Governance Specialist

World Bank, Nepal

Skill Required:, Finance and Accounts
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
2nd September, 2019

Job Description

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions and thirteen Global Practices to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


The South Asia Region (SAR) comprises eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) that range in size from India (with a population of over 1 billion) to Maldives (with 0.3 million people). The region has experienced a long period of robust economic growth, averaging 6% a year over the past 20 years. This strong growth has translated into declining poverty and impressive improvements in human development. The percentage of people living below the poverty line fell in South Asia from 61% to 36% between 1981 and 2008. The proportion of poor is lower now in South Asia than any time since 1981. Still, the South Asia region is home to many of the developing world's poor. According to recent poverty estimates, about 250 million people in the region are below the poverty line, and they make up more than 33% of the world's poor.

The SAR strategy is based on three pillars, which are: promoting growth, enhancing social inclusion, and strengthening climate/environment. Each of these pillars is directly relevant to Nepal, and the Bank’s support to the country constitutes critical elements of the SAR strategy.
Nepal is part of the Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal Country Management Unit and is an IDA borrower. Under IDA 18, Nepal received an allocation of $1.3 billion and is also one of the four pilot countries for the IDA 18 Risk Mitigation Regime, aimed at helping countries address the key drivers of fragility. The Nepal country office is comprised of approximately 80 staff.

Nepal presents unique opportunities and challenges for development. Situated between two of the world’s largest and fastest growing developing economies, China and India, and with per capita gross national income of US$853 (2017), Nepal remains among the poorest countries in the world. Over the past decade, Nepal’s economy has performed reasonably well. Growth averaged 4.3 percent over 2005-15. The incidence of poverty measured against the national poverty line fell by 19 percentage points from 2003/04 to 2010/11, and in 2010/11, 25 percent of the population was counted as poor. However, these gains remain vulnerable to shocks and setbacks, like the 2015 earthquakes which were followed by trade disruptions resulting in the lowest economic growth in 14 years in 2016.

A new constitution that defined Nepal as a federal democratic republic was promulgated in September 2015. With the formulation of the new Constitution in 2015, Nepal has migrated to a federal state structure with autonomous sub-national governments run by elected authorities. Following a series of elections in 2017, seven provincial and 753 local government were established with responsibility for managing funds, functions and functionaries which were previously done through the 75 District Development Committees under the unitary system of government. With the transition to federalism, transfers to subnational governments have increased but weak institutional capacity and weak oversight continue to be a key source of risks that could adversely impact service delivery and the goal of reaching MIC status by 2030.

As Nepal overhauls its government structure, civil servants’ roles and responsibilities and fiscal management, the World Bank’s (WB) support is changing significantly and adapting to the evolving country context. While the new federal structure presents an unprecedented opportunity to develop an engagement that is anchored in the momentous in the country’s political history, it also poses fiduciary risks as decisions and funds are decentralized. The World Bank’s engagement strategy is aligned with the agenda and needs of an emerging federal and local government structure, while building on ongoing support for service delivery, fiscal decentralization, municipal governance, public financial management, private sector development, social accountability, citizen engagement, among others.


An effective and accountable governance framework, in the form of functioning institutions, is a necessary precondition for sustainable poverty reduction. Fragile, ineffective or inexistent institutions have long been put forward as explaining the relative underperformance of economies. Furthermore, poor governance and structural deficiencies in public and private institutions are often prevalent in fragile and conflict affected states. On the other hand, cross-country empirics have confirmed that higher institutional quality is correlated with higher levels of per capita income and greater economic growth. Thus, governance mechanisms and institutions are critical to sustained growth and poverty alleviation.

The Governance Global Practice (GGP) brings together professionals in procurement, financial management, taxation, public management, regulatory policy, transparency, digital governance, law and development, anticorruption, and social accountability to develop innovative, integrated solutions to pernicious institutional problems. The practice utilizes a problem-driven, diagnostic approach, combining global comparative knowledge of reform successes and failures with keen understanding of the institutional challenges and opportunities of developing countries.

The GGP comprises a variety of different professional disciplines working on public institutions, including public sector management, domestic resource mobilization, anti-corruption, procurement, financial management, citizen engagement, and justice reform. The GGP has the following thematic areas:

  • Public Sector and Institutions (PSI) that focuses on key areas that underpin public sector and institutional reform. This group also focuses on high priority cross-cutting issues such as revenue mobilization, global tax issues and fiscal decentralization, open government, and justice for the poor.
  • Financial Accountability and Reporting (FAR) Group that focuses on transparency, financial accountability, and financial Reporting in the private and public sectors. This also includes accountability of institutions, oversight bodies and regulators, as well as financial management functions of Bank-funded operations.
  • Solutions and Innovations in Procurement (SIP) Group that focuses on advancing modern and open procurement systems, integrity in procurement and its fiduciary functions.

GGP interventions range from diagnostics, technical assistance, and advisory services, learning, innovation and knowledge management and sharing, creating peer learning platforms, lending and reform project implementation, and monitoring and reporting. An important part of its responsibilities is to deliver operational support to other Practices, including through inputs for policy-based operations, hands-on implementation advice and direct fiduciary due diligence of investment financing.

The Governance Global Practice is part of the Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI) practice network. Since January 1, 2018, the GGP is implementing an integrated model. This involves the FAR and PSI Groups coming together under regional and global Practice Managers who are responsible for integrated financial management and public sector units. From July 2019, as part of the realignment of global practices in the Bank, the regional PMs have dual reporting to the Governance Global Director and EFI Regional Director.

The integrated unit, ESAG2, covering the Bangladesh/Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka/Maldives/Nepal Country Management Units of the South Asia Region, seeks to recruit a Financial Management Specialist (FMS) to respond to the growing demands of the growing Nepal portfolio in the context of a federalism system of government. The FMS will perform as a member of the various tasks teams of the World Bank financed projects in addition to contributing and/or leading special purpose initiatives.

Duties and Accountabilities:

The selected candidate is expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Assess the adequacy of the Borrowers’ project financial management systems and their ability to manage and monitor World Bank financed projects. This includes budgeting, policies and procedures, internal controls, accounting, financial reporting, auditing, and design of appropriate funds flow arrangements for new operations.
  • Carry out supervision work to ensure that funds are being used for intended purposes, and that projects’ financial management systems are functioning appropriately, including the review of periodic interim financial reports.
  • Assess the selection and engagement of auditors, ensuring their suitability including their independence, and competence to perform; and ensure that the borrower provides auditors with all the relevant information (including Terms of Reference and Bank requirements) necessary to carry out their engagement.
  • Review audited financial statements received, monitor the Borrowers’ compliance with financial covenants including audit compliance, ensure adequate communication with the Borrower and the project implementing agencies with respect to audits and advise as appropriate.
  • Provide advice and support to the Borrower and the World Bank Task Teams on matters affecting financial management.
  • Provide financial management guidance for the development of technical assistance programs and evaluate and monitor their implementation.
  • Provide guidance and advice to borrowers and Bank staff on capacity building in projects and with public sector oversight and accountability institutions.
  • Assess the financial and operational viability of implementing entities (e.g. with respect to revenue earning entities), and to advise on the design and use of financial performance covenants.
  • Monitor implementation of the financial management action plans and provide technical advice to the Government in the implementation of reform actions.
  • Support the Senior and/or Lead FMS who undertakes FM quality assurance and/or serve as a focal point for ESAG2 with corporate units at HQ, including OPCS and WFA.
  • As requested by the PM, undertake other activities, as appropriate.

Selection Criteria:

The position requires a highly-motivated and well-organized professional accountant (CPA, CA or equivalent) with strong analytical, operational, interpersonal and integrative skills. The ideal candidate should also have the following competencies:

Technical Competencies:

  • Master’s Degree in accounting, business, commerce, finance or economics, and at least five years of relevant professional experience in financial management (FM).
  • Ability to conceptualize, design and implement country or sector level financial management capacity building initiatives.
  • Demonstrated ability to task lead FM operations or FM components in operations and ability to interpret financial and project management reports and to determine appropriate remedial actions.
  • Experience in advising clients on design and implementation of FM systems, including financial and management reports.
  • Ability to understand cross-cutting governance issues beyond financial management (e.g., procurement, public sector management) at sector/country level.
  • Knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Accounting Standards (private and public sectors) and International Standards on Auditing.
  • Ability to understand public financial management issues and to adapt financial management knowledge acquired in the private sector to the public sector context.
  • Experience with internal audit and internal control systems and procedures (including familiarity internationally acceptable control frameworks such as COSO), with the ability to assess such systems and recommend remedial action where necessary.
  • A good understanding of the review of financial statements including statements which link financial to non-financial information.
  • Experience in auditing, including assessing audit competence, and the ability to analyze the impact of qualified audit reports and matters arising from management letters.
  • Knowledge of accounting, auditing and financial reporting systems and software packages and other relevant management information systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement complex and multiple tasks and to recommend decisive action under pressure and tight deadlines, independently and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.

Note: Experience and in-depth familiarity with public sector financial management as well as exposure to corporate work, will be a distinct advantage.

Behavioral Competencies:

  • Client Orientation - Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.
  • Drive for Results - Identifies the needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finds solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.
  • Teamwork and Inclusion - Shows leadership in ensuring the team stays organized and focused, and actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches.
  • Knowledge, Learning and Communication - Leads in the sharing of best practice, trends, knowledge and lessons learned across units and with clients and partners, articulating ideas verbally and in writing in a clear and compelling way across audiences of varied levels.
  • Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making - Serves as a trusted advisor to others on their decisions, ensuring alignment across units and optimal impact on the organization.


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