Preparing the next generation of African development professionals

By Kate Warren 24 June 2016

Via Devex YouTube channel

In a recent Devex survey of global development recruiters, respondents named the African continent as the region where they expect the most hiring to take place in 2016. A majority of these positions are expected to be filled by national, rather than international, candidates.

As the gravity of foreign aid further shifts to the Global South, more opportunities are opening up for young professionals to take a leadership role in the development of their home countries. But what kinds of opportunities are available and what skills, education and training should aspiring professionals seek to qualify for these positions today and in the future?

In this Devex career webinar, we spoke with Ericka Copening, senior recruitment officer and program manager at the World Bank, and Kate Vivian, assistant dean for admissions and careers at the Paris School of International Affairs, or Sciences Po, about what kinds of career opportunities are available and how to pursue the education and training you need to be qualified.

The World Bank is actively seeking more African nationals to add to their staff—not just for positions on the continent but for international posts including many in their Washington, DC headquarters. In fact, they are launching a special recruitment initiative this fall to bring in more sub-Saharan African talent, Copening shared.

If you want to be qualified for most positions at the bank, a post-graduate degree is almost certainly a necessity. Most mid-career positions require a master’s degree and often a Ph.D. to even be considered. However, the bank is becoming more open and flexible about the profiles they hire, including people with non-traditional backgrounds and from a wide range of universities, not “just the expensive Western schools,” said Copening.

Pursuing the education and training you need to catapult your development career may not be as out of reach as many think, advised Vivian. With online and executive degree programs proliferating, new programs opening up in the Global South—often partnering with Western institutions—and growing scholarship and funding opportunities available for African professionals, there are many ways aspiring global development leaders can pursue the training and education needed to thrive in this sector.

To learn more about these opportunities, watch the full webinar recording above.  

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About the author

Warren kate 1
Kate Warren@DevexCareers

Kate Warren is the senior director and editor of careers and recruiting content at Devex. With more than a decade of international development recruitment experience working with international NGOs, consulting firms and donor agencies, she has a finger on the pulse of hiring trends across the industry and insider knowledge on what it takes to break in.


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