Finance Associate, Urban Water Resilience Initiative

World Resources Institute (WRI)
Ethiopia
Position Type: 
Full-Time
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Apply By: 
ASAP

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Job Summary

In this role, you will work with 6 cities in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and South Africa to recommend and develop finance and funding strategies for urban water resilience projects in those geographic contexts. You will work closely with the Project Lead and city stakeholders to identify priority projects in each city and conduct the needed research to identify investment opportunities and financing strategies for 1-2 priority urban water initiatives in each city.

The scope of work for this role will include partnering with city stakeholders (& external consultants, experts as required) to develop early-stage financial planning (including cost-benefit analysis, assessment of co-benefits and identification of project partners), assessing the funding opportunities & revenue streams available for each selected project type (including one time funding – grants, loans, federal transfers etc; and ongoing revenue - taxes, tariffs, fees, levy etc.), and investment needed through the project lifecycle (pre-development, implementation and O&M funding) and producing recommendation to improve project bankability. In some cases, this will involve recruiting and managing partners or consultants to implement the finance research. Working closely with city stakeholders, experts and through own research, you will identify opportunities to meet project funding needs through municipal or state revenue, national or international grants or private sector investment.

You will also conduct research as needed to identify the best options for financing the city could lead on including city budget & revenue allocation, general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, land use regulations/fees, impact bonds, green bonds, special assessment districts, tax increment financing as well as public-private finance options (PPPs, pooled financing, performance contracting, insurance linked solutions, loans, loan guarantees etc) In addition, you will organize and participate in stakeholder workshops to brainstorm, ideate, and integrate financing approaches for initiatives in the city’s urban water action plan. This includes financing for project design and development, implementation, and ongoing project maintenance. He/she will work with city stakeholders and Thriving Resilient Cities Director to scope technical assistance, identify partners to complete technical assistance including detailed analysis to advance projects towards implementation.

You will assess and integrate local policy, regulatory & institutional context while making recommendations on specific interventions governments and development partners can take to improve water sector finance (i.e. recommendations to improve creditworthiness, develop frameworks for green bond initiatives, and improve communication between service providers and lenders). In addition, you will support researching best practices in water financing to share across the Africa urban water resilience network.

This is a one-year position from start date. Extension through December 2022 is dependent on funding.

Job Responsibilities

  • Identify and prioritize funding and financing mechanisms for city water initiatives through taxes, utility rate structures, fees, state and national financing, or new market mechanisms, as well as international development grants and financing options (through bilat and multi-lateral agencies/funds)
  • Scope technical assistance required from partners/experts to support city governments in advancing action on priority interventions, this includes scoping cost-benefit assessment, phasing approaches, and identifying appropriate financing models.
  • Partner with governments and development institutions to build policy actions, legal and regulatory frameworks, standards to improve fiscal capacity of local institutions (local governments, utilities, basin authorities, banks etc) to support development of bankable urban water resilience projects
  • Assess, identify and communicate practical approaches to project financing for public and private sector partners committed to urban water resilience actions in the cohort of 6 cities and beyond.
  • Author/Co-Author knowledge products (e.g. reports, policy briefs, case studies) on best practices in improving financial sustainability of urban water resilience initiatives and interventions that have applicability for the African context
  • Design, organize and implement knowledge exchanges (webinars, convenings etc inviting the right stakeholders, donors, experts) to improve knowledge, awareness and skills of stakeholders in developing bankable urban water resilience initiatives
  • Assist in developing written material including city reports, policy briefs as well as brochures, newsletters, handouts, power points, talking points, and background documents related to financing approaches proposed

Job Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in natural resource economics, microeconomics, finance, or similar
  • Minimum of 5-7 years of relevant, full-time work experience; focus on financial models and water issues crucial; internships may be counted towards this requirement
  • Experience consulting with public sector institutions on financing specifically related to urban water utilities, private-public partnerships, and green infrastructure
  • Experience in consulting or working for a financial institution, experience in financial planning
  • Previous experience in economic modelling or financial research skills
  • Experience with ecosystem valuation, natural infrastructure project analysis, and cost-benefit analysis would be key
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, particularly when it comes to communicating technical concepts to non-technical audiences
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in key issues in sustainable cities, climate resilience, and water-wise development
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of a team, including actively contributing to team discussions
  • Willingness to work effectively under pressure and take on new challenges as required  
  • Extremely well organized, a detail-oriented, independent thinker, effective at organizing tasks
  • Flexible, responsible, and self-motivated Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with teams of individuals and colleagues
  • Full fluency in English required and second language (preferred)
  • Preferred location: This position is Addis based and will need 30% travel regionally and internationally
  • Prior experience of working in the international NGO sector is preferred

How to Apply: Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Program Overview

The WRI Urban Water Resilience initiative works to help cities overcome water challenges through research to illuminate urban water resilience challenges and pathways, partnerships with cities to enhance capacity and demonstrate solutions, and collective action to improve enabling environments. This is a joint initiative of WRI Africa, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and the WRI Water Program, as well as other partners. Together, these programs and offices bring experience creating accessible, equitable, healthy, and resilient urban areas for people, businesses, and the environment. We work with businesses, governments, and civil society to ensure a water-secure future by addressing water quantity, quality, and access challenges together.