Principal Investment Officer

Johannesburg, South Africa, Dakar Senegal, Nairobi Kenya.

16 September 2019


IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In the fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

IFC has embarked on an ambitious new strategy to stimulate more investment activity, especially in Low-Income Countries (LICs) and Fragile and Conflict-affected States (FCS).  This new strategy aims at creating our own opportunities for private investments in riskier markets by proactively working in these countries to create, deepen, and expand the markets themselves.  Delivering on this strategy requires a different approach to delivering integrated and scalable solutions that create new markets through Upstream engagements and the implementation of the Cascade, in very close collaboration with World Bank colleagues at the country and sector level.  Ultimately, it is about creating a new pipeline of bankable operations/ projects.

The Infrastructure and Natural Resources (INR) Industry Department is one of IFC’s key strategic priorities.  The team delivers financial and technical support to clients in the power, transport, telecoms, municipal & environmental infrastructure, oil and gas, and mining sectors, from IFC’s own balance sheet and through mobilization of other capital.  The Department also seeks to maintain IFC, as part of the World Bank Group, at the cutting-edge of helping member countries find solutions to new and emerging infrastructure and natural resource issues. 

IFC is seeking a Principal Investment Officer, Upstream, to drive the Upstream mandate for infrastructure in MEA.  The position is based in Johannesburg, Dakar or Nairobi, reporting to the INR Upstream Manager for MEA.

Duties and Accountabilities

Officers working in Upstream activities are responsible for:

  • coordinating with key stakeholders to create the enabling environment to mobilize private sector investment through regulatory and policy reforms;
  • developing global delivery platforms and business models that can be scaled across regions and sectors; and
  • facilitating transformational projects.

The timeline for these activities to progress from "launch to investment" is 2-3 years or longer and, as such, staff in these roles have multi-year objectives with concrete deliverables (i.e. milestones) for each fiscal year.  The overall objective is to create enabling environments and advance sector markets in both FCS / IDA and middle-income countries.

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

Program Management

  • Work with IFC and other WBG stakeholders to prioritize Upstream projects and initiatives and ensure they are incorporated in relevant sector, country, and regional strategies.
  • Scope and prioritize work program based on these agreed upon strategies and stakeholder engagements.
  • Create development metrics and monitoring approaches to ensure continuous progress in all aspects of the unit’s work.

Programmatic Approaches

  • Identify key focus areas for developing programmatic approaches that have highest potential for scalability and accelerating development impact in most challenging markets and countries.
  • Initiate, co-develop, or oversee the creation of global delivery platforms and instruments – including to mobilize funding from private investors, particularly institutional ones – and identify opportunities to pilot and scale them.
  • Convene knowledge-sharing forums for internal and external decision-makers to expand, diversify, and institutionalize use of new delivery platforms and standardized approaches.
  • Transformational Project Facilitation
  • Lead efforts to incubate high impact projects/initiatives that require Upstream development to become investments.
  • In conjunction with the Upstream Manager, work with regional leadership to ensure identified venture activities and transformational projects are properly staffed, funded, and monitored.

Sector Engagement

  • Engage with decision-makers on how to bring about necessary market, policy, and regulatory reforms and lead the design of innovative interventions to create enabling environments where progress has been difficult.
  • Influence the World Bank’s lending program and projects to support reforms critical for opening private sector opportunities.
  • Promote private sector development in FCS and IDA countries.


  • Scope and prioritize work program to create enabling environments and facilitate transformational projects.
  • Design and launch scalable approaches to accelerate development impact.
  • Manage a portfolio of initiatives in the unit.
  • Track and report milestones and metrics.
  • Convene internal and external stakeholders around priority activities.
  • Mentor, coach, and provide on-the-job learning opportunities for junior staff.
  • Share knowledge and experience including through design and delivery of internal formal learning.
  • Ensure quality control of work performed by the team.
  • Oversee the collation and reporting of all Upstream engagements in Africa, and develop and implement a strategy for internal and external communications, leveraging the support of IFC's global and regional Communications team.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a Master's degree, or equivalent professional qualification, in Business, Finance, Economics, Engineering, or Law plus 10 years of relevant experience.
  • 10 years of experience in the developing world on non-routine financing or development of private or PPP infrastructure projects in challenging environments.  Familiarity with project management, documentation negotiations (PPAs, concessions, EPC and O&M contracts, etc.), financing.  Deep understanding of bankability constraints for greenfield projects a must.
  • Excellent analytical, investment, business development, networking, integration, negotiation, and relationship management skills that enable them to work successfully across IFC/WBG, industry sectors, regions, business lines, and external stakeholder groups (both public and private sector).
  • Commitment to the World Bank Group and IFC's mission, strategy and values.
  • Good understanding of IFC’s strategies, systems, functions and abilities; experience in IFC (or other DFI) “mainstream” operations a distinct advantage.
  • Mastery of IFC/WBG’s products (including de-risking products) and services as well as approaches for mobilizing private sector funding.
  • Track-record of engaging with client companies, shareholders, and government officials to encourage pioneering business and market development.
  • Strong capacity for innovation and challenging the status quo to build the business.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.  Strong interpersonal skills, ability to interact effectively with clients and colleagues from various cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to mentor and coach junior staff, share experiences and ensure quality. 

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.  Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

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