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Country Adviser - Ethiopia

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The Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV)

Background

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has recently completed a two-year pilot phase of the Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV).

TAXDEV works with partner governments in low- and middle-income countries to co-produce modelling tools, conduct applied analysis of key tax and transfer policy and administration issues, and provide technical support to the development of evidence-based policymaking.

In collaboration with partners and a network of academics, the programme also generates high quality, rigorous research on taxation in low and middle-income countries more broadly.

During the pilot phase, IFS successfully established country programmes in Ethiopia and Ghana. Phase II of TAXDEV, lasting four years between Autumn 2018 and Autumn 2022, involves scaling up our involvement in these two countries and expanding our work to two additional countries. This scale-up will involve an implementing partnership between IFS and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Complementary to our applied work with partner governments, Phase II will also involve further academic-quality research based around 4 main themes: i) tax incidence, redistribution and social protection; ii) the impact of tax systems on economic behaviour; iii) tax administration and enforcement; and iv) the political economy of tax and the policymaking process.

About the Role

The IFS is seeking applications for a Country Adviser role for our Ethiopia country programme. This role will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is expected to start in March or April 2019.

During Phase I of TAXDEV, IFS researchers developed a partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) to undertake rigorous analysis of the country’s VAT system and help improve the analytical tools and capabilities of the Ministry’s Tax Policy Division (TPD).

We are seeking a motivated and skilled individual to become a Country Adviser for Phase II of the TAXDEV programme, to:

  • Deepen and strengthen our partnership with the MoFEC and forge stronger links with the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) and other relevant organisations;
  • Conduct applied, policy-relevant analysis and research on Ethiopia’s tax and transfer systems, in conjunction with IFS researchers based in London and MoFEC analysts;
  • Work with the MoFEC to help embed new analytical and dissemination tools and processes at the Ministry, to ensure the TAXDEV programme has a long-run and sustainable beneficial impact, and supports evidence-based policymaking.

The Country Adviser will report to a London-based Country Programme Manager (CPM) and receive training and support from the cross-country IFS and ODI teams prior to, and throughout, the project.

Main Duties

Research Management

Work with MoFEC partners and the CPM to:

  • Ensure strong and productive working relationships between the TAXDEV team, MoFEC analysts, and other relevant government partners, such as ERCA;
  • Map the legislative and administrative frameworks governing tax and transfer policies in partner countries, and keep up-to-date with policy developments and debates;
  • Use this knowledge to help identify tax and transfer policy and research questions that could be addressed as part of the TAXDEV programme, and where appropriate, liaise with the IFS and ODI’s network of researchers and academics to identify opportunities for collaborative research projects;
  • Conduct in-depth data scoping activities, draft and establish data sharing arrangements between the IFS, ODI, MoFEC and other relevant government institutions and establish systems for formatting, cleaning and processing data for analytical purposes;
  • Plan, manage and undertake high quality applied analytical projects, and develop tools with support from the cross-country IFS and ODI research teams. This will involve working with government partners and these teams to determine the appropriate methods, identify potential data sources, conduct analysis, interpret findings and draft reports and policy briefings. In Phase I researchers built two tax and transfer microsimulation models, developed a methodology for costing tax policies, and undertook a study of Ethiopia’s VAT system.  It is expected that these activities will be expanded and extended in Phase II, alongside work on new activities and priorities;
  • Support analysts to respond to questions from policy makers using analytical tools within the time constraints of the budget process, and develop systems and processes to ensure that routine analysis can be conducted efficiently and accurately.

Project management

Work with MoFEC partners, the CPM and any additional researchers involved in a project to:

  • Develop realistic and implementable project plans that meet MoFEC and TAXDEV timelines, and ensure that all project activities progress in line with these plans;
  • Develop and manage the negotiation of research deliverables, work plans and budgets for data collection agencies and sub-contractors (if required).
  • Help to organise workshops, conferences, dissemination events and study tours, including taking a lead in making logistical and travel arrangements.

Training

Work with MoFEC partners, the CPM and any additional researchers involved in a project to:

  • Identify training and professional development needs and objectives, and develop a structured training programme to respond to these needs;
  • Organise and deliver appropriate training workshops and study tours;
  • Develop training manuals that can be used for the continuous maintenance, improvement and embedding of analytical tools, and that can be adapted for publication on the IFS and ODI websites as examples or guides for other countries.

Dissemination and impact

Work with MoFEC partners and the CPM to:

  • Coordinate project communication, liaison and engagement activities to ensure effective coordination with research, policy and technical assistance stakeholders and enable them to feed into ongoing projects;
  • Support the dissemination of project findings and outputs (including policy options or evaluations, follow-on questions or issues identified, and new tools, facts and figures) to government, and where appropriate, external stakeholders;
  • Draft policy reports and briefing notes to support dissemination and impact activities.

 Qualifications, Skills and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in economics, applied public policy, or a relevant social science subject;
  • At least 3 years of experience in research and public policy or international development. Other relevant experience will also be considered;
  • An interest in the economic analysis of public finance and development issues, and a strong motivation to bridge the gap between academic research and issues of practical policy design or evaluation;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to work effectively with wide range of stakeholders, including government partners and researchers;
  • The ability to effectively manage complex project, including outlining project objectives, planning work in a structured and systematic manner in alignment with the stated objectives, assessing progress and making changes to project plans to reflect changing timelines and realities;
  • The ability to work proactively and on own initiative, draw on support from a wide network, and share insights with a broader team of researchers;
  • Outstanding economic reasoning skills;
  • Outstanding quantitative and numeracy skills, including knowledge of mathematical and statistical techniques used in applied public economics and policy analysis;
  • Excellent data management and processing skills – including knowledge of MS Excel, and Stata;
  • Well-developed writing and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to explain complex economic ideas in plain language;
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines;
  • A willingness to maintain the highest standards of intellectual rigour and objectivity;
  • Previous experience of working in a low- or middle-income country;
  • Fluency in Amharic.

Desirable

  • Previous experience of working in a tax policy unit or revenue administration;
  • Previous experience of working on donor-funded tax reform technical assistance projects in a low- or middle-income country;
  • Knowledge of other relevant statistical software packages and programming languages.

Application Process

Interested candidates should submit a CV and a (maximum) 2-page covering letter outlining how your qualifications, skills (including language skills) and experience match those outlined above to the IFS recruitment team.

Please use the email subject line ‘TAXDEV II – Ethiopia Country Adviser Application.’

The deadline for applications is Monday 18 February 2019.

The interview date is still to be confirmed, but will be scheduled for mid-to-late February.

Contract Details

Contract type: Consultancy contract; rates to be agreed depending on experience

Personal Data Disclaimer

IFS will manage this recruitment process but CVs and cover letters may be shared with staff at the Ethiopian MoFEC as both institutions will be involved in the interview process. Details of the IFS's privacy policy can be found here.