Local recruitment: Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist

The World Bank

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 🇪🇹

Job #:req21453
Organization:World Bank
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type:Local Recruitment
Location:Addis Ababa,Ethiopia
Required Language(s):English
Preferred Language(s):
Closing Date:3/9/2023 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. Established in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It uses financial resources and extensive experience to help our client countries to reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve quality of life. To ensure that countries can access the best global expertise and help generate cutting-edge knowledge, the World Bank Group is constantly seeking to improve the way it works. Key priorities include delivering measurable results, promoting openness and transparency in development, and improving access to development information and data. Innovation and partnership bond the five institutions of the World Bank Group (WBG): the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Visit www.worldbank.org.

Eastern and Southern Africa

Home to about 700 million of Africa’s people, the World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region is a geographically, culturally and economically diverse region of 26 countries stretching from the Red Sea in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South. The region, which includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has an estimated gross domestic product of $945,567 million in 2019. South Africa, an upper-middle-income country, is the region’s largest economy, followed by Angola, Kenya and Ethiopia. Seychelles and Mauritius are the region’s only high-income economies.

The region boasts some of the world’s richest natural resources. DRC produces much of the world’s mined cobalt, and Angola leads the region in crude oil production. For many Eastern countries, agricultural products are the main commodity; Ethiopia and Uganda lead the region in coffee exports, while Kenya is the largest tea exporter. For Southern countries, precious metals and minerals are the biggest exports, including gold and diamonds from South Africa and platinum from Zimbabwe.
While much of Africa’s population lives in rural areas, Eastern and Southern African cities continue to grow. In South Africa, nearly half of the population lives in urban areas, such as Johannesburg, the country’s largest city. This does not translate into a reduction in poverty; however, South Africa remains a dual economy and is one of the world’s most unequal countries.

Additional information on the Eastern and Southern Africa Region: https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/eastern-and-southern-africa

Ethiopia Country Program Context

With about 109 million people (2018), Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria and the fastest growing economy in the region. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita income of $790. Ethiopia aims to reach lower-middle-income status by 2025.

Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth averaging 9.4 percent a year from 2010 to 2019. Ethiopia has made an incredible run on the back of large infrastructure investment financed through a heterodox mix of policies including an overvalued exchange rate. The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has slowed growth to 6.1 percent in 2020, and there are signs that school closures and other containment measures, which disproportionately affected the poor, will widen inequality gaps.
Chronic food insecurity, in combination with climate-related disasters (flood and drought) and the Tigray conflict, is exacerbating humanitarian needs and undermining Ethiopia’s gains in growth and poverty reduction. Ethiopia has been suffering from chronic food shortage. About 8.5 million people currently face high levels of food insecurity, driven by economic decline, COVID-19 measures, desert locust, as well as disaster and conflict-related displacement. The COVID-19 pandemic has had limited health impacts compared to other regions. However, the measures put in place to contain its spread have had negative impacts on food security, and severe social and economic consequences. The 2020 desert locust outbreak destroyed crops and pastures in rain-fed areas of the Amhara, Tigray, Afar, Somali, and Oromia regions, further reducing food availability and impacting the food security and livelihoods of the affected population. Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict has escalated and expanded beyond the original conflict area culminating in a six-month national state of emergency, declared on November 2, 2021. Although the conflict has meanwhile subsided, the state of emergency has been lifted (on February 15, 2022) and a ceasefire between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was signed November 2, 2022. The two-year conflict has led to a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs and exacerbated hunger and malnutrition, threatening to undermine the economic and social development outcomes achieved in Ethiopia. The conflict has also impacted supply chains, transport networks, and economic activities including foreign direct investments, and continues to pose a risk to the economic growth and development prospects of Ethiopia.

The International Development Association (IDA) provides lending and analytics and advisory services to provide support for evidence-based decision-making and stronger implementation on a wide range of development issues. IDA is Ethiopia’s largest provider of official development assistance. IDA has committed more than $20 billion to more than 80 projects in Ethiopia since 1991. 

Additional information on Ethiopia: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ethiopia

Sustainable Development and Water Global Practice

The Sustainable Development practice in Eastern and Southern Africa is led by a Regional Director who oversees the following Global Practices (GPs): Water, Environment, Agriculture, Social, and Urban.  The Water GP is led by a Global Director, supported by nine regional Practice Managers and a Manager for Global Solutions. In addition, the Water GP Leadership team includes five Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) focusing on water supply and sanitation; water resources management; water and agriculture; and water, poverty, and the economy, that work across all regional programs.

The Water Global Practice

Water resources are under unprecedented and increasing pressures, driven by greater climate variability, population and economic growth, land-use changes, and declining quantities and qualities of both ground and surface waters.  With cross-cutting impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihood, water is an essential resource for all life on the planet and is at the center of economic and social development.  Climate change expresses itself through water and sound water management lies at the heart of the resilience agenda. Successful water management requires accurate knowledge of the resource available and an assessment of competing demands for its usage. Making best use of available supplies requires complex and sensitive economic, environmental and socio-political trade-offs. Planning for a more uncertain and more constrained water environment in the future only makes the situation more complex. The world will not be able to meet the great development challenges of the 21st century – human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, energy security, and universal access to services – unless we ensure a water-secure world for all.

The WBG is in a unique position to help governments take such an integrated and strategic approach to solve water supply, sanitation, water resource, hydropower, and irrigation problems through partnership, finance, and knowledge.  The Water Global Practice is poised to deliver on a Water Secure World through an approach that focuses on Sustaining Water Resources, Delivering Services and Building Resilience. The WTR GP also has strong external partnerships and houses the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP), the 2030 Water Resources Group and several regional transboundary programs.  The GP has a close-knit leadership structure, with a Global Director, 10 Practice Managers, 2 Global Program Managers, and Global Leads for (1) Water Supply and Sanitation Service Delivery, (2) Water in Agriculture, (3) Climate Change and Resilience, (4) Water Resources Management and (5) Water and the Economy.  The Global Leads and Leadership team also works closely with other GPs and the SD Regional Directors.  Increasingly, while staff may specialize in one sub-sector, they are encouraged and supported to address the full water agenda in terms of analytical, policy, and operational work. The GP, through its fully integrated GWSP Trust Fund, places highest priority on global knowledge into local implementation, as well as in deploying and providing opportunities for staff to work in operational regions and global products.

The SAEW2 water unit covers water operations for 3 Country Management Units (CMUs) in the AFE region:

(i) Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan;

(ii) DRC, Angola, Burundi, and Sao Tome and Principe; and

(iii) South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia.

The portfolio covers operations on water supply and sanitation, irrigation, and water resources management.  Additional projects are also under development.

In Ethiopia, the SAEW2 unit has 3 active projects:  The One WASH Consolidated Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Account Project (One WASH CWA) (P167794); Second Ethiopia Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project (P156433) for a total of US$805 million, and there is regional integration Ground water for resilience project (P174867) with a regional, Horn of Africa scope for a total of US$385 million of which US$ 210 grant is for Ethiopia.  Additionally, we are collaborating with the Urban/DRM team and the agriculture team in two new operations with significant water components. The One-WASH CWA is a Human Capital-enabling project that has a strong institutional WASH approach, implemented by the Ministry of Finance in close coordination with the ministries of Health, Education and the Ministry of Water and Energy and co-financing by 5 strategic partners. 

For information about Water GP, please visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water


The Water Specialist will report to the Practice Manager and will support the water task team in the portfolio and pipeline preparation for the water and sanitation program in Ethiopia and at the same time, carry out strategic tasks related to the water program across the Country Management Unit. 

The responsibilities will include:

  • Support the task team and the Country Management Unit on various aspects of the water program in Ethiopia including pro-actively following up to address matters as they come up.
  • Co-lead and/or contribute to operations led by water or other GPs (both under implementation and preparation);
  • Coordinate activities under the Ethiopia water program with other members of the water team.  This would include proactively identifying solutions to enhance development impact, including innovations.
  • Coordinate capacity building activities to the client under the Ethiopia water program with other members of the water team to ensure adherence to fiduciary and safeguard requirements.
  • Contribute to the Water GP’s global knowledge and operational platforms, ensuring that the Water GP globality is maintained.  Also, incorporating the Water GP’s strategy in the Ethiopia program through – Sustaining Water Resources; Delivering Services (water supply and irrigation); and Building Resilience.
  • Collaborate with other GPs, given the cross-sectoral nature of water.  The Water GP provides support to other GPs in the Ethiopia program, including with the Education, Health, Social Protection, Urban, Transport, Agriculture and Environment GPs.
  • Contribute as a team member of strategic analytical, advisory services, including policy and regulatory development along with technical assistance linked to enhancing operational engagements.
  • Co-lead discussions with client engagement on matters related to the portfolio and business development.
  • Co-lead the preparation and implementation of regular and interim implementation review & support missions, follow up and support implementation of agreed actions.
  • Engage with donors and development partners to coordinate support to the government on water matters.
  • Assist the Practice Manager on matters related to the Ethiopia work program as needed.
  • Provide cross-support to activities in other countries in the region and SAEW2 unit upon request and agreement with Practice Manager.
  • Ability to travel to project areas in short notice.

Selection Criteria

  • Candidate must demonstrate professional excellence and outstanding oral and written communication skills. The candidate must also demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to find practical solutions to problems and to think strategically. 

The following specific criteria will also apply:

  • At least a master’s degree in water resources, hydrology, hydraulics, sanitation, environment, civil engineering, economics, or a related discipline with a focus on water management.
  • Recognized technical, operational, and/or policy-oriented expertise, with at least 5 years of relevant work experience. This experience may include work in governments, academia, private sector, consulting firms, and/or bi/multilateral institutions.
  • Knowledge of water supply and sanitation services delivery (WSS), utility/institutional reform and public-private partnerships, sector coordination and policy dialogue, private sector participation and pro-poor strategy and program development.
  • Prior work experience and results on the ground and hands-on experience with Government counterpart agencies.
  • Ability to think innovatively and strategically in dealing with technical and/or policy issues while maintaining a strong client focus;
  • Effective verbal, analytical and written communication skills in English, and a demonstrated ability to produce high-quality documents and analytical reports;
  • Knowledge of cross-cutting issues related to the water sector: climate change, environmental and social issues, inclusion, and poverty reduction.
  • Excellent teamwork skills and ability to work and coordinate activities for cross sector work, outside the Water GP.


1. Technology and systems knowledge – Exhibits excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and proficiency of technology or/and systems relevant to functional area.

2. Project and task management – Able to undertake diverse and complex assignments with minimal supervision and resolve competing demands. Demonstrates good organizational skills, can plan and prioritize own work and work of internal clients.

3. Client Orientation– Able to interact with clients with discretion and diplomacy. Demonstrates ability to resolve complex client related issues. Displays understanding of relevant internal and external factors and their impact to the client.

4. Team Collaboration and Across Boundaries â€“ Collaborates with teams across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.

5. Versatility and adaptability – Demonstrates initiative and motivation to proactively learn new developments in relevant policies, procedures and technology. Is able proactively identify, prevent and/or solve problems. Able to participate in change activities and initiatives.

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

7. Institutional policies, processes, and procedures – Demonstrates relevant functional knowledge and understanding of institutional priorities, policies, operational and administrative procedures, and people.

8. Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.

9. Learning, knowledge sharing and communication– Able to communicate in a constructive and professional manner. Can assist in the preparation of written materials in accordance with WB guidelines and best practices. Able to contribute to unit’s knowledge sharing

10. Operational Knowledge Sharing – An ability to design and consolidate core content of operational learning programs, and deliver presentations, trainings and BBLs on various topics. Mentoring junior colleagues in all aspects of operations.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development