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Economist (Food Security and Early Warning) at FAO

FAO’s Subregional Office for Eastern Africa is responsible for developing, promoting, overseeing and implementing agreed strategies for addressing subregional food, agriculture and rural development priorities. It develops and maintains relations with subregion-wide institutions including Regional Economic Integration Organizations (REIOs). It assists the FAO Representations (FAORs) in the subregion with addressing subregional food security, agriculture and rural development issues at country level. The Subregional Office is a subsidiary of FAO’s Regional Office for Africa.

FAO has a clear mandate for, and comparative advantage in, supporting early warning and early action to protect food security and agriculture. As part of FAO’s overall goal of ending hunger and poverty, Strategic Programme (SP) 5 aims to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises. Under this objective three organizational outcomes prioritize FAO’s role in early warning, prevention and mitigation as well as preparedness and response. FAO already supports or directly manages a range of early warning systems at global, regional and national levels, which are key to resilience programming and has a substantial portfolio of work in supporting nationally led response and, where necessary, directly manages humanitarian and resilience interventions in this sector.

The post is located in the Nairobi, Kenya

Reporting Lines

The Economist will report to the Agriculture Officer of the Resilience Team for Eastern Africa (RTEA) , and will work in close collaboration with staff from the Early Warning Early Action Global team, Office for Africa (RAF), and food security experts of the Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE), and country offices

Technical Focus

Development of tools, capacities and systems for Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) for countries in the Eastern Africa region.

Key Results

Comprehensive technical, statistical, analytical and/or policy analysis services and the development of specialized tools, methodologies, systems and/or databases to support the planning, implementation/delivery and monitoring of the programme of work and related products, projects, publications and services.

Key Functions

  • Plans and leads components of multidisciplinary teams and short-term work groups, leads and/or participates in divisional teams, participates in Organization-wide committees, project teams and working groups and provides specialized expertise on international technical networks and/or technical policy and standard setting bodies;
  • Develops technical, statistical, analytical, monitoring and reporting frameworks, and related tools, methodologies, systems and databases to support the planning, implementation/delivery and monitoring of the programmes of work, products, projects and services;
  • Designs and conducts research, data collection, validation, analysis and/or reporting activities to support the development of technical standards, international instruments, innovative tools and methodologies, flagship publications/technical reports and/or policy proposals as well as the provision of technical specialist and/or policy advice and expertise;
  • Responds to requests and provides technical/policy advice, assistance and solutions to country offices and provides technical backstopping to field projects;
  • Promotes international cooperation and collaboration, advocates best practices and increased policy dialogue and provides technical expertise at international meetings and conferences;
  • Collaborates in capacity development activities involving knowledge sharing, the organization of training workshops, seminars, and meetings as well as the development of related materials and online tools and information kits;
  • Participates in resource mobilization activities in accordance with Corporate strategy and divisional plans.

Specific Functions

  • Oversees the mainstreaming of EWEA in FAO offices in the region/subregion by providing phased capacity building support and training support to Decentralized offices (DOs);
  • Leads regular integrated risk analysis of natural disasters, socio economic risks, conflict, food insecurity and animal health;
  • Monitors and consolidates data from external EWS to cross reference and supplement the warnings generated by FAO systems;
  • Facilitates discussions by bringing together early warning analysts and response planners within FAO as well as other stakeholders working on early warning and resilience analysis in the East Africa region to consolidate early warnings and develop strategic response recommendations;
  • Oversees the implementation of impact analyses and learning of early action projects in the Eastern Africa region, and uses these results to advocate for EWEA policy and programming and assisting in conveying the relevance for responding to food crisis;
  • Organizes outreach initiatives and events to increase awareness of EWEA by decision makers;
  • Serves as FAO focal point at the Resilience Team for Eastern Africa (RTEA) level to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) the Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience Analysis Hub (IFRAH) and provides technical and coordination support, as well as assists the hub in the development and implementation of its strategic direction;
  • Supports FAO participation in relevant key United Nations (UN) coordination mechanisms with the aim to ensure FAO plays a prominent role in the integration of EWEA in key Inter Agency processes.



Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree in economics, natural resources management, food security, agricultural economics or a related field;
  • Seven years of relevant experience in food security and resilience analysis, economic and quantitative analysis of food and agricultural issues, natural resources and/or disaster management or related areas;
  • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).


  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions is desirable
  • Extent and relevance of experience in the establishment, development and implementation of food security early warning systems preferably developed in protracted crises or emergency context;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in conducting analysis and synthesis of diverse early warning, food security and resilience related analyses and communicate results clearly;
  • Demonstrated ability to mobilize resources.


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