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Regional Context: South Asia Region (SAR)

The World Bank Group serves eight client countries in the South Asia Region, home to nearly 1.8 billion people. Clients range from large rapidly growing sophisticated middle-income countries to IDA countries to fragile and small island and landlocked states. Over the past few years, work has focused on the response to the COVID-19 crisis. In FY23, the region delivered $10.5 billion in financing for client countries and a wide range of ASAs and engagements with countries. The focus for the post-pandemic recovery lies on economic recovery and prudent fiscal and debt management; private sector expansion and job creation; climate resilience and improving human capital. The region will continue to support progress on structural reforms and invest in inclusion, gender equality, productive jobs, climate resilience and digital economy.

For more information on the South Asia Region (SAR): https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/sar

CMU Context

Since... the August 2021 fall of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan faces continued economic and poverty crisis conditions amid a difficult political environment. While the economy has recently stabilized, poverty conditions remain dire in the context of depressed activity, largescale unemployment, and continued constraints to banking sector functionality. Conditions for Afghans, particularly women and girls, and prospects for broader international support have been worsened by a series of restrictions announced by the interim administration. The Bank plays a core convening role with international partners who look to the Bank for critical analytics, intervention design leadership and financing. The Bank co-chairs the Afghanistan Coordination Group.

The Bank’s initial response after August 2021 (Approach 1.0) focused on providing financial support to the immediate humanitarian response, specifically health and food distributions through transfers out (TO) to UNICEF ($100 million) and WFP ($180 million), respectively. Currently, Approach 2.0 (March 2022) has made available more than US$1.7 billion in Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF) resources and finances delivery of essential basic services through off-budget recipient-executed grants to UN agencies and international NGOs. Approach 3.0 (endorsed by the Board in February 2024) deploys IDA resources to complement ARTF in the provision of basic services. The Bank has technical engagement with the interim administration. The Bank’s Afghanistan Futures analytics program provides public-good, data-driven analysis that helps drive the international dialogue on Afghanistan and informs global Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) knowledge.

The Bank team evacuated in 2021, and began a gradual return to Kabul in March 2022, which was completed by January 2023. The Bank maintains a small workspace in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Country Director is accountable for performing the responsibilities, modeling the behaviors, and maintaining the technical competencies, as a member of the Regional Management Team. Accountability means being answerable for managing quality, risks, results, institutional initiatives, and compliance with Bank policies and procedures.

Business Management responsibilities:

• Serves as the Bank’s focal point for all communications with country authorities.

• Develops and implements the Bank’s step-wise Approaches in Afghanistan, with an eventual view toward a SCD and CEN that produce practical, visible, and sustainable development results.

• Manages the day-to-day operations of the country office in Kabul.

• Leads or supports the coordination and delivery of the Bank’s strategy and related work program.

• Manages the day-to-day dialogue with the partners, and handles the careful political economy of technical interaction with the interim administration on a broad range of policy and implementation issues.

• Provides guidance and support on local political, social, economic, and other relevant developments to country team members and others. Leads the donors in the Afghanistan Coordination Group.

• Supervises the implementation of high-quality work programs, based on the Approaches and an eventual CEN and attuned to client demand and country context.

• Provides oversight on portfolio management and quality issues, working with clients and teams to provide timely and effective implementation support.

People/ Talent Management responsibilities:

• Leads and motivates the country team with a focus on continuing to rebuild the team after the return to Kabul, beneficiary orientation, development outcomes, partnerships, cross-sectoral coordination, and problem-solving, and takes ownership for achieving and communicating these outcomes to operational staff, and management.

• Manages the CMU and models integrity and inclusion, and offers mentoring and development opportunities for staff.

Resource Management responsibilities:

• Ensures that deployment of CMU resources is consistent with RM rules, policies, and internal controls.

• Sets priorities and allocates budget within and across countries, in line with institutional priorities and a view to improving the impact beneficial to the Bank’s activities.

• Ensures that CMU budget utilization is consistent with regional and corporate priorities.

Relationship Management responsibilities (Internal and External):

• Leads the international community in the Afghanistan Coordination Group. Manages the complex political economy, demonstrating strategic patience with partners, interim administration officials, civil society and private sector. Exercises courageous and transformative leadership in dialogue.

• Works proactively with IFC (and MIGA, when MIGA can resume work in Afghanistan) to leverage World Bank financial and technical support, including with the private sector.

• Appreciates the complexities and relevance of political economy considerations on the Bank’s development efficiency in the region. Collaborates appropriately with other CDs, regional and sub-regional institutions, and partners to improve such efficiency.

Knowledge Management responsibilities:

• Embraces good corporate citizenship, including contributing to the development, implementation, and communication of corporate policies, strategies, and priorities (including ongoing reforms in investment lending, knowledge management, HR policies, and the “Global Bank”).

• Champions corporate and regional management initiatives.

• As the CD in reference to the FCV strategy support collecting and sharing lessons from the Afghanistan engagement with peers and colleagues working in the FCV committee and contributing to the further evolution of the Bank’s strategic engagement in difficult context.

Security responsibilities:

• In accordance with the Framework of Accountability for the WBG Security Management System (WBG Directive), acts as Head of Security for the Duty Station and Duty Station Area responsible and accountable for resident Staff, business and benefit travelers, Registered Dependents and Bank Group property.

• Represents the Bank in the country-level UN Security Management System.

Selection Criteria

• Advanced degree level in relevant field and substantial professional experience, with a minimum of 15 years of experience in positions of increasing complexity and responsibility.

• Prior work experience in achieving results in more than one region, with readiness and ability to work in a context of high fragility.

• Sound operational experience, including extensive knowledge of Bank Group policies, programs, products, and procedures, and exposure to economic and sector work, as well as strategic work in CPSs and other strategy activities.

• Demonstrated results in lending and non-lending products, portfolio management, and implementation support.

• Strong strategic orientation to link macro and sector strategies within a consistent development framework, and to anchor and integrate the overall economic and sector policy dialogue.

• Ability to establish and maintain high-level dialogue with multiple stakeholders and deliver a principled yet pragmatic engagement with diplomatic and tactical acumen.

• Proven capacity to influence and mobilize support across institutional boundaries.

WBG Managerial 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.

Kabul Afghanistan


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