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Head of Finance and Operations - Addis Ababa

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Closing date: 31 Dec 2020

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance — The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization with a mission to advance democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and an enabler of sustainable development, through support to the building, strengthening and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all levels. We believe that democracy is a universal human aspiration and an experience that is pursued and lived in different ways around the world. Beyond the basic tenets of citizens’ choice and citizens’ political equality, the critical choices are best made and the quality of democracy is best gauged by those directly concerned: the citizens themselves. We systematically nurture an open and pluralistic understanding of democracy. This is respectful of the national context, and is in line with our non-prescriptive and non-intrusive approach, as well as with the priorities set by national actors. International IDEA produces, shares and enables the use of comparative knowledge in its key areas of expertise: electoral processes, constitution building processes, political participation and representation, as well as on democracy as it relates to gender and inclusion, conflict sensitivity and sustainable development. It has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and offices in the Africa and West Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe regions. International IDEA is a Permanent Observer to the United Nations.


The Africa and West Asia (AWA) Region is one of four Regional Programmes at International IDEA. Its geographical scope encompasses 66 countries out of which it has a programmatic footprint in about 44 of them. Region-wide activities are coordinated from its base in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but sub-regional and country offices are also maintained in Maputo (Mozambique), Tunis (Tunisia), and Khartoum (The Sudan). Plans are ongoing for the opening of other country and project offices in 2021in accordance with growing programme demands. The work of the Region encompasses the three main thematic pillars around which International IDEA programmes its activities. These are constitution-building, electoral processes, and political participation and representation. Special attention is devoted to the role of women and the youth in light of the values of the Institute on gender equality and the youthful demographics of the countries that make up the Region. Also, a considerable part of ongoing programming is focused on the post-conflict, post-authoritarian transitions that abound in the Region. Overall, the AWA Region is a dynamic growth pole of the Institute that offers exciting opportunities to professionals interested in contributing to the promotion of democratic change and development.

With a proven record of managerial skills in a demanding environment, the Head of Finance and Operations works under the leadership of and in concert with the Regional Director to support a growing team of diverse and talented staff members across the Region. In this role, s/he is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient, financial, administrative and operational functions of the Africa West Asia (AWA) Region. S/he plays a critical role in the AWA region by supporting the Regional Director and other senior managers in strategic decision-making and operations that contribute to the enhancement of programme quality and reach.

The Head of Finance and Operations leads, develops and manages the region’s internal financial, human resources and operations function to support the areas of finance, budget and grant management, monitoring and evaluation, reporting, human resources, security and IT. S/he implements and maintains the institutional infrastructure and systems needed to support the strategic objectives of the Region, facilitates operational coordination between the Region and HQ and provides holistic management support to Programme Managers across the AWA Region.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads a diversely skilled team; Works with the Regional Director to establish and nurture a working environment that is conducive to delivering results, fostering a spirit of collaboration, strong work ethic and team cohesion;
  • Coordinates the operational strategy to realize the ambitions of the AWA Region and its programmes; Contributes to the long and short-term Regional planning and strategy;
  • Provides expert guidance and support to the Region’s programme managers in their respective portfolio of projects and acts as a focal point for the oversight of grants, budgets, project budget expenditure, contracts, serving as the most senior liaison point for effective operational administrative support in programme delivery;
  • Ensures effective administration and implementation of grants; Reviews financial reporting material for donors; Manages the programme team and external donor finance functions to align financial and technical reporting to ensure the integrity of the programme;
  • Ensures project proposals and funding requests are prepared in conformity with International IDEA’s internal policies and procedures, including adequate costing of activities, human resource needs and administrative tasks;
  • Ensures adherence to donor agreement requirements within the framework of International IDEA’s internal policies and procedures, ensuring the delivery of reporting, invoicing and disbursement timelines;
  • Works with the Regional Director to lead the region in the annual planning and budgeting exercise, monitors execution and recommends adjustments; Provides budget management support to the regions internal and external stakeholders;
  • Tracks the financial progress of programmes; Provides the Regional Director with project analysis, highlighting programme expenses and budget deviations;
  • Analyses and presents financial reports; Clearly communicates the implication of these reports to the Regional Director and the senior management of the Region; Provides quarterly analyses of the financial situation of the Region, including annual forecasting and management level narratives;
  • Ensures all financial commitments and transactions are executed timeously and in line with established procedures, both for operations and for programmes;
  • Supports the Regional Director and senior programme staff to ensure effective and efficient fundraising initiatives;
  • Ensures efficient administration of financial and contractual requirements in line with International IDEA financial and procurement procedures and policies;
  • Manages the risk management process, in line with organizational risk management policies and procedures; Contributes to the review and update of the risk register;
  • Oversees and responds to audits within the region;
  • Complements the Regional Director to oversee the HR function of the Region, including the recruitment and onboarding of new staff; maintains appropriate staff records, ensures an effective evaluation process, contributes to capacity strengthening, conducting training as needed; maintains awareness and compliance of policies and procedures; Promotes staff well-being and morale in line with International IDEA’s Core Values;
  • Ensures accurate processing of payroll in accordance with local laws, rules and regulations;
  • Coordinates efforts to ensure staff safety and security, including for field missions involving staff and consultants;
  • Ensures that IT and organizational systems support the effective operations of the region; Serves as primary focal point for all issues related to the office leases.

General Profile

  • Is recognised as an expert in their field, through leading and supporting seamless fiscal, operational and human resources, procedures and processes;
  • Proven ability to conceptualize and implement sustainable strategies; Thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the region; Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on the region;
  • High energy, maturity and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force at both the strategic and tactical level; Relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to "manage by influence;
  • Proven ability to initiate, develop and sustain partnerships that can enhance relationships with donors and the visibility of International IDEA;
  • Has the intellectual leadership to integrate innovation into his/her field;
  • Contributes effectively to the development of International IDEA’s functional strategy;
  • Is expected to travel globally to any geographical area involved in his/her projects;
  • Follows internal procedures to ensure high standards of performance and compliance with Institutional guidelines;
  • Solves unique and complex problems that have a broad impact on the organization;
  • Acts in accordance with International IDEA’s Core Values; Respect, Integrity and Professionalism;
  • Integrates a gender and diversity perspective in all activities.

Reporting Line

  • Director Africa and West Asia Region

Operational Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Excellent knowledge of financial principles and practices; Solid experience providing financial and operational control, good knowledge of non-profit and grant management with working knowledge of Human resources and best practice;
  • Solid computer skills and knowledge of ERP and software applications; Collaborates with internal Programme Managers and external donor finance functions to align financial and technical reporting to ensure the integrity of the project/programme;
  • Integrates a results-based approach into the design, management and evaluation of all his/her activities;
  • Has good understanding of relevant programmatic issues in the Africa and West Asia geographical zone where his/her work is implemented;
  • Excellent analytical, judgement and problem-solving skills; Excellent planning, attention to detail and organizational skills;
  • Illustrates integrity, a collaborative spirit, a sense of achievement, and an understanding of risk management.


  • Leads a multi-talented team of finance and administrative personnel to achieve milestones and objectives; sets priorities and manages resources;
  • Fosters team-based activities in his/her region; Collaborates with other entities of the organization;
  • Develops the strategy for execution;
  • Acts as a model and resource for colleagues

Problem Solving

  • Solves unique and complex problems with broad impact on the region and organization; Requires conceptual and innovative thinking to develop solutions; Leads others to solve complex problems; Uses sophisticated analytical thought to exercise judgment and identify innovative solutions.


  • Impacts the direction and resource allocation for the regions programmes.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Drives projects and assignments through communicative personal energy and engagement;
  • Initiates, develops and sustains partnerships to enhance organizational visibility;
  • Communicates complex ideas, anticipates potential objections and can persuade others, often at senior level, to adopt a different view;
  • Acts and is perceived as an initiator to solve issues; Presents his/her activities and represents International IDEA effectively in all professional circles;
  • Explains sensitive information with diplomacy, and builds consensus;
  • Ability to position issues effectively, both orally and in writing;
  • Excellent knowledge in written and oral English required. Knowledge of at least one other widely spoken language in an International IDEA priority region (Arabic, French, Portuguese) would be an asset.

Education and Experience

  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in business, financial management or other relevant discipline; Full or part professional qualifications in finance and accounting, for example ACCA is considered an advantage;
  • Minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in financial, operations and administration management, including extensive experience in the planning and management of project grants; Experience of managing EU and other donor funded projects/programmes is highly desirable;
  • Technical knowledge and skills in project design, procurement and contracting, tendering, contract design, multi-party agreements and acquittal of funds, as well as ability to draft non-routine contractual instruments and use independent judgment in the resolution of contract issues;
  • A minimum of five (5) years’ experience in leading and managing diversely skilled international teams; Proven experience in engaging, cultivating and influencing stakeholders; Experience of working in an international environment is essential.

Terms of Contract:

  • International post
  • Two (2) year fixed term appointment.
  • Salary EUR 6 900 NET plus benefits.

Applying for this position:

  • Applications should be submitted online no later than 24:00 (CET) 27 December 2020. Please note that all applications must be made in English.
  • Shortlisted candidates can expect to be contacted by early February 2021.
  • Company homepage:

International IDEA is an equal opportunity employer which seeks to further diversify its staff in terms of gender, culture and nationality.

How to apply:

Apply Here


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