. A strategic renewal within AFREC emphasizes closer alignment with operations in the region, and coordination with the Bank’s External and Corporate Relations network, to ensure that AFREC services are critical to regional and corporate priorities, and that they employ state-of-the art communications tools to disseminate information, build understanding, and connect the Bank to a variety of actors involved in poverty reduction and development.
  • Recognizing that Africa’s economic and social context is rapidly changing, and that communications technologies have revolutionized the ways that information travels, AFREC is building a team of dynamic and innovative professionals prepared to use traditional and digital tools, including social media and multi-media production, to shape the debate on development priorities and trade-offs.
  • The External Affairs Officer will be based in the Bank Office in Lusaka, strengthening the country communications program, with particular attention to providing strategic communications support to complex development projects the Bank supports in Zambia. Working with AFREC professionals in the region and in Washington, the External Affairs Officer will also support corporate communications priorities, including dissemination of World Bank flagship publications, executive visits to the region, and the Bank’s Annual and Spring meetings.
  • As part of the larger AFREC team, the External Affairs Officer will interact regularly with colleagues in Headquarters and in other field offices, as well as with operational teams in the Lusaka office. A willingness to share knowledge, draw on expertise and help create a supportive work environment is critical.
  • AFREC is seeking an experienced and hands-on External Affairs Officer whose primary role is to support the communications to implement effective communications and outreach strategies to support the Bank’s priority in Zambia. This is a locally recruited staff position based in Lusaka,Zambia.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • The External Affairs Officer plans, develops, and implements effective communications and outreach strategies to support the WBG’s corporate, internal, and operational priorities, using the full range of modern communications tools including social media, digital publishing, and multi-media production.
  • It is critical that the communications officer be equipped to gauge risks associated with complex projects and to design and implement strategies to minimize those risks.
  • The External Affairs Officer will report to the AFREC Manager based in Washington, D.C.

His/her specific duties and accountabilities include:

  • Strategies: Responsible for significant portions of planning, design, and implementation of strategies to promote effective communications with external and internal audiences on Bank-financed operations, research products, and campaigns. Helps determine the most effective content and communications interventions to address particular challenges.
  • Risk management: On high-risk operations in the country, must monitor perceptions, track shifts in opinion, and respond to inquiries, while publishing and updating key facts about project goals and milestones. Must be able to interact with operations staff and project teams, organizing meetings with media and civil society as appropriate. Must be able to take the pulse of the country and advise country teams, with analyses on the political economy, especially during election years, and regular monitoring of the media.
  • Relationships: Must be prepared to identify opinion leaders and influential organizations in Zambia and guide a strategy of engagement with these various stakeholders, which might range from parliamentarians to faith-based organizations to business associations. Responsible for convening stakeholder groups for consultations and structured dialogues around projects, knowledge outputs, and country development priorities.
  • Products: Responsible for planning and delivering a range of written products on the Bank’s operational goals, results and knowledge. Outputs range from traditional press releases and Op-Eds to web features, brochures, Q&As, briefing notes, and speeches. Responsible for updating the World Bank’s internal and external websites for the country.
  • Events: Coordinates communications activities and events ranging from press conferences to large seminars and town hall meetings, involving external and/or internal audiences.
  • Representation: Must be prepared to represent the Bank, and Lusaka office, before external and internal audiences, explaining WBG policies and operational goals.
  • Technical and advisory support: Advises Bank managers and project teams on trends, news developments, or changing circumstances that may impact the WBG and its work and helps determine strategic responses. Provides regular communication support to WBG operational teams and government implementing agencies to assure that project goals are well-explained and that affected stakeholders are engaged at all stages.
  • Resource management: Employs appropriate methodologies for handling simple and complex procurement tasks and/or issues. Manages specific line items of unit budget.
  • Mentoring, leadership: May provide technical coaching to staff members or guidance and support to junior staff. May serve as a team leader, responsible for managing performance of team members.

Selection Criteria:

  • Master’s degree with 5 years of relevant experience or Bachelor’s degree with 10 years of relevant experience, in a relevant discipline (communication, journalism, international relations or other related fields)
  • Excellent written and spoken command of English, and the ability to convey complex ideas in a creative, clear, direct, and lively style
  • Proven knowledge of visual communications principles and fluency with design software.
  • Strong understanding and experience with digital content and social media analytics.
  • Strong writing skills; ability with minimum supervision to prepare and edit simple online communication products and develop drafts of moderately complex products in a clear, concise, and web-friendly style.
  • Acute eye for detail.
  • Understands project management concepts sufficiently to propose and develop drafts of online communications plans and strategies with minimal supervision; can apply standard project management tools, methodologies, and processes; is able to identify and mitigate project risks as well as manage project issues.
  • Experience working in an international organization and on conservation and sustainable development issues.
  • In-depth knowledge of international trends and political/economic issues related to development
  • Strong diplomatic, interpersonal, and teamwork skills; sensitivity to working in a multicultural environment.
  • The candidate will also be expected to have the following competencies:
  • Communication Strategy and Execution in International Development:
  • Demonstrates a working proficiency to lead the planning, development, and execution of a communication strategy for moderately complex projects. Leads research efforts to identify and map project stakeholders or intended audiences; leads media and audience outreach, identifying audience needs. Independently implements communication strategies for moderately complex projects and can use feedback from evaluation tools to strengthen programs. Helps others develop this competency. A key skill in this area will be the adoption of digital strategies and marshalling of social marketing techniques to respond to the online communications environment that is increasingly embraced by Zambian audiences.

Broad Business Thinking:

  • Capable of distilling an in-depth understanding of the long-term implications of decisions, both for Zambia and for the Bank.
  • Involves the key players in identifying operational needs, challenges and immediate solutions.
  • Ensures that decisions are supported by relevant stakeholders and can explain the business case for decisions.

Client Understanding and Advising:

  • Looks at issues from the client’s perspective and advocates for clients. Works with others across the VPU to define client needs and develop the best approaches to meet them.
  • Asks probing questions to understand unmet needs.
  • Focuses on achieving sustainable results for clients and proposes solutions to mitigate risks.

Content Development and Editing:

  • Takes full responsibility for the development of content for dissemination.
  • Can ensure the development of communications products meeting WBG standards on structure, clarity, quality, and persuasiveness.

Social Media, Information Channels, and Communication Tools:

  • Demonstrates working knowledge of current media channels and tools, including social media.
  • Modifies communication strategies and products to leverage innovative communication tools and channels.

Relationship Management, Political Awareness and Diplomacy:

  • Builds strategic relationships with critical internal and external constituencies, fostering partnerships that strengthen support for development objectives and mitigate reputational risks.
  • Maintains and leverages high-level communication networks and contacts within key constituencies.
  • Provides guidance to other internal WBG groups on how to best manage critical relationships.

Lead and Innovate:

  • Contributes new insights into development challenges and fashions solutions to complex problems. Adapts as circumstances require.

Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries:

  • Appropriately involves others in decision-making and communicates with key stakeholders. Approaches conflicts as common problems to be solved. Actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches, displaying a sense of mutuality and respect. Integrates WBG perspective into work.
  • Poverty has no borders.
  • Neither does excellence.
  • This is why we continually search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.
  • We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

How to Apply

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