Local Economist Lead/Local Urban Economist Lead, (Riyadh),Deadline: 4 January 2018


Vacancy No.


Issue Date:
Deadline :

8 December 2017  
4 January 2018



FSCP in collaboration with Urban Economy Branch, UN-HABITAT




Future Saudi Cities Programme


Local Economist Lead/Local Urban Economist Lead


LICA 7 STEP 1-3 
12 months


1 February 2018


31 December 2018


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the UN agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. The Urban Economy Branch of UN-HABITAT has the mandate to promote local capabilities of local governments to develop financial instruments to keep pace with the demands of rapid urbanization. It also has the mandate to promote plans and provide support for more efficient, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities that foster sustainable urban development.
UN-HABITAT has the mandate of designing and carrying out Planned City Extensions (PCE) with financial feasibility analysis and economic development components to enhance the quality of life, prosperity, sustainability, and equity in the key cities of KSA. In support of the effort, Urban Economy Branch is conducting financial analysis, feasibility studies, and productivity analysis to help Saudi cities become more financially sustainable and economically vibrant. 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the world’s fastest urbanizing places, where countries grew by more than four times in the last 40 years and will more than double again by 2050. The current urban sprawl in most of KSA’s major metropolitan areas has led to tremendous challenges they accommodate these huge increases.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently running a four years program of cooperation with UN-Habitat in order to revitalise the urban planning system and the cope with the new urban agenda that was approved last October in 2016. The program will serve as well the new Vision of the Kingdom “Vision 2030” and its respective programs including the municipal reform program. The program is reviving national regional and city levels reforms where 17 cities were selected to illustrate the reform elements. As part of the FSCP, this revitalisation will be in a form of an integrated profile for every city that was selected of the program. The program will be using the three pronged approach where the city profile will reflect three main elements as follows; urban planning and design, urban legal and governance aspects besides the urban economy and municipal finance base of each city. Others aspects in the city will be included as well


The objective of this position is to assist Future Saudi Cities Programme (FSCP) and Urban Economy Branch (UEB) at UN-Habitat in data collection and other economic & financial analysis for the 17 cities of the program and also help in conducting cost benefit analysis of two demonstration projects.


The quality of economic and financial analysis, which will be conducted mainly by the UEB, depends on the quality of data collected on the ground. Working closely with Urban Economy Branch and UN-Habitat at Riyadh office (FSCP), the local economist will be responsible for the following tasks:
General Responsibilities

  • Obtaining data and information from stakeholders (listed below: economic analysis, financial analysis Rapid Planning Studio, and demonstration project), under each analysis, a set of data is listed as examples, but specific data requirements shall be determined in consultation with UEFB.
  • Provide inputs to the project component in writing, through discussions with the team, and via review of UEFB contributions
  • Support UEFB missions to the cities by preparing the meeting agenda through discussions with UEFB, travel logistics, and participating in mission activities
  • Have a regular (bi-weekly at minimum) meetings with UEFB and provide regular updates to UFB through email between meetings

Economic Analysis

  • General & National level
    • Monitor and brief UEB on KSA strategic developments related to Vision 2030 and other MOMRA initiatives in order to align our work to support such initiatives
      • Strategy & Vision
      • Priority area
      • Trade Agreements
      • Other new relevant developments
    • Overall structure in economic development of KSA
      • The process of decision making and relevant stakeholders
      • Key economic development projects in KSA and its expected outcomes and implications
  • City/regional level analysis for each of the 16 cities
    • Gather existing economic assessments / industry competitiveness analysis studies of 17 cities
    • City endowment assessment
      • Drivers of urban/local economy
      • Human capital
      • Institutions
        • Educational
        • Vocational Training
        • Financial
        • Other
      • Urban economy SWOT analysis
      • Mapping of commercial activities
    • Sector Gross Value Added (Disaggregated sector data / trend over 10 years)
    • Employment data (Disaggregated sector data / trend over 10 years)
    • Collect data to conduct Value Chain Analysis on identified key sector
      • Key stakeholder analysis
      • Sector mapping analysis (spatial element)
        • Key players
        • Access to markets and clients
        • Flow of inputs / intermediary goods / outputs / labor
      • Cost breakdown of products/services 
      • Key challenges & legal framework    
    • Collaborate with UEB to prepare missions to 5 cities
      • Arrange meetings and interviews
      • Carry out interviews / surveys of industry stakeholders
    • Others as deemed necessary 

Municipal Finance Analysis & Demonstration Project

  • General fiscal structure of KSA
    • The overall structure and dynamic between central government and municipal/regional governments in regards to financial planning
    • Decision making process & factors behind the intergovernmental transfers
    • Intergovernmental transfers: Soft or hard constraints?
    • Which expenditure is assigned to which level of government? Who has the mandate? (“Who pays for what?”)
    • General overview of the main sources of funds (income) for the central government
    • Budget allocation: By Industry, by local government, by ministry
    • The role of foreign investments in general and in infrastructure development
    • Legal framework for land-based financing, PPP, and other tools for revenue enhancement
  • Support Urban Economy Branch in completing 2 demonstration projects
    • Complete excel sheets consisting of the following components:
      • Data collection on infrastructure unit cost
      • Data collection on real estate construction cost and sales/rent value  
      • Detailed budget breakdown: data collection on municipal revenue and expenditure
      • Review, consolidate, and present the collected data in excel spread sheet
  • Report on the real estate development process in Saudi Arabia including the roles, responsibilities and processes related to financing, infrastructure provision, construction and sales or rental management

Rapid Planning Studio (RPS)

  • Coordinate with UEB in preparation of RPS
  • Rapid economic/financial assessment of 12 cities
  • Others as required

Extracting Conclusion

  • Collaborate with UEB in consolidating the findings from each city to find the economic pattern in the FSCP cities.
  • Extracting conclusion and giving recommendation

Support to the 2nd Saudi urban Forum

  • Support the preparation of the final program and the session design
  • Collect feedback on session and support the consolidation of the final forum report
  • Carry out backstopping

Carry out any other tasks as required by the FSCP UN-Habitat Team Leader

  • Professionalism – Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Ability to work independently in support of overall programme objectives and take responsibility in incorporating youth and gender perspectives and ensuring equal participation of women and men in all areas of work. Knowledge of Saudi Arabia socio-economic situation as pertaining to youth and women, urbanization issues and challenges and effective liaising with the Saudi government to enhance the trust and confidence of the government in UN-Habitat.
  • Communication – Speak and write clearly and effectively, promote two-way communication, demonstrate openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
  • Teamwork – Promote strong collaboration among colleagues to achieve programme goals and objectives, share credit with team members for accomplishments in the project, and accept responsibility for the team’s shortcomings.
  • Judgment and Decision-Making – Gather relevant information before making a decision and consider the positive and negative impacts of the decision before making them, including those outside of the organization. Propose recommendations or courses or action based on gathered facts and after checking soundness of assumptions.

Education and Work Experience
Advanced university degree, Master in Economics, with good Saudi National and city level economic background with 5 years of experience.  A first level university degree in combination with 10 years of relevant experience may be considered in lieu of the advanced university degree. Progressive experience from working in economics studies and reports at either national or local levels, preferably with urban issues. The candidate must have demonstrated knowledge of and ability to communicate results with both central and local government in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Strong understanding of sector-level economic analysis and infrastructure/real estate development projects and appraisal process in Saudi Arabia, good understanding of private development companies and relevant government institutions  and capacity and experience in collecting and extracting data from existing reports, private development companies, and government institutions


Fluency in oral and written English and Arabic is required.

Other skills
Knowledge of technical cooperation and development issues is an advantage. The consultant should be fully proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and use of interne.  

UN-Habitat offers competitive salaries and benefits based on standard United Nations rates. The level of remuneration of the consultant will be based on experience and qualifications.

Submission of Application

Interested candidates should complete the United Nations Personal History form (P.11) and forward it electronically at the following email address: nora.saiari@unhabitat.org no later than the deadline. Please indicate the vacancy reference number in the subject line of your email.


  • Only short-listed candidates will be notified.
  • Candidates are encouraged to submit their application electronically.
  • UN-HABITAT reserves the right to re-classify the post at a grade lower than the advertised level.
  • Only nationals of those with valid residency permits in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be considered for the post.

UN-HABITAT gives paramount consideration in ensuring the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity in its recruitment process of personnel. To ensure fairness and transparency, selection of candidate will be made on a competitive basis by a selection panel.

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees). UN-HABITAT does not concern itself with information on bank accounts.

Source: UN-Habitat

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.

Deadline/closing date: 
Wednesday, January 4, 2017