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World Resources Institute

Country Director

WRI Africa aims to be a leading voice for sustainability in selected countries on the continent by developing deep partnerships with key pan-African institutions to ensure our analysis, data and tools encourage large-scale impact. As Country Director, you will play an important leadership and strategic role in co-creating effective, efficient and coherent engagement of WRI in Ethiopia by expanding the reach and impact over time. Reporting directly to the Regional Director for Africa, you will join at the foundational phase of WRI Africa, giving you the opportunity to be an integral part of shaping the history of WRI in Africa. With excellent on-the-ground program experience, research expertise and communications skills, you will focus on development, environment, economic and governance issues which are in line with the expanding work in Africa.

About World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We have been working with leaders in more than 50 countries for more than 35 years, and our over 900 staff are located in offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States. WRI works on seven Global Challenges which need to be addressed this decade: food, forest, water, climate, energy, cities and oceans. In addition, WRI mainstreams crucial issues such as economics, working with the private sector and the finance community, and governments – each of which has a Center with dedicated capacity to support effective delivery of Global Challenge strategies.

The WRI regional office for Africa, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was established in late 2016 and has 10 staff members who are responsible for strategic oversight and cross-cutting expertise, financial management and risk mitigation, fundraising, outreach and communications. They represent WRI on the continent and which is the locus of the Ethiopia country program, with active engagement on, among others, climate mitigation and climate resilience; restoration of degraded lands; urban development and planning; water risk mapping; energy access food security and land-use change.

About the Role

The Country Director, Ethiopia will support WRI Africa’s Regional Office in the design and implementation of its programmatic priorities in Ethiopia and the continent. Also serving in acting Deputy Regional Director capacity as needed. The ideal candidate will have exceptional program skills, sharp analytical thinking and deep research experience and the ability to effectively engage with various national, regional and international stakeholders. Your broad understanding of programmatic work, from planning to execution, should have demonstrable skills in this regard. In particular, you should demonstrate deep knowledge of African development and natural resource challenges, working familiarity with relevant African counterparts in public and private sector, as well as multilateral and civil society organizations.

Purpose of the Role

The Country Director, Ethiopia will:

  • Proactively engage in the design, implementation, monitoring and reporting of WRI Africa’s development strategies as well as program implementation in Ethiopia.
  • Engage with WRI Global Programs and Center teams to support program design that is tailored and locally specific, generates scalable, and potentially globally relevant research findings.
  • Collaborate with the global communications team and support the WRI Africa Director on external representation and effective outreach to donors and African stakeholders such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU).

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Represent the WRI Ethiopia Country Program, and WRI Africa in the absence of the Regional Director, in high-level meetings with donors, partners and government ministries in Ethiopia and beyond.
  • Be an active part of the WRI Africa team to sharpen locally relevant, robust research proposals in Ethiopia that support the implementation of the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) program.
  • Co-create programs that tangibly improve people’s lives and livelihoods based on sound ecosystem management, with a dedicated focus on creating synergies across programs active in Ethiopia, working closely together with staff in the Regional WRI Africa Office, staff in DC as well as in other WRI International Offices.
  • Support staff working in Ethiopia in the preparation of quality inception and progress reports, with SMART documentation of objectives and achievements.
  • Ensure effective, timely and coherent results monitoring, and enhanced shared learning across the Ethiopia (and wider Africa) team.
  • Gather evidence and case stories that WRI Africa can use to demonstrate the economic and human development rationale for policy action by governments in Africa and showcase the impact of (inter)national support.
  • Participate in, and advise on, fundraising initiatives for programmatic work in Ethiopia, including through the development of program proposals and presentations to the local donor community.
  • Support the development of MoUs and programmatic collaboration with pan-African and regional organizations such as AU, UNECA, UN RSC to ensure WRI Africa’s analysis, data and tools can achieve impact at scale.
  • Support the Operations Manager in budget management, financial risk mitigation.

Skills and Experience

  • Advanced degree (PhD or Masters) in environment, economics or development studies, or other relevant fields is desired.
  • Minimum 15 years of full-time work experience in relevant field, with a track record of research experience combined with effective project management.
  • Demonstrated ability to steward relationships with high-level stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society and multilateral organizations, at country and regional level.
  • International experience or prior work in a global organization essential.
  • Fundraising expertise combined with excellent communications and diplomatic skills.
  • Strategic and organized thinker who can juggle multiple, competing priorities.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fast-paced office environment, both independently and as part of a global and regional team.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to encourage collaboration with other programs, international offices, and partners.
  • Track record of effective supervision and mentorship of expert staff.
  • Ability to think creatively and collaboratively about all elements of communications work.
  • Fluency in English required, preference for Amharic as a second language.