Energy Specialist, Nairobi, Kenya At The World Bank

Closing date: Thursday, 29 June 2023

Energy Specialist

Job #: req23084

Organization: World Bank

Sector: Energy

Grade: GF

Term Duration: 4 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment

Location: Nairobi,Kenya

Required Language(s): English

Preferred Language(s): Closing Date: 6/29/2023 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit

Eastern and Southern Africa

Home to about half a billion of Africa’s people, Eastern and Southern Africa 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. Children under 18 make up almost half of the total population. The subregion boasts of some of the world’s richest human and natural resources and, apart from South Africa, the countries are predominantly raw material exporters.

The subregion harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile, while significant gaps in education, health, and skills development continues to keep people from reaching their full potential. This creates a huge development challenge, impacts heavily on the lives and livelihoods of people, and hinders regional integration and trade. But it also creates an opportunity to work closely with country leaders, civil society, development partners, and young people to chart a brighter course for the future.

The World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,207 staff, mostly based in 26 country offices, has been helping countries realize their considerable development potential by focusing on the following priorities:

  •  Creating Jobs and Transforming Economies: We are working with countries across Africa to stimulate job creation and economic transformation by leveraging all sources of finance, expertise, and solutions to promote investment.
  •  Building up the Digital Economy: We are supporting Africa’s vision to ensure that every African individual, business, and government is connected by 2030 – a vision that, if realized, can boost growth by up to 2 percentage points per year, and reduce poverty by 1 percentage point per year in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
  •  Institutions more Efficient and Accountable: Our support is helping governments strengthen public policy processes, manage resources effectively, and reinforce fair and reliable delivery of public services.
  •  Investing in People: We are at the forefront of helping African countries accelerate human capital gains and empower women by improving their access to education and skills acquisition, sexual and reproductive health services, and employment opportunities.
  •  Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption: In the face of increasing climate-related risks, we are working with African countries to advance efforts to adopt renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, and green infrastructure.
  •  Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence: Given the cross-border nature of conflicts in Africa, we are employing an approach that simultaneously focuses on the drivers of fragility while also supporting well-targeted regional initiatives to create opportunities for peace and shared prosperity.
  •  Building Partnerships and Working across the African Continent: We are scaling up our work on regional integration, taking a holistic view of the continent that covers both North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank is a dedicated partner for Eastern and Southern African countries, helping them deliver strong development outcomes for their people. A brighter future for Africa is a better future for the world.

Unit Context

The Energy & Extractives Global Practice of the World Bank Group is made up of more than 300 professionals, a lending program in the order of US$5-7 billion a year, an active portfolio of some $40 billion, and a rich program of Advisory and Analytical Work. The EEX GP focuses on: providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy to meet the needs of fast growing economies and to ensure universal access to modern energy services for people in client countries; and, strengthening policy and institutional frameworks to promote transparent and equitable growth of the extractive sectors for public benefit. There is a strong emphasis on private sector resource mobilization and catalyzing financing from commercial and other sources of development and climate finance.

The World Bank Group launched a major, innovative Initiative to accelerate electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa with Distributed Renewable Energy (DARES – Distributed Access with Renewable Energy Scale up) aiming to significantly scale up private sector deployment and funding in Distributed Renewable Energy to provide energy access to at least 100 million people in Africa. To implement this initiative, the World Bank is currently scaling up its support for energy access, including via a regional multi-phase approach (MPA) for Eastern and Southern Africa. Additionally, the Bank initiated the “Electrifying Africa” program designed to address the major challenges hindering progress on clean energy access. These challenges include the lack of comprehensive, national electrification strategies and plans; policy and regulatory gaps to attract private investments; financial viability and operational challenges of mini grid and off-grid companies as well as progressive power utilities; institutional and capacity constraints of implementing agencies; affordability and access to finance challenges; lack of cross-sectoral collaboration, and lack of coordination among donors.

The Initiatives strongly emphasizes the growth of the productive use sector to stimulate job creation, economic growth, and the expansion of energy demand. This focus includes, but is not limited to, applications in agriculture such as irrigation/pumping and cooling, e-mobility, and the promotion of other electric loads like power tools. The initiative also extends to public institutions. Furthermore, the program integrates end-user financing mechanisms, including loans, microcredit, pay-as-you-go models, leasing arrangements, and/or end-user subsidies, to overcome the high upfront cost of productive use. Additionally, the initiative makes use of geospatial market intelligence tools to pinpoint hotspots for the introduction of productive appliances and electrification.

The World Bank on-going energy portfolio in the region includes support for power generation projects, especially renewables such as solar and geothermal; transmission network development and grid distribution including last mile electrification; support for solar mini grids, off-grid stand-alone solar systems for households and communities, solar water pumping and cookstoves in the underserved counties; technical assistance and capacity building of sector institutions; and interconnection with neighboring countries as part of the efforts to enhance the connection to the regional Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) electricity network.

The Bank provides this support through development policy financing; program for results; investment financing support; technical assistance; and guarantee operations. Assisting the governments with policy and regulatory reforms to accelerate electrification comprehensively (grid, mini grids and off-grid) as well as increase investments in renewable energy generation along with the promotion of the regional energy trade in the EAPP and modernizing the electricity network for the needs of a modern economy are among the key areas of the Bank’s deepening engagement in the sector.

The Africa energy sector grouping consists of four Units across two regions of East and Southern Africa and newly created VPU of West and Central Africa. The position is based in Nairobi, Kenya supporting the East Africa unit (IAEE1).

Duties & Accountabilities

The East Africa unit (IAEE1) of the World Bank seeks an Energy Specialist to be a key member of the Energy Team to support the Governments to support the design and implementation of the on-going and future World Bank support in energy in East and Southern Africa in general and in Madagascar, Somalia and DRC in particular (other countries may be added) in its efforts towards provisioning of clean, affordable, and sustainable electricity. The candidate is expected to be a core member of regional initiatives focusing on energy access, in particular the regional energy access MPA program, Electrifying Africa and DARES. The work entails strategic, advisory, and operational work. The main responsibility of the candidate will be to support the scaling of the DRE-sector through ongoing sector dialogue, implementation of the investment lending operations, preparation of pipeline, as well as analytical work in the energy sector. The candidate will be based in Nairobi but travel frequently to the focus countries.

The selected candidate will participate in overseeing implementation of energy access operations with the aim to enhance quality and accelerate implementation and will play an active role in Bank’s policy dialogue with the authorities, development partners, and other stakeholders on strategic energy issues and implementation of ongoing energy sector reforms.

The selected candidate will contribute to the design and implementation of flagship initiatives including Energy Access MPA program, Electrifying Africa and DARES.

The selected candidate will also support teams, provide guidance and mentoring to junior staff on operational, policy dialogue and analytical activities.

The AFR Energy team is a key contributor towards the WBG strategy for “Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) with the objective to help countries maximize their development resources by drawing on private financing and sustainable private sector solutions. The Energy Specialist is expected to actively seek opportunities to apply MFD principles in our work program and build a strong internal WBG partnership with IFC and MIGA, as well as network with private sector partners that can contribute to the achievement of our development objectives.

The responsibilities of the selected candidate will include:

The Energy Specialist, based in Nairobi, Kenya, will support part of the Bank’s energy engagement in East and Southern Africa with primary responsibility to assist in mainstreaming productive uses into DRE and energy access operations. This will involve liaising with cross-sectoral champion organizations, productive appliance providers, end user financiers (including banks, microcredit, pay-as-you-go, leasing, and/or subsidies entities) and geospatial planners, particularly those related to Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE).

The Energy Specialist will be a core team member of AFE flagship energy access initiatives, including DARES, Electrifying Africa and Energy Access MPA.

The Energy Specialist would be expected to:

  •  Support Bank task teams in designing operations (or components of operations) that are focusing on scaling up productive uses of energy, focused both on grid utilities and DRE providers
  •  Initiate and oversee market assessments, including value chain analysis, geospatial analysis and other data and analytics related to identification, design, implementation and monitoring of productive use activities
  •  Be a part of the task force under DARES and Electrifying Africa designing strategies and approaches for scaling up access with DRE in Africa, applying understanding of productive use business models and financing modalities
  •  Facilitate and lead the collaboration between geospatial market intelligence, productive use appliance providers, end user financiers, and electricity service providers (grid, mini grid, and off-grid) during the preparation and implementation of investments supported by the World Bank Group. This includes preparation and implementation of multi-stakeholder roadshows to hotspot areas.
  •  Engage in strong cross-sectoral partnerships with sectors that represent the users of productive appliances/uses, especially agriculture, SMEs, rural development etc., and develop collaborative approaches that build on each sector’s comparative advantages
  •  Apply an understanding of regional financial markets and innovative financing strategies to identify potential sources of funding and investment opportunities for DRE projects with a focus on productive uses. This can involve non-traditional forms of financing such as green bonds, blended finance, and crowd funding.
  •  Advise a range of Governments on energy policy and strategy as well as reform dialogue with an emphasis on incorporating productive uses into a comprehensive approach (grid, mini grid, off-grid) and into broader development policies, in particular promoting cross-sectoral linkages with agriculture, SME and other relevant sectors;
  •  (co-)lead the supervision and implementation support of the existing portfolio, ensuring alignment with the goal of promoting productive uses in DRE and energy access operations.
  •  Lead analytical work on DRE access, particularly the integration of productive uses.
  •  Build a pipeline of new investments backed by quality analytical work that emphasizes the importance of productive uses in DRE and energy access operations
  •  Expand on existing partnerships with development partners and other stakeholders (like EnerGrow, AMDA, GOGLA), to drive the electricity access agenda including improving conditions for access expansion in fragile states and core sector structural and financial sustainability reforms, and
  •  Liaise with the CMU, other GPs, and WBG on energy Access as well as climate change and resilience aspects, with an emphasis on the incorporation of productive uses.
  •  Other responsibilities will include technical support to lending and non-lending programs. Support energy sector strategy development and policy dialogue Support the development of new lending, preparation, and supervision of investment operations in the energy sector. This includes working towards enhancing quality, efficiency and pro-poor focus, while accelerating the implementation of operations Contribute to the development of analytical and advisory reports and studies that revolve around electrification, geospatial planning, policy and regulations, mobilizing (semi) commercial financings, and engaging with private sector. Provide drafting and inputs for sector and country briefings, analytical and advisory reports and studies on electrification, DRE acceleration, utility reform, transmission and distribution, renewable energy; energy efficiency, and other programs within the AFR Energy portfolio and promote the integration of productive uses.
  •  Support the unit’s analytical agenda on improving access to energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  •  Assume an active role in the DRE team with the aim to ensure adequate and appropriate integration of relevant aspects of the energy development agenda in core Bank products, including the country partnership framework, strategic country diagnostic, country economic memorandum etc.; and
  •  Participate in the dialogue with relevant representatives of the private sector, productive appliance distributors, end user financiers, and relevant organizations to understand issues related to the business investment climate and to identify possible areas of collaboration through public-private-partnerships.
  •  Develop strong working relationships with the staff of other donor and financing agencies and co-operate with them in the preparation and supervision of projects, especially in the area of f DRE and productive uses.

Selection Criteria

  •  Master’s degree in engineering, finance, business administration, economics, environment, agriculture, rural development, social sciences or equivalent areas relevant for energy sector development and/or development of productive uses.
  •  At least 5 years of combined experience in the World Bank, other international institutions and/or companies, government agencies, and/or power sector utilities with demonstrated track record of successful engagement with relevant developmental programs and significant portion of this experience in the DRE (Distributed Renewable Energy) field and/or productive uses is a must.
  •  A professional with a broad understanding of the DRE/mini-grid space, productive use appliance provision, and end-user financing. This includes an understanding of financial markets, investment climates, and structuring of deals to support productive uses is a plus.
  •  Experience in productive use sectors, such as agriculture, SME development, rural development, and in particular in developing and implementing user engagement strategies, awareness campaigns, technical assistance/business development services and user financing modalities is a plus
  •  Experience with electrification of schools, health clinics and other public institutions with DREs is a plus
  •  Understanding of operational challenges faced by mini-grid companies, power utilities and productive use appliance providers in the region, and experience in designing solutions to address these challenges.
  •  Demonstrates proven understanding of energy policies, technologies or strategies, private sector participation, utility reform, and institutional development needed to support the mainstreaming of productive uses into DRE and energy access operations.
  •  Experience leading and/or playing key roles in policy dialogue with clients and stakeholders, with a focus on productive uses.
  •  Experience working on/with World Bank or other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) I) lending and non-lending operations is desirable, particularly those related to productive uses.
  •  Experience in working in frontier markets and in particular countries experiencing fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) is a plus
  •  Demonstrates active listening skills and the ability to influence the audience (such as counterparts in government, international partner organizations, academia, and Bank colleagues, senior staff and managers).
  •  An excellent track record in carrying out high quality and timely analytical reports and activities would be advantageous.
  •  Experience working with large global teams, to produce high-quality results and outputs with minimal supervision is required;
  •  High level of motivation, ability to work independently, taking initiative, and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements;
  •  Excellent interpersonal skills and proven ability to build strong partnerships with clients, different stakeholders and colleagues across units and departmental boundaries in a multi-cultural environment with virtual teams located in different countries;
  •  Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, able to communicate complex issues in simple terms and to engage in evidence-based dialogue with clients; French language Skills required, and
  •  Demonstrates strong understanding and able to translate technical analyses into policies, operations and/or research of at least one of relevant thematic business lines such as Energy Access; Economics, Markets & Institution; Oil & Gas; Energy Efficiency; Renewable Energy; Energy Finance; Hydropower; Power Systems & Technologies.

The Five WBG Core Competencies for all staff

  •  Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.
  •  Policy Dialogue Skills – Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.
  •  Integrative Skills – Understands relevant cross-sectoral areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations.
  •  Sector/Network Representation – Demonstrates ability to coordinate, participate in, and act as a catalyst for, strategic cross-sector dialogues within the network, across the country, among Bank colleagues and other development institutions, government, and other organizations.
  •  Project Design for Impact and Sustainability – Contributes to the design of projects and programs, based on an understanding of the country and sector context.

Poverty has no borders. Neither does excellence. This is why we continually search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe. 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.

Note: If you are currently a World Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, you will retain this status. All others will be offered a 4-year term appointment.

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.


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