Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? 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. Visit


The central contribution of the HNP Global Practice to the World Bank’s twin goals is to enable the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in which all people are effectively covered by essential health services, and nobody suffers undue financial hardship because of illnesses. The HNP Global Practice includes staff members in Washington, DC and many country offices.  The HNP Global Practice works with and across multiple sectors, in recognition of the fact that HNP outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the HNP sector. The HNP Global Practice supports country and regional efforts to: (i) improve health outcomes, especially for the poor and most vulnerable; (ii) expand access to high-quality HNP services, interventions, and technologies that give the most value for money; (iii) strengthen health systems for results; (iv) establish and improve health financing mechanisms that promote efficiency, equity, and sustainability of investments; (v) strengthen heath-relevant institutions within and outside the health sector; (vi) harness multisectoral policies and investments for better health outcomes; and (vii) develop and learn from rigorous impact evaluations.


Africa has registered strong economic growth in recent years that has helped to reduce poverty levels in the continent. Yet, as Africa’s population expands, the region faces a critical challenge of creating the foundations for long-term inclusive growth. Many countries still contend with high levels of child and maternal mortality, malnutrition is far too common, and most health systems are not able to deal effectively with epidemics and the growing burden of chronic diseases. These challenges call for renewed commitments and accelerated progress toward UHC.

Most African countries have integrated UHC as a goal in their national health strategies. Yet, progress in translating commitments to UHC into expanded domestic resources for health, effective development assistance, and ultimately, equitable and quality health services, and increased financial protection has been slow. To accelerate progress toward UHC in Africa, countries will require political leadership and a clear strategic vision to achieve their UHC targets and to be able to eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public health emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and strengthen the foundations for long-term economic growth. 


Benin has made some progress on health and nutrition outcomes, especially on maternal, neonatal, and child health, but improvement is still critical. Indeed, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Benin’s Human Capital Index of 0.41 was slightly above the average of the Sub-Saharan Africa. The health system struggles to deliver quality services to the most disadvantaged people, including women, children, and adolescents and to respond to public health emergencies. Thus, infant, and maternal mortality rates, though decreasing slowly, remain high at 55 infant deaths per 1,000 live births and 391 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, respectively. Stunting prevalence among children under the age of five is high at 32 percent and child immunization coverage is still low with only 57 percent of the children aged 12-23 months fully immunized. Furthermore, public health emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, have negatively impacted the health systems and undermined population’s health.

Benin Government has developed policies and strategies to respond to these challenges. The health sector has been guided by the National Health Policy 2018-2030 and the National Health Development Plan 2018-2022. These documents were developed in line with the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and the National Development Plan 2018-2025. The National Health Development Plan 2018-2022 aims to respond to the key challenges that the country has been facing and is organized in six strategic orientations, including the improvement of financing mechanisms for UHC. The government has started the rollout of a flagship health insurance scheme called Insurance for Human Capital Strengthening (“Assurance pour le Renforcement du Capital Humain”; ARCH), which includes health insurance for the extreme poor. Since January 2022, the law made the health insurance mandatory to all people living in Benin. Yet, the decrees of this law must be adopted.


The World Bank has a multidimensional engagement in the health sector in Benin. The health sector portfolio comprises three national operations: (i) the Health System Enhancement Program, a large Program for Results (PfoR), (ii) the Early Years Nutrition and Child Development Project, and (iii) the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project. In addition, two regional projects - the Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project (SWEDD) and the Regional Disease Surveillance System project (REDISSE) - are being implemented. The PfoR is at the starting stage; its objectives are to (i) improve the quality of and access to primary health care services with a focus on reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, adolescent health, and nutrition and (ii) strengthen public health emergency preparedness and response capacity. The entire health sector portfolio amounts to 408 million US dollars.

To strengthen the World Bank’s health team for Benin, the World Bank is recruiting a Senior Health Specialist / Economist based in Cotonou, Benin. The work program will focus on supporting the Bank’s health engagement in Benin. In addition, within the HNP Global Practice, the successful candidates might contribute to selected regional/global health engagement and solutions areas based on his/her expertise and interest.


The Senior health specialist or economist will have the following key responsibilities, inter alia:
• Lead, co-lead or support development and implementation of the Bank’s HNP national and /or regional operations in Benin. This will include leading technical discussions and monitoring of the Bank defined portfolio on a day-to-day basis, in close collaboration with the relevant government agencies and development partners.
• Organize and lead missions of the health team.
• Lead or co-lead and contribute to high-quality analytical and advisory services tasks in Benin and HAWH2.
• Participate in and contribute to technical assistance work to support relevant capacity-building activities including workshops, seminars, etc.
• Participate in and contribute to policy dialogue with government counterparts, including at the national and sub-national levels and with other relevant stakeholders.
• Help teams with building and maintaining partnerships and networks within the Bank (in HNP as well as other sectors) and with external partners.
• Contribute to sector-specific or cross-sectoral inputs for various operational products/outputs (e.g. sector/country briefings, background reports, portfolio performance reviews, etc.).
• Review and contribute to sector-specific or cross-sectoral policy and other documents.
• Respond to ad hoc information requests from internal and external parties.
• Carry out any other activity required as part of the health and human capital portfolio.
• Mentor junior staff in the country office and unit.

Selection Criteria

• Minimum of a Master’s degree in international development, public health, health policy or financing, health economics, health system administration or other equivalent discipline. 
• At least 8 years of professional experience in one or more of the following areas: public financial management, health systems strengthening, service delivery management, health economics, monitoring and evaluation, or operations research. 
• Preference will be given to candidates with 10 or more years of experience working full-time at country level. Experience working with the WGB or in other African countries is a plus.
• Prior experience in an international development institution (public, NGO or private) is preferred.
• Proven ability to work in a team and an intercultural environment, with minimal supervision.
• Hands-on and action-oriented approach.
• Excellent problem solving, information management and coordination skills.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills in French (essential).
• Enthusiasm for and commitment to development work.
• Fluency in English

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.

This vacancy is archived.

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