Urban Transport Specialist – World Bank

Urban Transport Specialist
Job #: req8367 Organization: World Bank Sector: Transportation Grade: GF Term Duration: 2 years 0 months Recruitment Type: International Recruitment Location: Washington, DC,United States Required Language(s): English, French Preferred Language(s): Closing Date: 9/1/2020 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2020, the World Bank approved approximately $58.9 billion in financial assistance, comprising about $28.5 billion in IBRD lending and about $30.4 billion in IDA support.

The institution is governed by 189 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with more than 10,000 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 seven client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and fifteen Global Practices (GPs) as well as six Global Themes to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

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 www.worldbank.org


Western and Central Africa is a region with diverse cultures, beliefs, languages, and lifestyles – marked by contrasts of stability and conflict; affluence and poverty. Home to about half a billion people, it encompasses 22 countries stretching from the westernmost point of Africa across the equator and partly along the Atlantic Ocean to the Republic of Congo in the South. The sub-region is rich in resources and brimming of opportunities. It made impressive progress in regional cooperation and includes two monetary unions – the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) that cover 13 countries between them.

Yet these vast opportunities are tempered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, which have Africa only reaching forty percent of its estimated potential. Moreover, conflict, food insecurity, population growth, and the disruptive forces of climate change threaten to curtail or even reverse the progress that has been made over the past decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought back to the forefront the risks posed by weak health systems and poor surveillance. Many countries in the region that learned difficult lessons from the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014 are applying some of the lessons and using all existing instruments and expertise to curb the pandemic while prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable people.


The World Bank Western and Central Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,139 staff mostly based in about 22 country offices, is committed to helping countries to realize their considerable development potential and become more competitive in the global economy 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.
  • 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 Western and Central African countries, helping them deliver strong development outcomes for their people. A brighter future for the region is a better future for the world.


In the West and Central Africa Unit (IAWT3), the World Bank serves 11 client countries (Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone). These clients range from lower middle-income countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana or Cameroon with high demand for infrastructure programs, to fragile and low-income IDA countries such as CAR, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Areas of particular interest for the transport sector in the sub-region include urban transport (Bus Rapid Transit systems), regional integration corridors, trade and transit facilitation, logistics, PPPs, ports, railway, air transport, rural transport for agricultural productivity, and road safety.

The IAWT3 unit has currently 22 staff and is growing. The transport portfolio is includes about 15 projects under implementation, with an aggregate value of about US$ 1.54 billion and a pipeline of 10 projects and analytical activities. This portfolio is diverse and includes projects and analytical work in transport and trade facilitation, urban mobility, port, road and railway sectors, PPPs, Climate resilience and adaptation of the transport sector and transport and human capital (i.e. roads to schools).


Africa’s urban population growth rate is around 4 percent per year, which translates into adding 15 million people per year to the urban population. Furthermore, the total African population living in urban areas is expected to exceed 50 percent for the first time by 2030. However, cities in Africa are underperforming in connecting workers and jobs, people and opportunities and in attracting private investment and capital. They are crowded and disconnected and struggle to cope with growing mobility needs. Private vehicle ownership, which remains very low by international standards, is also increasing rapidly, contributing to the increased congestion and pollution of urban areas. As most African cities lack well-developed public transport networks, the rapid growth in motorization is a major threat to the sustainability of transport infrastructure and services and a major cause of CO2 emissions and local pollutants in Africa. The result is increasingly severe traffic congestion, with growing negative externalities in terms of pollution, health hazards, lower productivity, and lower access to employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable people, notably the poor, which are disproportionally affected .

Sustainable urbanization is critically dependent on good urban spatial planning, and associated transport systems that prioritize public transport. Sustainable transport is expected to make a significant contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) in Africa. The emergence of several rapidly growing mega-cities in Africa, like Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa, and Greater Johannesburg, will put increasing pressure on the quality of urban transport and other services. If African cities are to become the ‘engines of growth’ for the continent, they must be productive and economically viable. Furthermore, economies of scale, supported by efficient and sustainable transport systems, are critical elements to enable urban areas in Africa to achieve their economic potential and reduce poverty. Therefore, developing and implementing sound and sustainable transport policies is critical to enable the transport sector to deliver its full potential in supporting sustainable economic growth, trade competitiveness, poverty reduction, and gender empowerment.

In this regard, many African Capital cities have been considering or are implementing cost-effective mass transit solutions such as bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. With World Bank Group support, Dakar and Abidjan are currently implementing BRT lines and Douala is preparing a BRT project. Several other cities have expressed interest in mass transport systems. While BRT systems span over a large range of options, they are typically infrastructure intensive and provide operationally complex services. As for many public mass-transit systems all over the world, revenues from fares only are usually not sufficient to cover capital, operational, and maintenance and BRTs often require public funding. However, because of the constrained fiscal environment, resources from Governments are limited. Enhancing financial sustainability and commercial viability of African BRT initiatives has, therefore, become a key area of focus for African Governments and their development partners to mobilize additional sources of funding, including private capital.

Role & Responsibilities

The Urban Transport Specialist will be based in Washington on a two-year appointment, but the position will be moved to the field after the first year. She/He will report to the CWAF Practice Manager, Transport. Her/His activities will be identified with the Practice Manager, and adjusted based on business needs. She/He will actively participate in the relevant Country Management Unit (CMU) discussions, particularly on the preparation of Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD) and Comprehensive Partnership Frameworks (CPS), as well as on portfolio reviews. She/He will also liaise and work from other sectors and knowledge groups, as relevant, and ensure appropriate collaboration and partnership between Government, the World Bank Group, and other international and bilateral organizations involved in the transport sector in CWAF countries.

The position requires experience related to public transport system reform, public transport policy and financing, and/or institutional, regulatory, managerial and financing aspects of public transport. More generally, she/he will contribute to efforts in knowledge management to ensure global best practices and lessons learned in the transport sector including critical cross-cutting themes like accessibility, affordability, climate impact, health and safety, inclusiveness, and socio-economic impact.

The Primary Objectives Of The Assignment Will Be To

  • Participate in the policy dialogue on urban transport in West and Central Africa and several urban transport operations;
  • Manage the advisory services to develop the National Support Platform for Urban Transport, which will include translating the overall strategy into work plans, preparing Terms of Reference (ToR) and hiring consultants, coordinating the overall activities, monitoring time schedules, supervising their activities, carrying out technical work, interacting with the client, and carrying out the day-to-day management.
  • Possibly manage loan operations and policy dialogue and other urban transport activities, which could include participation of project supervision and/or support to the preparation of new operations.
  • Support other project teams particularly on technical, financial and institutional issues that involve the implementation of public transport and other sustainable mobility measures.
  • Support analytical activities, particularly on international best practices for the planning and provision of urban mobility improvements and public transport system development.
  • In carrying out the activities above, contribute to projects and knowledge activities and engage with public sector clients in designing and advancing sector reforms and capacity building programs.
  • Participate in cross-sectoral teams responsible for preparation of policy notes, updates of the Systematic Country Diagnostics and/or the Country Partnership Framework, public expenditures reviews, sectoral studies, or research and policy development activities on the topics/sections pertaining to urban transport.
  • Collaborate with and support the Bank-wide professional community of staff engaged in the urban transport sector by participating in transport thematic groups, exchanging best practices, drafting policy and technical notes, and working with or mentoring less experienced colleagues.
  • Stay abreast of recent developments in the urban transport sector world-wide, and on cross-cutting issues, in relation to the topics of specialization for this position

Selection Criteria

Candidates for the position will be selected based on the following requirements:

Minimum Requirements

  • Master’s degree or higher, in transport planning, engineering, economics, finance, or other disciplines relevant to the urban transport sector;
  • At least 5 years professional experience in the urban transport sector with a focus on one or more of the following areas: (a) planning and implementing public transport reform; (b) public transport policy and financing; (c) planning and implementing sustainable transport plans and policies, including land use considerations, multimodal modeling, non-motorized transport, and transport demand management and parking; (d) public transport regulatory, institutional and managerial aspects; and (e) public transport operations;
  • Experience in managing projects and/or other assignments;
  • Proven ability to build client relationships involving multiple stakeholders;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to present complex issues in a straightforward manner;
  • Experience in working on similar programs in developing countries (including middle-income countries), in activities financed by the World Bank or other financing organizations, or in a consultant capacity;
  • Excellent written and oral fluency in English and French (required); and
  • Experience in the design and implementation of initiatives that can harness the opportunities of new technologies (eg. geomapping, geomodelling, “big data” analytics) would be a plus.

Transport Technical Competencies

  • General Transport Engineering and Planning Knowledge – Possesses specialized technical knowledge in the roadway and urban transport fields and ability to translate this knowledge for the practical benefit of clients.
  • Knowledge and Experience in the 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.
  • Transport Policy, Strategy, and Institutions – Solid understanding of policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations that affect both passenger transport and freight logistics.
  • Transport Systems and Technologies – Extensive experience with urban and interurban transport systems and technologies, with ability to apply knowledge to policy-related decisions and advice.
  • 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.

WBG Competencies

  • Lead and Innovate – Develops innovative solutions.
  • Deliver Results for Clients – Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
  • Make Smart Decisions – Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.