Urban Economist, Pretoria, South Africa

Closing date: Thursday, 6 June 2019

Urban Economist

Job #: req3062

Organization: World Bank

Sector: Urban

Grade: GF

Term Duration: 3 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment

Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Required Language(s): English

Preferred Language(s): Closing Date: 6/6/2019 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC



Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2014, the WBG committed $65.6 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $22.2 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). IBRD and IDA are commonly known as the World Bank, which is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and - as of July 1, 2014 - has introduced fourteen Global Practices (GPs) as well as five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs) to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


GSURR covers a wide Range: (i) developing green, inclusive and resilient cities; (ii) addressing the social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and excluded groups through accountable institutions, and ensuring compliance with social safeguards; (iii) enhancing urban and rural development through supporting and managing the urban-rural transition, assisting local development through developing land tenure, management and information systems; and (iv) assisting in disaster risk management through issues of risk assessment, risk reduction (including flood management, urban drainage, coastal management, and retrofitting of infrastructure), disaster preparedness (including hydromet services, early warning systems, and civil defense), risk financing (including CAT-DDO), and resilient reconstruction (including post-disaster damage and loss assessment).


Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa is occurring at an unprecedented pace. The share of Africans living in urban areas is projected to grow from 38 percent in 2016 to almost 60 percent by 2040, translating to an additional 40,000 new urban citizens every day until 2040. The region's urbanization rate, one of the highest in the world, can lead to economic growth, transformation and poverty. However, many cities in Africa still have not fully captured the benefits of urbanization and poorly managed urbanization has exacerbated existing infrastructure challenges, resulting in increased inequality, urban poverty, proliferation of informal settlements and vulnerability to hazards. Adverse natural events present a serious obstacle for achieving sustainable social and economic development, particularly in vulnerable regions as Sub-Saharan Africa. Disaster affect the poor most severely; unplanned human settlements, unsafe building practices, high population densities, economic growth, and accumulations of assets in risk prone areas has dramatically increased exposure to hazards and increased disaster loss. Climate changed has the potential to significantly worsen the situation.

To this end, the Africa Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit (GSU13&19), brings together a wide range of important and interrelated development and financing instruments to support national and sub-national clients to: harness urbanization and enable effective land management in support of both growth and poverty reduction; foster social inclusion of marginalized groups; support the responsiveness and fiscal, financial, and management capacities of local governments - cities, municipalities, and rural districts - to deliver local infrastructure and decentralized services; strengthen resilience and disaster risk management related to natural disasters; reduce conflict and violence; scale-up access to finance for sub-national governments; and reduce the carbon footprint of cities.

South African urban engagements

The eight metropolitan areas are the key to SA's social and economic future, with estimates that over 71% of South Africans will be living in cities by 2030, and nearly 80% by 2050. Cities are already home to the majority of national economic activity. In 2012, metros accounted for over 62% of economic activity and nearly 58% of all job opportunities. Urban growth has over the past five years exceeded the economic growth rates on non-metro areas and of the country as a whole.

Despite significant service delivery and development gains since 1994, apartheid spatial patterns have largely not been reversed. Urban development patterns have followed a resource-intensive growth plan and experienced inefficiencies across service sectors such as energy, water, waste and transport. Housing policies have entrenched spatial segregation and fragmentation, particularly through a focus on meeting quantity targets by delivering new houses on the periphery of existing townships. This undermines both economic and spatial development goals and contributes significantly to the poor access and affordability of public transport, as both rail and bus services are density-dependent. The proliferation of informal settlements reflects not only the declining ability of the state to deliver houses at the required scale, but also the expressed preference of households to find shelter closer to work opportunities - even in cases of relatively greater vulnerability.

The South African National Treasury, through its Cities Support Program (CSP) has engaged the World Bank in a three-year Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) agreement to provide technical support to the eight metros (Buffalo City, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane). This agreement builds on World Bank engagement in the urban space in South Africa since 2013, initially under a first RAS and then supported by a Bank Executed Trust Fund from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

An urban specialist (with specialisation in economic development / private sector issues) is required to help deliver the project activities. As the work program under the RAS is currently being finalised the appointed individual will be expected to support other deliverables in the region as appropriate to fill his/her work program.

Duties and Responsibilities

The specialist will be responsible for the daily management and implementation of activities under 'Economic Development' thematic area of the South African urban RAS (RAS2) and possible future Trust Funds in the urban sector in South Africa. Further, the specialist will be responsible to deliver or support any country office agreed outputs (CMU WPA allocations) at this stage including development of a township program in South Africa. The specialist may also be called upon to work on urban programs in the subregion.

Main activities under the Economic Development pillar will be:

  • Ongoing support for reform measures in line with the Sub-National Doing Business Agenda (building on the 2018 SNDB report)
  • Technical assistance to metros to improve the business enabling environment (including advisory work, peer-to-peer learning events and implementation support) and particularly leveraging World Bank global expertise.
  • Technical assistance to metros on enhancing their investment frameworks in terms of investment policy and institutional set up as well as metro's promotion, facilitation and retention capabilities.
  • Technical assistance to metros to improve urban economic development skillset of staff
  • Support and drive a set of engagements in selected metros promoting partnerships across municipal and national departments as well as between cities and the private sector.

Duties will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  • Identifying, contracting and managing experts and consultants and ensuring high quality deliverables;
  • Making direct technical contributions to client engagements, in particular analytical and policy reports, and technical support and advisor services. These should be made at a fully professional technical standard, representing the best available knowledge and expertise on the issue at hand;
  • Liaising with National Treasury, relevant sectoral departments and client metros in order to plan and execute project activities;
Liaising with National Treasury, relevant sectoral departments and client metros in order to plan and execute project activities;
  • Supporting task team leaders in operational matters, contribution the production of key deliverables, mission preparation and execution, as well as budget management and meeting reporting requirements.
  • The staff member will report to the Task Team leaders for the various thematic areas on program management and direct delivery matters. The staff member will be mapped to the Urban and DRM Unit for Africa (South and East, GSU13) and report to the Practice Manager.

Selection Criteria

The following requirements must be met:

  • Master's degree in Urban Development/Economic/Business/Public Policy (or related discipline) with at least 5 years of experience directly related to the development agenda, in particular on competitiveness and private sector policy/development issues at sub-national level (regional/local/urban).
  • Past operational experience in areas of private sector development, public sector reforms or working with multilateral organisations and/or non-governmental organisations;
  • In-depth knowledge of private sector development issues as they are manifested in South African cities. Strong theoretical base combining a broad grasp of relevant theory and principles and of involved practices and precedent. Ability to translate theory into practical applications in context of World Bank Group.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills, including strong command of all forms of communication with messages delivered consistently effectively, timely and in an engaging manner. This must include excellent writing skills, including the ability to write reports, briefs and/or policy memos to fully professional technical standard, requiring no additional copy editing or supervision.
  • Outstanding client orientation, including strong client engagement, business development, and contributions to policy dialogue at various levels of government.
  • Excellent knowledge of written and spoken English is essential
  • Prior knowledge and working experience in South Africa are preferred, including a knowledge of the local political economy context, institutional environment, and private sector landscape.
  • The specialist will be expected to be located in the World Bank Group's Pretoria office in South Africa. Noting a possible future office relocation of WBG offices to Johannesburg.


Integrative Skills - working to develop an integrated view across all facets of the current sector;

Knowledge and experience in Development Arena - understand policy making process, distils operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients;

Policy Dialogue skills - Identifies and assess policy issues and plays an active role in dialogue with government and other stakeholders;

Urban Policy, Strategy and Institutions - familiarity with urban policies, strategies, institutions and regulations;

Lead and Innovate - Develops innovative solutions;

Deliver results for clients - Proactively addresses client's stated and unstated needs;

Collaborate within Teams and across boundaries - Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives;

Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and external clients;

Make Smart Decisions - Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Source: UN Jobs

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: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019