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Country Director

Abuja (Nigeria)

  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Abuja (Nigeria)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-21

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Vacancy Announcement Number 2074
Date of Issue 26/05/2021
Deadline for Applications 21/06/2021
Organizational Unit West & Central Africa Div.
Level P-5
Duty Station ABUJA
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 Programme Management Department (PMD), under the leadership of an Associate Vice-President, is responsible for the overall programme of loans and grants of the Fund and is composed of five (5) regional divisions, and an Operational Policy and Results Division (OPR). Under the strategic management and policy guidance of a regional Division Director, the Country Director is responsible for management of the assigned portfolio and related staff.

The Country Director is accountable for the IFAD core values of integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of assigned portfolio. The Country Director’s accountabilities/key results also include advocacy for and enhancement of national government programmes that improve the access of poor rural people to natural resources; agricultural technologies; financial services; markets; employment opportunities and enterprise development. The Country Director additionally promotes capacity building of key government counterparts and the rural poor in terms of the skills required for their participation in national and local policy and programming processes.

The key results expected comprise five broad thematic areas:

  • Country Strategy Management
  • Country Programme Management
  • IFAD Institutional Leadership and Partnership Development
  • Contribution to Policy Leadership
  • Office Management

Country Directors at P5 level are supervised by the relevant Division Director.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

1. COUNTRY STRATEGY MANAGEMENT: The Country Director manages country strategy development for countries within the assigned portfolio of work. S/he is accountable for leading and managing the development and implementation of medium to longer-term strategies (COSOP) for IFAD’s collaboration with governments and other national stakeholders for agricultural development and rural poverty reduction following the principle of ownership, alignment and harmonization. This entails analysis of the dynamics of agricultural development and rural poverty reduction; development of relevant country- specific strategies; and the definition of IFAD’s value added in this context.

2. COUNTRY PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT: The Country Director manages IFAD programme and related IFAD-funded projects within the portfolio assigned by the Division Director, leading the design and supervision of the projects as well as loan and grant negotiations, all in accordance with IFAD’s applicable policies. The Country Director is accountable for analysing relevant information, assisting in the periodic monitoring and evaluation of results achieved and reporting on and dissemination of findings. S/he contributes effectively to the IFAD organizational change agenda, with reference to issues related to IFAD’s direct supervision and implementation support modalities.

3. INSTITUTIONAL REPRESENTATION AND PARTNERSHIP MANAGEMENT: The Country Director serves as a designated IFAD representative at country-level. S/he catalyses effective partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders in agricultural development and rural poverty reduction, including government and non-governmental institutions, bilateral and multilateral financing institutions, civil society organizations, research centers and the private sector. Additionally, s/he enhances IFAD’s relationship and collaboration with in-country partners focusing on synergies and coordinated strategies with multilateral/bilateral donors and civil-society organizations involved in agricultural development and rural poverty reduction. S/he represents IFAD on the UN Country Team, playing a significant role in coordinating operational activities for development, and contributes to all international and national meetings/thematic groups meetings. The Country Director may coordinate the operational work of the assigned portfolio with the relevant Head of an IFAD Sub-regional hub/SSTC and Knowledge Centre and may provide coordination and administrative support to other Country Directors (P5) managing portfolios assigned to one of the areas covered by the respective Sub-regional Hub/SSTC and Knowledge Centre. S/he may also be responsible for the administrative supervision and first-level operational support to the Country Directors (P4) managing portfolios assigned to one of the areas covered by the respective Sub-regional Hub/SSTC and Knowledge Centre.

4. CONTRIBUTION TO POLICY LEADERSHIP: The Country Director contributes to corporate level strategy on core IFAD policy within the assigned portfolio, led by Division Directors. S/he maintains and promotes constructive dialogue on the development of pro-poor agricultural development and rural poverty reduction policies and in enabling the rural poor to advocate for institutional transformation. S/he regularly participates in relevant policy meetings and events of interest to IFAD’s target groups and which involve the government, donors, and civil society, including NGOs, to render the policy dialogue agenda both credible and sustainable. He/she contributes to IFAD’s policy intelligence with regular updates and information exchange on relevant policy discussions and ensure proper knowledge management in place. Policy dialogue focuses on seeking to link the realities on the ground and the voices of the poor with national policies and programmes.

5. OFFICE MANAGEMENT: The Country Director has delegated authority to manage the country office, including the direct utilization of allocated resources. As such, s/he is accountable for the administrative management of human resources, contracting goods and services, certifying payments within established threshold and financial management.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

The County Directors deliver technical and managerial leadership to the substantive development and execution of the assigned portfolio, including providing (i) day-to-day managerial direction to Country Directors and other senior staff (up to P-4 level),managerial direction to programme analysts and officers (up to P-3 level), country programme officers and assistants as well as administrative assistants; (ii) effective representation with government counterparts and other programme collaborators; and (iii) ability to anticipate and manage potential risks to the success of programmes.

Assigned areas may include sub-regional clusters of countries either politically sensitive, high profile or highly complex countries as identified in the country classification matrix.

Representation / Work relationships

COMMUNICATIONS: The Country Director serves as the IFAD spokesperson in the country concerned and, in carrying out this role and when required, draws on the advice and expertise of IFAD’s Communications Division (COM). S/he holds regular consultations with IFAD counterparts — line ministries and governmental bodies at all administrative levels, donors, civil society — to enhance the effectiveness and impact of IFAD operations. The Country Director also seeks to improve coordination among IFAD, the government and key development partners with a view primarily to ensuring synergy and a common approach to emerging agricultural development and rural poverty reduction strategies, policies and investment programmes. S/he serves as IFAD’s liaison with project authorities and helps in addressing administrative and programme-related sbstantive issues, such as targeting and identifying needs for technical backstopping. The Country Director proactively works with project management to ensure compliance with IFAD policies and overall orientation towards the achievement of results and impact. As the senior expert on country programme formulation and delivery, the Country Director’s effectiveness as an advocate and trusted counterpart substantially affects IFAD’s image as a reliable and creative partner.

Extending beyond the parameters of a country programme, and as representative of the Division, the Country Director leverages the impact of IFAD supported agricultural development and rural poverty reduction programmes. S/he has the authority to establish programme agreements for assigned activities within the established strategic direction of the countries assigned. S/he contributes to resolving politically sensitive and/or highly complex issues with governments and partner institutions.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Strategic leadership (Level 2)
  • 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 (Level 2)
  • 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)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 2)


  • Senior expert in programme development and management as well as specific expertise in rural project management and market development.
  • Extensive field experience related to agricultural and rural development.
  • Excellent knowledge of policy oriented, programme based pro-poor approaches and loan and grant preparation.
  • Capacity to communicate fluently with different counterparts (civil society, government authorities, local communities, project staff) to align parties and build networks.
  • Ability to represent IFAD as a trusted and reliable partner.
  • Communicates verbally and in writing clearly, succinctly and convincingly; listens and communicates effectively to engage others.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills in order to identify systemic issues and derive viable, sustainable solutions.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in rural development, agriculture, economics, rural finance, development policy or other job related fields.


  • Ten (10) years of progressively responsible international experience, rural development/financial institutions or government services, preferably in area of implementation and supervision of rural development programmes of which at least 4 years experience working in an international organization. Experience must include project design, development, implementation and evaluation,. At least 2 years (of the total 10) experience in resource (human, financial and material) management in an international organization is an asset.

Language requirements:

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