The World Bank’s strategy to help end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity in Africa takes shape across an array of programs tailored to the circumstances and needs of each country. Working with governments and other partners, the Bank is supporting delivery of basic services, extending safety nets, ensuring food security, strengthening small farmers, and supporting enterprise development. Investments in human capacity and in strengthened institutions underlie development strategies.
Africa’s recently robust growth rates are slowing due to lower international prices for oil and other commodities on which a number of countries depend. Meanwhile, stability and security concerns shape the Bank’s work in eighteen countries categorized as Fragile and Conflict-affected States (FCS), where programs aim to accelerate state rebuilding and lower economic disparities among regions and groups.
Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria has enjoyed solid economic growth in recent years, but oil, which accounts for 90% of exports and 75% of consolidated budget revenues, is reeling from global price declines. And despite successful elections, security concerns from Boko Haram in the north and related problems of displacement persist. World Bank commitments in Nigeria of $1.7 billion in 2015 and $2 billion the previous year underscore the country’s strategic importance, and its role as a major economic engine in West Africa.
As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria carries huge importance for the economic and social well-being of the entire region. Notwithstanding its status as an economic powerhouse, Nigeria is addressing virtually every challenge countries of Sub Saharan Africa are facing: conflict and recovery issues in areas subject to Boko Haram violence; institution-building and resource management; making social safety nets more inclusive and reliable; improving energy supplies for the population.
The Senior Communications Officer for the World Bank in Nigeria must have a firm grasp of this range of political, social and economic challenges and must be well positioned to lead communications interventions that support the country program. The successful candidate must have a deep knowledge and understanding of Nigeria’s political economy and be positioned to engage leaders with media, the private sector, academia and the full panoply of stakeholders in the country. The Senior Communications Officer will have a good understanding of reputation risk management and be responsible for supporting complex Bank-funded projects in Nigeria, and for carrying out dissemination strategies for Bank analytical work using creative tools including social media. Candidates for the position should have a demonstrated capacity for shaping public opinion and influencing the national conversation on critical issues. The individual should also be ready to provide strategic communications leadership and support to other countries and partners in the region when called upon.
Throughout Africa, policymakers and their international partners are recognizing the critical importance of advancing greater integration among African economies, with the Bank and other donors financing a growing portfolio of regional projects. In this context, the Senior Communications Officer in Abuja Bank Office would lead communications efforts in West Africa for regional projects and for the larger agenda of promoting regional integration.
Africa External Communications and Partnerships (AFREC) employs an extended team of professionals in World Bank Headquarters and across country offices 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 Senior Communications Officer will be based in the Bank Office in Abuja, leading the communications program there, with particular attention to providing strategic communications advice to complex development projects the Bank supports in Nigeria. Given the size of the investment portfolio in Nigeria, and the country’s critical importance to the region, the Senior Communications Officer will on occasion lead teams on communications projects, and may recruit and manage consultants to work on communications work. Collaborating with AFREC professionals in the region and in Washington, DC, the Senior Communications 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 Senior Communications Officer will interact regularly with colleagues in Headquarters and in other field offices, as well as with operational teams in the Nigeria office. A willingness to share knowledge, draw on expertise and help create a supportive work environment is critical. The Senior Communications Officer will report to AFREC’s Communications Manager based in Washington, D.C.
Duties and Accountabilities:
The Senior Communications Officer must have state-of-the-art knowledge in field of communications and public affairs, and ability to address a range of issues related to the Bank’s business and development, including taking the lead on highly visible and sensitive assignments critical to the Bank Group. S/he leads 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.
- Strategies: Responsible for significant portions of leading the design and implementation of strategies to promote effective communications with external and internal audiences on Bank-financed operations, research products, and campaigns. Must be prepared to employ the full array of modern communications tools, including social media, to reach key audiences.
- 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 Nigeria, and guide a strategy of engagement with these various stakeholders, which might range from parliamentarians to faith-based organizations to business associations. Must have experience mobilizing, and at times shifting opinions, around critical issues. Must have experience in advocacy work, particularly around strengthened governance, fiscal management and transparency.
- Products: Responsible for planning and delivering a range of written products on the Bank’s operational goals, results and knowledge. Must be capable of writing clearly and concisely. 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 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 in the political economy that may impact the WBG and its work. Having identified such trends, must be able to fashion strategic responses that mitigate risks. 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. Must be able to make strategic use of public opinion research.
- Resource management: Employs appropriate methodologies for handling simple and complex procurement tasks and/or issues. Manages specific line items of unit budget.
Desired Skills and Experience
Typical candidates will possess a Master’s degree in Communications, International Relations/Public Affairs, Journalism, Political Science or related disciplines, with 10 years of experience in designing and leading communications efforts, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- 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.
- Broad Business Thinking:
Capable of distilling an in-depth understanding of the long term implications of decisions, both for Nigeria 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 timely dissemination. Can ensure the development of communications products meeting WBG standards on structure, clarity, and persuasiveness.
- Social Media, Information Channels, and Communication Tools:
Demonstrates mastery of current media channels and tools, including social media. Modifies communication strategies and products to leverage innovative communication tools and channels. Must have experience choosing communications tools and channels based on audience research and strategic goal-setting.
- 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.
- The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in race, gender, nationality, culture, and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.
For further details and to apply, please go to www.worldbank.org/careers and under “current job openings” seek vacancy number 160235. Deadline for applications is February 22, 2016.