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Global Upstream Lead - Disruptive Technologies and Funds

Job #: req5692
Organization: IFC
Sector: Upstream
Grade: GG
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: International Recruitment
Location: Washington, DC,United States; Nairobi, Kenya
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s): French, Spanish
Closing Date: 2/22/2020 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC



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 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 engagement on policy reforms and programmatic interventions at the country and sector level. It also requires capacity to leverage WBG programs and projects to (i) develop our own proactive sector interventions and (ii) to imagine and design projects even in the absence of reforms.

IFC's Disruptive Technologies and Funds Group (“CDF”) invests in private sector companies globally. IFC’s CDF has a track record of successful investments in direct venture capital across many sub-verticals, building out start-up business accelerators and investing and co-investing alongside growth equity funds. CDF is unique for both its regional and global prospective on the venture and growth equity space, long-term approach to investments, ability to leverage the resources of the entire World Bank Group, as well as its commitment to maximizing the value of its portfolio companies through sustained assistance. CDF is creating a Global Upstream Unit (GUU) to drive the upstream mandate to incubate opportunities, focus resources, and coordinate initiatives across IFC and the WBG to create new markets. Ultimately, the unit aims to create a multiyear pipeline of investments / projects that accelerate the ability of IFC to meet its strategic development goals.

Connectivity and technological advancements are disrupting the traditional development paradigms, as digital solutions are transforming the delivery of products and services in all sectors. Unfortunately, digitization is still nascent in most emerging markets and unless swift action is taken by the development community, the development gap is expected to increase multiple times for countries which do not get onboard to the Digital Economy. In response to this critical challenge, and aligned with IFC’s new strategy, IFC and IBRD (the “World Bank”), launched a joint initiative called Digital Economy for Africa (“DE4A”) to unlock Africa’s development potential, by promoting digital access, entrepreneurship and digital skills.  Under DE4A, World Bank and IFC staff are offering a “one-stop-shop” solution whereby policy, regulatory, and market specialists provide direct interventions in selected countries, aiming to develop the growth of technology-based solutions and businesses and access to growth capital.  The World Bank and IFC have also decided to extend the Digital Economy initiative to Central America and South Asia.  When combined with the World Bank Group’s ID for Development Initiative (“ID4D”), which is working to create a global simple digital ID combined with biometrics to enhance financial inclusion and other services, opportunities exist for many new business models.

IFC is seeking a Global Upstream Lead – Disruptive Technologies and Funds to be based in Washington, DC or Nairobi, Kenya to drive the Upstream work for CDF, as well as coordinate with colleagues who are focused on other areas such as digital infrastructure and transport. The selected candidate will focus on developing high-quality Upstream pipeline in partnership with the relevant Country/Regional Managers, Regional Industry Managers, Global/Regional sector teams and Regional Upstream Leads. S/he will also support policy work and other interventions across the World Bank Group to prioritize various initiatives and to maximize the impact of Upstream efforts. The position will report to the Senior Director of Disruptive Technologies and Funds.

Duties and Accountabilities

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

 Business Responsibility

  • Identify, assess and prioritize Upstream opportunities based on country and sector strategies and market creation potential.
  • Imagine, design (i.e. develop feasibility studies, market assessments, implementation plans, etc.) and structure Upstream projects that lead to IFC investments.
  • Lead the creation of an Upstream delivery platform across CDF. Support the development of scalable solutions and identify opportunities to pilot and scale up access to capital for high-growth enterprises.
  • Spot game-changing trends, technologies and business models that can help bring solutions to emerging markets.
  • Support staff across IFC in developing proposals and supporting materials for Upstream seed funding and evaluate seed funding proposals.
  • Lead the administration of and reporting of the assigned Upstream portfolio including monitoring progress against KPIs and preparing regular reports on the status of the Upstream portfolio to enable portfolio decision-making.

Client and Stakeholder Responsibility

  • Work with country and sector teams to generate ideas about new investment opportunities, new products and platform businesses by leveraging sector-specific data analysis, stress-testing various operating models, dialogue with stakeholders, and information sharing across the WBG.
  • Work with the World Bank to identify and implement sector and regulatory reforms that are needed to unlock opportunities for private investment, including leveraging the Bank’s lending program.
  • Proactively convene stakeholders, form partnerships and connect expertise from investment and advisory staff, industry specialists, the World Bank Global Practices, sponsors, clients and other external parties to enable delivery of Upstream projects.
  • Coordinate with Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (“WEFI”) on Upstream matters and with CDF Advisory on the TechEmerge Platform.

Knowledge Capture and Management

  • Connect global and regional teams, ensure solutions and knowledge flow across the CDF team, IFC and the World Bank Group, and promote adoption of new approaches and best practices.
  • Build external recognition of IFC’s distinctive capabilities in working Upstream to catalyze greater flow of investment opportunities in the sector.
  • Be a vocal leader in the importance of technology, entrepreneurship and access to capital across the World Bank Group.

People and Resource Responsibility

  • Mentor and coach staff working on Upstream activities.
  • Support relevant manager(s) in staff recruitment and skills development.
  • Support the creation and implementation of incentives to motivate and reward Upstream activities.

Selection Criteria

  • Master's degree or equivalent professional qualification in Business, Finance, Economics, International Relations, Science, Engineering, or other relevant field.
  • At least 8 years of experience in non-routine financing or development of private or PPP projects in emerging markets, mainly in entrepreneurship and technology, as well as relevant experience in project and/or program development, producing feasibility studies, hands-on advisory and/or consulting functions. Experience in general private equity also considered relevant.
  • A deep vision on how technology can transform emerging markets is important. Strong finance skills a plus.
  • Genuine commitment to development and to the World Bank Group and IFC's mission, strategy and values.
  • Understanding of IFC’s strategic priorities and changing business model against the backdrop of IFC 3.0.
  • Demonstrated capacity to innovate and challenge the status quo and proven track record of new idea generation, business development, and creating projects/programs from scratch.  
  • Deep understanding of the space of technology and entrepreneurship and ability to link policy reforms, advisory interventions, investment, and mobilization to deliver solutions at a country level via the Cascade approach.
  • Track record of engaging with private sector clients, local and national governments and other stakeholders to encourage pioneering business and market development.
  • Demonstrated experience in project/program management, including executing against implementation plans with defined business development milestones.
  • Demonstrated experience in monitoring and reporting on a portfolio of projects/programs/initiatives.
  • Outstanding analytical and critical thinking skills; demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information and make concrete strategic and tactical recommendations.
  • Sensitivity for working in multicultural environment, commitment to diversity, and ability to build effective working relationships with colleagues/clients/partners across regions, sectors and business lines.
  • Excellent people skillsopenness to feedback, new ideas, and ability to guide, and motivate others.
  • Ability to mentor and coach junior staff, share experiences and ensure quality.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.
  • Willingness to travel extensively

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.