Lead Economist at African Risk Capacity, SA

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Background

The African Risk Capacity was established as a Specialized Agency of the African Union (AU) in November 2012 to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and disasters and to assist food insecure populations. Operating under the privileges and immunities of the AU, the ARC Agency, through its Secretariat, provides Member States with capacity building services for early warning, contingency planning and risk finance.

In late 2013 the Agency established a financial affiliate called ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd). ARC Ltd is a specialist hybrid mutual insurance company that issues policies to governments, and which aggregates and transfers risk to the international market. ARC, through ARC Ltd. and after its capacity building activities, provides financing in the form of insurance to African governments to execute pre-approved contingency plans in the event of severe disasters. In order for a country to purchase an insurance policy through ARC Ltd. and thus become a member of the Company, the country must demonstrate through a peer review process its ability to effectively use potential payouts.

In May 2014, with initial capital provided by the Governments of Germany and the United Kingdom, ARC Ltd issued drought insurance policies to a first group of African governments – Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal – marking the launch of the inaugural ARC pool. Due to a poor rainfall season in the Sahel during the 2014/ 2015 season, three of these four first countries received a payout from ARC Ltd to be used for the implementation of pre-approved contingency plans designed to reach those in need. In its second year of implementation ARC Ltd offered insurance coverage to seven countries for the 2015/ 2016 rainfall season and one of these countries – Malawi – received a payout due to the bad season. ARC is now in its third risk pool with 5-6 potential members.

ARC Ltd uses the satellite weather surveillance software Africa RiskView, developed together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), to estimate needs and trigger insurance payouts to those countries affected by poor weather. By allowing Member States to capitalise on the natural diversification of weather risk across the continent, premiums are significantly more affordable than they would be for countries approaching the market alone. Additional countries are working with ARC to join future pools with the target to insure 30 countries by 2020 through drought, flood and tropical cyclone products.

Responsibilities

As ARC prepares to scale up its activities to reach new client countries, it is seeking a qualified candidate to fill the position of Lead Economist.

The Lead Economist will be responsible for the provision of authoritative economic expertise and advice within ARC and act as a catalyst for the generation and enhanced use of economic knowledge within the operations of the institution. The consultant will be responsible for providing timely, authoritative and analytical advice to staff in appropriate forms to enhance the quality, relevance and effectiveness of ARC’s work and instruments in matching the needs of member states.

This will involve planning, leading and executing the economic research and analysis priorities and activities for the institution and developing and implementing strategies, systems and approaches to better integrate the economic information generated into the operations of ARC in order to enhance its value proposition to member states.

Based in the Johannesburg ARC Agency office and working under the direction of the Director of the Policy & Technical Services Department, the contract will be for a consultancy for an initial period of 11 months. The specific duties and responsibilities of the Lead Economist will include:

  • Technical Analysis and Advice: The Lead Economist will be responsible for conducting all economic and financial research and analysis for ARC. S/he will support the Director of the Department and Senior Management in developing and maintaining an overview of regional and continental economic trends and identifying and analysing cross-cutting issues to generate inputs for strategic/programmatic documents and to inform the agenda and departmental and corporate level goals of the institution.

    This will also involve providing authoritative technical advice to all Departments within the institution and designing country-specific and sub-regional and regional policy dialogue strategies that add value to the work of the institution and contribute to international policy dialogue. Apart from conducting relevant research and analysis, this will include development of communications materials, briefs and presentations for ARC senior management and staff as needed.

  • Knowledge Management: The Lead Economist will be responsible for designing and managing an integrated Knowledge Management work plan, including the development of effective instruments and tools to ensure appropriate use of information. This will involve providing strategic and technical advice for ARC’s programme and Knowledge and Content Management by ensuring that (1) economic knowledge is continuously updated and available to all parties concerned; that (2) best practices are continuously identified, documented and made available to clients and peers and that (3) appropriate and up-to-date information and learning tools are available.
  • Client Support: The Lead Economist will be responsible for actively working with the Programme Department to support in-country communication on ARC and its broader economic role and the importance and value of the products offered by the institution. This will involve updating of country risk profiles; working on the preparation of communication and materials to support considerations by member governments; providing support to in-country discussions that will allow governments to make informed decisions regarding participation in the ARC Ltd insurance pools and investments being made in broader risk management strategies.
  • Partnership Building: The Lead Economist will be responsible for identifying, cultivating and managing strong and lasting partnerships with existing and prospective regional and continental technical economic (research) institutions and managing selected partnerships. This will be in support of the broader ARC Partnership strategy which is an integral part of the ARC Strategic framework.
  • Teaching and Capacity Building: In the execution of his/her duties, the Lead Economist should focus on building the capacities of country counterparts and ARC Sec staff on economic trends and issues directly relevant to the ARC mandate. While this component should be done throughout all activities, there may be a need to develop and carry out specific capacity building workshops and events as needed.
  • General ARC Support: The Lead Economist will be required to go on mission travel and represent ARC at conferences, as necessary and perform other tasks as directed by Director of the Policy & Technical Services Department.

Deliverables

  • Develop a workplan for ARC Sec related economic research priorities and activities
  • Lead the update of the ARC Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Lead the implementation of the Cost Benefit Analysis for the Extreme Climate Facility (XCF)
  • Develop the substantive components of the ARC knowledge platform in collaboration with the Communications Department and develop and/or make recommendations to improve or update existing technical and analytical tools, methodologies, systems, databases
  • Design and produce a variety of technical products, reports and policy briefs based on research activities conducted in order to deepen greater understanding of the ARC mechanism and products and associated lessons learned
  • Review and Update of ARC country risk profiles
  • Support capacity development activities including the planning and organizing of training workshops, seminars, and major meetings and the preparation of related information, materials, on-line tools and information kits
  • Support resource mobilization and donor reporting activities

Qualifications & Experience Required

Education

  • Advanced University degree (Minimum Master’s degree) from an accredited academic institution in the field of Economics, Econometrics, or related multidisciplinary field.

 

Experience

  • At least seven (7) years of progressively responsible professional experience in the field of economics with African Union agencies, IFIs, international NGOs, foundations or government services.
  • Experience in economic efficiency/cost-benefit analysis using econometric theory and statistical analysis.
  • Experience in dealing with monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
  • International experience including Africa experience is an asset.

 

Technical Skills and Knowledge

  • Demonstrated skills in economic efficiency/cost-benefit analysis using econometric theory and statistical analysis and the ability to perform analyses with large datasets
  • Demonstrated skills in monitoring and evaluation frameworks
  • Ability to share technical guidance and knowledge at the governmental and peer levels
  • Ability to develop new approaches, techniques or policies in relation to client needs
  • Ability to interpret data, present rational conclusions and defend recommended actions
  • Strong interpersonal, negotiation and diplomatic skills with the ability to establish effective working relations with people at all levels and of different national and cultural background
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks under tight deadlines in a timely manner in a dynamic environment
  • Ability to represent ARC as a trusted and reliable partner

 

Languages

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to present coherent and convincing analysis to various audiences, both internal and external to ARC.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in another official language (French, Portuguese or Arabic) is considered a strong asset.

To apply, email a cover letter and CV to info@africanriskcapacity.org and indicate where you found this vacancy announcement in the body of the email.

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