Communications Officer

World Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa

Skill Required:, Media and Communication
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
28th June, 2021

Job Description


IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. 

IFC’s Partnerships, Communications and Outreach Vice Presidency manages multilateral engagement and communications – both internal and external – across IFC. The Vice Presidency is responsible for content creation, branding, reputational risk management, relationships with shareholders in Western Europe and Japan, fundraising, and multilateral engagement.

The Global Business Partners Unit coordinates the communications network across the regions where IFC operates. The network’s objectives include supporting IFC’s operations, strengthening IFC’s brand and communicating its development impact to internal and external clients to demonstrate that IFC is the premier development institution focused on the private sector. It promotes IFC’s thought leadership and a better understanding of the key role of private sector in development, as well as managing reputational risks around IFC’s investments and policies. The Global Business Partners Unit is currently searching for a Communications Officer to focus on communications initiatives in Southern Africa and Nigeria.

Role and Responsibilities:

The Communications Officer will work in the Global Business Partners (CGB) Unit to oversee communications strategy and content development across Southern Africa and Nigeria, with flexibility to support other countries/sub-regions as needed. His/her main accountability is to provide strategic oversight, under the supervision of the Regional Lead for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), on all communications work related to IFC’s engagements in Southern Africa and Nigeria, in order to support Regional Management and operational teams active in this group of countries across the super-region. He/she has overall responsibility, under the purview of the Regional Lead for MEA, in designing, executing, and monitoring/evaluating the impact of complex communications strategies, activities, and campaigns about IFC’s work in the sub-region. The Communications Officer provides leadership on broader strategy development and has oversight on the overall work program of consultants across Southern Africa and Nigeria. He/she will work in close coordination with IFC’s teams focused on Risk, Campaigns and thematic issues. He/she will also have the responsibility of collaborating across other sub-regions in Africa.

The work of the Communications Officer will involve articulating compelling narratives on the development impact of IFC’s operations, by working closely with IFC investment and advisory teams, regional strategists and economists, as well as with clients in the private and public sector. He/she will be responsible for ensuring a consistent approach to communications across the sub-region, aligned to corporate priorities and messaging.

The Communications Officer, under the supervision of the Regional Lead for MEA, will engage early with the investment and advisory teams, provide guidance to the Johannesburg based Regional Director, Regional Industry Directors, Country Managers and other operational staff/management in the sub-regions on communications and risk management, as well as contribute to campaigns and content initiatives, develop productive relations with key media, and manage digital communications.

The Communications Officer will support the Regional Lead for MEA  in communications efforts in Southern Africa and Nigeria and will support communications relating to the wider Africa region as needed. He/she will work closely with other communications leads in IFC’s Partnerships, Communications and Outreach Vice Presidency and operational departments.

Specific responsibilities include, among others, the following:

  • Oversee communications in Southern Africa and Nigeria, identifying and communicating high impact projects/stories and engagements across the sub-regions.Manage all internal and external strategic communications in Southern African countries and Nigeria in partnership with operational teams, and ensure that high quality, strategic communication plans are consistently implemented across this group of countries. This includes ensuring clarity, accuracy, relevance, quality and engaging writing in all materials produced.Support the high-level operational visits and high-profile engagements of IFC’s Senior Management to ensure that strong support is provided to communicate IFC’s high impact work and thought leadership.
  • Oversee the work of communications consultants working on Southern Africa and Nigeria and provide support to the Regional Lead for MEA in managing communications programsGuide the CGB communications team in contributing to global and WBG events relating to Southern Africa in partnership with think tanks, WB and MIGA, and other IFIs, in close collaboration with relevant departments across IFC and the WBG.Develop creative and engaging feature and human-interest stories, blogs, profiles, and other materials for internal and external publication and coordinate with the Campaigns and Content team on their work in the sub region.Oversee the proactive monitoring and mitigation of reputational risks and engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs). 
  • This involves ensuring that regional teams support IFC industry teams in developing specific strategies for high profile or potentially sensitive projects, and provide support on reputational risk management, crisis management, and proactive CSO engagement to investment and regional teams on controversial projects in close partnership with the Risk and Public Affairs team.Develop thought leadership activities that help identify development challenges in the sub-regions and the potential solutions, with emphasis on the World Bank Group’s approach of Creating Markets and the new IFC 3.0 strategy.
  • Work closely with other Regional Leads and communications officers in the Global Business Partners Unit to ensure high standards and consistency in strategic communications.The candidate should be available to travel widely across Africa, including in difficult markets where security risks may prevail.The Communications Officer will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Selection Criteria

  • Master’s degree in Communications, Journalism, Political Science, International Relations, Public Affairs, Marketing, Business/Finance with 8 or more years’ experience in corporate communications, international relations, public affairs, political science, or other related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience. In addition, a degree in Business Administration and/or working experience in Investment Operations will be valued.   Strong knowledge, experience, and proven track record of working across Africa with comprehensive knowledge of WBG instruments and operational work a plus.State-of-the art knowledge in field of strategic communications, and ability to address a range of issues related to a business group, including taking the lead on highly visible and sensitive assignments critical to the VPU.Highly developed verbal and written communications skills in English and ability to convey complex messages succinctly and diplomatically.
  • Demonstrates in-depth understanding of target audience, highly effective writing style, and expertise in high-impact messaging to wider and more strategic audience. Crafts strategic, high-level company positioning in the market, linked to desired reputation and branding attributes. Shows sensitivity when delivering politically sensitive communication to large group/public forums and/or strategic parties.
  • Effectively counsels /coaches team members, senior management in their delivery of messages to a variety of constituents, even on challenging topics.
  • Anticipates problems and opportunities; with potential problems, surfaces contributing factors and resolves them before there is negative impact.Coaches others in selecting and using appropriate problem-solving methods.Can proactively advise management on the implications and risks for IFC operations when choosing between certain communication strategies.Creates highly effective strategic vision and has an uncanny sense of how situations can unfold in highly volatile and uncertain market conditions.
  • Experience in working closely with senior leaders on communications and in dealing with media.Proven ability to lead teams to produce high-quality, creatively written and visual communications materials.Proven ability and flexibility to lead and manage teams to work simultaneously on a variety of complex tasks, meet deadlines, provide quality outputs.Proven ability to operate effectively in a multicultural environment.Understanding of multilateral development banks, including the World Bank Group, its policies and operations a plus, as well as basic understanding of current development topics and issues.English proficiency required.WBG Core Competencies for all staff: Client orientation; Drive for results; Teamwork of collaboration and inclusion; Knowledge, Learning and communication; and Business judgment and analytical decision-making.


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