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Technical Specialist - Private Sector - PAI Unit

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Public, Private Partnership
    • Sustainable trade and development
  • Closing Date: 2020-04-07

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Vacancy Announcement Number 1890
Date of Issue 23/03/2020
Deadline for Applications 07/04/2020
Organizational Unit Sust. Prd. Mkts. & Instit.
Level P-3
Duty Station ROME
Duration of Assignment 2 Years

Organizational context

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 to 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); the (iii) Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA); and the (iv) corporate knowledge management unit.

The Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division (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 Private Sector Advisory and Implementation Unit (PAI) was created to host and coordinate the existing and new initiatives aimed at leveraging additional investments for smallholder agriculture in alignment with IFAD Strategic Framework 2015-2025 and the IFAD11 Reform Agenda, as well as to act as the main coordinating unit for the implementation of IFAD Private Sector Engagement Strategy 2019-2024 (PSS). Current initiatives which are be covered by the PAI include:

  • The Agribusiness Capital Fund (ABC) Fund, a blended finance facility sponsored by IFAD, financed by several development partners, and managed by a private fund manager.
  • The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), an inclusive partnership of actors working in different parts of the global ecosystem for agricultural and related small and medium enterprise (SME) finance and investment.
  • The Food Systems Alliance, a multi-stakeholder platform of various public and private sector actors to catalyze investments and improvements in inclusive value chain development.  

These initiatives are at various stages of maturity and are among the instruments that IFAD could use to implement its PSS. Each initiative is managed by its dedicated teams. The main function of PAI is to ensure cross-departmental coordination through formal mechanisms and implementation of key investment and non-investment activities into private sector operations. 
The Technical Specialist is an expert in his/her thematic specialization. S/He provides technical expertise and strategic guidance at the corporate level and all stages of design, development, monitoring and evaluation of IFAD’s private sector investments. 

The Technical Specialist works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance, and supervision of the Head, Private Sector Advisory and Implementation Unit (PAI). S/He works collaboratively with the thematic Technical Specialists, Country Programme Managers and other staff to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support. The following Key Results Expected/Major Functional Activities are generic and representational; the majority, but not necessarily all, will be performed by the Technical Specialist.

Key results expected / Major functional activities


  • The Technical Specialist will work closely with country directors, technical specialists and Hub directors on the origination, screening, structuring and delivery of IFAD Non-Sovereign private sector operations (NSOs) which could entail both direct funding and use of financial intermediaries. Main accountabilities include: 
  • Work with the Programme Management Department to develop a pipeline of potential investments, including but not limited to NSOs promoting job creation, women economic empowerment and those supporting mitigation and adaptation efforts to climate change;
  • Screen potential NSOs both in terms of development impact and financial soundness, structure and lead the drafting of investment proposals and support PAI Head throughout the internal review process to seek Board Approval;
  • Coordinate with various key divisions at IFAD to ensure efficient and effective review of the NSO proposals;
  • Handle relationship with private sector partners in close coordination with PAI Head, country directors and Hub directors;
  • Participate in field missions at all stages of the project cycle, including during design, implementation and monitoring and undertaking implementation support missions, including supervision of NSOs.



  • Assist PAI head in the delivery of the PAI Unit work plan to build synergies and capacity to ensure close coordination and collaboration among the various teams;
  • Assist PAI head to respond in an adaptive manner to the evolving priorities and opportunities around and within IFAD and the various initiative external partners;
  • Assist PAI head to ensure that PAI  is responsive and delivers to its partners and donors (e.g. the partners and sponsors of the ABC Fund and SAFIN).


The Technical Specialist will ensure country-level access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation on Private Sector investments and establish new knowledge and partnerships. 

Accountabilities include:

  • Support the development of a PS Investment Manual, including description of menu of instruments, policies and procedures, due diligence guidelines, monitoring tools, ESG tools;
  • Support the development of ESG & Risk Scorecards for NSOs;
  • As part of the Operations Academy  and other activities, support the development of training modules focused on developing high performing high impact PS programs;
  • Participate in IFAD-wide thematic discussions and develop appropriate technical and operation;
  • Approaches of relevance to the country/divisional strategies and programmes;
  • Perform other activities necessary to implement IFADs private sector engagement strategy. 


Accountabilities include: 

  • help mobilize additional new resources for IFAD NSOs, through partnerships and outreach activities and develop new relationships with impact investors, foundations and corporate partners to expand resources, market and income opportunities for smallholders.


The Technical Specialist is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the personal use of assigned IFAD resources, including equipment, supplies and, as applicable, staff supervised. He/she may also be asked to supervise work of external consultants.


Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of seasoned technical expertise and input for programs, projects and initiatives related to private sector investments, as well as in knowledge sharing with peers and counterparts.

The work involves both technical analysis and provision of inputs to projects, programs and initiatives, knowledge sharing among peers and counterparts to enhance cooperation, complementarity and synergy and monitoring and evaluation to measure and report on lessons learned and best practices.

The work is considered moderately complex requiring in-depth technical analysis and reporting. Typically operating as a technical specialist at the country or regional levels, the Technical Specialist’s work may be reviewed for technical accuracy, but more typically is reviewed for achieving the established work plan.

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of the Technical Specialist include key stakeholders and partners across IFAD at all levels, and from field to headquarters



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Personal leadership and attitude to change (Level 1)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Continuously seeks to learn, shares knowledge and innovates (Level 1)
  • Focusing on clients: Focuses on clients (Level 1)
  • Problem solving and decision making: Demonstrates sound problem solving and decision-making ability (Level 1)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Manages own time, information and resources effectively (Level 1)
  • Team Work: Contributes effectively to the team (Level 1) Communicating and negotiating: Communicates effectively: creates understanding between self and others (Level 1)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains effective working relationships (Level 1)


  • Proven technical expertise and advice at all levels in the area of private sector finance and investment, notably in assessing private sector investment proposals, review of transactions and complex facilities and interventions using regular and blended finance, conducting due diligence, and recommending financial/investment decisions accordingly;
  • Proven expertise in deploying instruments such as lines of credit, guarantees/risk sharing, equity finance, and other financial instruments that target the bottom of the pyramid or the missing middle market segments; particular experience with risk sharing and guarantee facilities or climate finance is an advantage; 
  • Excellent skills in the design and structuring of private sector transactions, including in the agriculture and rural sectors, with expertise in negotiating deals and business operational partnerships with other partners and co-financiers; 
  • Ability to share technical guidance/knowledge at peer levels and operational staff in the development of viable new private sector initiatives;
  • Ability to reconcile financial and economic analysis with development and impact considerations; expertise with a demonstrated ability to formulate new approaches in respect of partnership building and resources management and building strong relationships with clients, focusing on impact and results.  
  • Strong results-oriented decision-making with the ability to translate business strategies and needs into practical solutions.
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills with the ability to develop a close and effective working relationship with client and counterparts at the appropriate levels, demonstrated by a track record of developing and sustaining effective relationships with clients and stakeholders.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in finance, financial engineering, economics, accounting, business management, or related field. 


  • Minimum of five (5) years progressively relevant experience is required, with at least 2 years of international experience;
  • Ability to provide recommendations in a succinct and clear manner is required;
  • Prior experience advising IFIs or development institutions in the area of private sector operations and organization efficiency would be a plus.

Language requirements:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English is required;
  • Working knowledge of another IFAD language (French, Spanish, Arabic) is desirable.

Other information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD, and they may be assigned by him/her to any of the activities of IFAD, including field assignments and/or rotation within 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.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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