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Call for Interest: Short Term Opportunity for 12 months - Senior Technical Specialist (Rural Development Report)


  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Rome
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Documentation and Information Management
  • Closing Date: 2023-11-23

Organizational Setting

This call is advertised as a short-term assignment with a duration of 12 months months and expected to start shortly after selection. Should an external candidate (including consultants and staff members not meeting IFAD HR Implementing Procedures' definition of 'internal') be selected, the contract type would be that of a short-term professional (TPO). In the event an IFAD staff member, holding a Fixed Term contract be selected, the movement would be implemented as a Temporary Assignment through the applicable provisions. Applicants should verify and obtain their supervisors' support to be released.

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. 

Key Functions and Results

IFAD is starting the process of preparation of the 2025 edition of the Rural Development Report (RDR), a flagship publication for the organization. Launched in 2016 and with 3 past editions, the RDR aspires to summarize the state of the art in an area of interest for investing in the rural poor. The 2025 Edition of the RDR will focus on financing for rural transformation. The RDR will aim to present an evidence-based policy agenda that informs financing strategies for rural transformation at multiple levels, including institutional, bilateral, country and project levels, as well as for other key stakeholders. 

The initial outline of the report will be as follows:
Chapter 1. Overview of the current financing ecosystem for rural transformation (Background)

  • Provide an outline of the rural transformation agenda and the financing needs for this agenda (drawing on work done around Food Systems Summit). This will include regional context and differences. 
  • Outline of the current financing ecosystem for rural transformation and the role of the key actors (MDBs, Governments, Impact Investors, Climate funds, etc).
  • Level/Types of demand for development financing among developing countries (drawing upon the 2020 IFAD/ODI study and ongoing demand study for the new Strategic Framework).
  • Data analysis of the trends in financing flows, potential evolution of these flows in the future (through foresight analysis), and an overview of the key current debates. This will include an analysis of the level of finance which could currently be absorbed.
  • Literature review of what we know and the knowledge gaps and the needs for fresh insights to inform the work of the key actors in these ecosystems.

Chapter 2. Financing strategies for MDBs and other key actors in the rural transformation financing ecosystem

  • Effective approaches for assembling development financing for rural transformation (including market borrowing, mobilising climate financing, co-financing/collaboration strategies between institutions, working with National Development Banks, building Government capacity to mobilise finance).
  • Effective financial products for Governments to align with demand.
  • Analysis and insights on appropriate institutional risk setting for rural development financing.
  • Understanding the enabling environment and barriers (ie level of development of the finance sector)

Chapter 3. Instruments for de-risking investments in the rural poor – case studies

  • Innovations in financing for the private sector
  • Innovations in green financing
  • Innovations in agricultural insurance  

Chapter 4. Recommendations

  • Actor-by-actor recommendations for effective financing strategies and instruments for financing the rural transformation agenda (linking back to the FS agenda and financing needs)


Specifically, in collaboration with the Senior Project Coordinator, the Senior Technical Specialist (Rural Development Report) will:

  • Provide overall technical leadership of the RDR 2025 development, working closely with the RDR Project Coordinator, as well as the other members of the Strategy and Knowledge front office of IFAD. 
  • Provide expertise on financing rural development and knowledge of IFAD. 
  • Develop and finalisation of the RDR 2025 concept note. 
  • Based on the final concept note, prepare content of key technical tasks (TORs) for background papers. 
  • Technical leadership and oversight of the production of commissioned background papers, working closely with the authors of each paper.
  • Lead on consultations with external organisations.
  • Engage with peer reviewers through peer review board/expert advisory group, taking on feedback and communicating and implementing accordingly.
  • Co-Lead with Project Coordinator on providing updates for IFAD internal governance 
  • Develop short learning notes to share insights coming out of the work as it progresses and help to feed these insights into other IFAD processes including its new Strategic Framework
  • Coordinate the review process of background papers and implementation of substantive reviewing
  • Write and finalise the synthesis chapter
  • Prepare substantive and/or technical content for review by peer reviewers, and lead consultation meetings and Working Groups. 

Other tasks required to lead the delivery of the RDR 2025

Working Relationships

The Senior Technical Specialist (Rural Development Report) will work in SKD’s front office under the leadership and supervision of the AVP SKD and in close collaboration with the SKD’s Knowledge Unit. The incumbent will be the main curator of the report’s contents, drawing on extensive expertise and experience in the field of development financing for rural development to identify areas of focus that will produce practical insights for filling the financing gap for rural development, with content that has high value added and is complementary to existing work on this topic (including ongoing work by FAO and others). 

Job Profile Requirements

Minimum Qualification and Experience: 

  • Master’s Degree in Economics, Business Administration, Finance, Programme Management or similar subject areas. 
  • PhD in Economics, Finance or similar relevant subject areas is highly desirable.
  • At least 8 years of using research and evidence to inform development financing policy and practice
  • Prior experience of serving as the technical lead of a large research project.
  • Ability to draw upon large networks from the development finance community for collaboration.
  • Languages: English mother tongue or fluent in English (with solid written and oral communication), knowledge of other IFAD official language is desirable
  • Excellent writing and verbal communication skills, including delivering written outputs to deadline. 
  • Comfortable working with uncertainty and managing their own schedule.

Other Information

Please note that this 12 month support carries no expectation of extension, continuous employment or conversion to any other type of appointment. Temporary assignments are open to staff members, holding a FT/continuing contract and are governed by the applicable HRIP provisions. Temporary assignments may include movement to a higher grade and granting of a special post allowance (SPA) in line with the provisions of HRIP Chapter 3, and at the end of the temporary assignment staff will return to their former position at the original grade. Applicants should verify and obtain their supervisors' support to release in the event they are selected. Candidates may be required to take a written test and participate in interviews.

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 interviews. 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.

IFAD is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnic, social or political background, colour, nationality, religion, age, gender, disability, marital status, family size or sexual orientation.

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