Principal Upstream Officer (Global (cross-sector) Upstream)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Washington, DC, US


Do you want to build a career that is full of meaning and impact? The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. Visit

IFC has embarked on an ambitious new growth strategy (IFC 3.0) to stimulate more investment activity, especially in Low Income Countries (LICs) and Fragile and Conflict affected Situations (FCS). This strategy calls for generating our own opportunities by proactively working “Upstream” to create, deepen, and expand markets and to imagine, design and implement private sector investment projects. It requires taking a systematic approach to understanding the regulatory and sector bottlenecks that prevent the flow of private capital into productive investment in our member countries, and addressing these bottlenecks through World Bank Group wide engagement on policy reforms and programmatic interventions at the country and sector level. It also requires capacity to leverage WBG programs and projects to develop our own proactive sector interventions and to imagine and design projects that generate a pipeline of bankable investments even in the absence of reforms.


In addition to hiring dedicated upstream staff to be integrated within each regional and global industry investment department across the corporation, IFC has appointed a Global Upstream Director to lead a small, high-caliber central department that develops cross-sectoral thematic upstream initiatives which deliver investment opportunities to multiple sector groups.  The department will also work across the IFC and World Bank Group providing leadership to the Upstream initiative and supporting the coordination, learning, operational model and culture change needed to fully integrate and adopt the upstream approach across all operations.


IFC is seeking a Principal Investment Officer in this Global Upstream Department to work with the Director and alongside the various global sector and regional investment departments to support the successful corporate-wide roll-out and oversight of the upstream initiative and to build a portfolio of thematic cross-sectoral upstream initiatives.  The selected candidate will work with the Director and other senior staff to coordinate a small team of investment and operations officers to deliver on the department’s mandate.   


Successful candidates will have proven emerging market project and business development, background, demonstrating project management, influencing, and financial structuring experience twinned with deep sectoral expertise in one or more of the following sectors (Infrastructure including Energy, Transport, Telecommunications, Media, Technology, Water and Wastewater, Urban Development and Municipal Infrastructure; Financial Markets  including Banking, Microfinance, Housing Finance,  and Insurance; or Manufacturing and Services sectors including Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Health, Education, Tourism, Retail and Property).  Expertise in multiple sectors is highly desirable as is experience of disciplined management of a development or investment pipeline/portfolio of multiple projects.


The selected candidates will focus on thematic initiatives that develop high-quality Upstream pipeline across multiple sectors and regions under the supervision of the Global Upstream Director.  They will also support policy work, country strategies and other interventions across the World Bank Group to prioritize various initiatives and to maximize the impact of Upstream efforts.


Candidates with additional change management and consulting experience will be preferred.  This will enable contribution to the departments’ broader mandate of supporting corporate adoption of the upstream business model. 

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Role & Responsibilities

The role and responsibilities of the position will include but not be limited to:

  • Contribute to the formulation, development, dissemination and monitoring of IFC’s Upstream strategy
  • Collaborate across IFC regional and industry teams to identify cross-sectoral Upstream opportunities, test new tools and products and develop a portfolio of scaleable/replicable thematic initiatives that generate pipeline across sectors and regions.
  • Spot game-changing trends, technologies and business models that can bring solutions to emerging markets.
  • Produce regular reports on the Upstream portfolio across regions and sectors including monitoring progress against project milestones and KPIs and support the Director in reporting to IFC Senior Management and the Board.
  • Work with the World Bank to identify and help implement sector and regulatory reforms that are needed to unlock opportunities for private investment.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and form partnerships with staff across IFC and the World Bank Group, sponsors, clients and other external parties to enable delivery of Upstream projects.
  • Facilitate knowledge flow across IFC and the World Bank Group, support ongoing integration of Bank and IFC efforts in country level upstream strategy formulation, and promote adoption of new approaches and best practices.
  • Help build external recognition of IFC’s distinctive capabilities in working Upstream to catalyze greater flow of investment opportunities in the sector.
  • Develop and coordinate the delivery of training programs in collaboration with other departments for the effective onboarding of new upstream staff and for the integration and adoption of Upstream approaches, procedures and lessons learned across all IFC stakeholder groups.
  • Develop and codify knowledge, guidance and lessons from experience for distribution and application across IFC upstream sector/region operations.
  • Refine messaging and communication efforts to support understanding, adoption and integration of upstream practices within IFC’s operations.
  • Continuous refinement of the Upstream operating model to enhance business practices including approval processes, KPIs, templates, meeting structures and incentives.
  • Guidance, oversight and mentoring of more junior staff working on Upstream activities and support to recruitment in the department and across other departments.

Selection Criteria

  • PhD or Master’s degree or equivalent professional qualification in Business, Finance, Economics, International Relations, Science, Engineering, or other relevant field.
  • At least 15 years of relevant experience in project, business and/or program development, to successfully build and finance new business ventures and deep understanding of investments and bankability in emerging markets.
  • Capacity to innovate and challenge the status quo and a proven track record in new idea generation, business development, creating projects/programs from scratch and/or change management. 
  • Strong understanding of the relevant sector and ability to link policy reforms, advisory interventions, investment, and mobilization to deliver solutions and bankable investments at a country level.
  • Experience engaging with and influencing private sector clients, local and national governments and other stakeholders to encourage pioneering business and market development.
  • Experience in project/program management, including executing against implementation plans with defined business development milestones.
  • Experience in monitoring, reporting and disciplined oversight on a portfolio of projects/programs/initiatives.
  • Outstanding analytical and critical thinking skills; demonstrated ability to synthetize complex information and make concrete strategic and tactical recommendations.
  • Excellent people skills, openness to feedback, new ideas, and ability to guide, and motivate others.
  • Candidates with additional change management and consulting experience will be preferred.  This will enable contribution to the departments’ broader mandate of supporting corporate adoption of the upstream business model. 
  • Genuine commitment to development and to the World Bank Group and IFC’s mission, strategy and values.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills in English.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development