Consultancy: Public Finance – UN Children’s Fund – Nairobi

Social Policy & Research, ESARO

Closing date: 16 Feb 2018

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Title of Assignment

Public Finance Consultant


Social Policy & Research


Nairobi, Kenya


10 months

Start date

From: March 1, 2018

To: December 31, 2018


The 21 countries that constitute the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) are characterized by alarming levels of child poverty. Recent estimates indicate that two out of every three children living in this region are multi-dimensionally poor, which means that they do not have access to basic things like primary healthcare services, adequate nutrition, clean drinking water or safe housing conditions.[1] High fertility rates also mean that there are more income poor children today than at the start of the MDGs in 1990 in absolute terms.[2]

At the same time, the region is remarkably young and experiencing unprecedented population growth. Today, approximately 50 percent of the population of ESAR is under the age of 18, with some 16 million new lives expected in 2017 alone.[3] Between 2017 and 2050, an estimated 670 million babies will be born, which will catapult the total population from around 500 million to more than 1 billion.[4] This means that ESAR is in the midst of the structural transformation known as the demographic transition, whereby high fertility rates alongside longer life expectancy are creating a massive increase in the working age population.

Whether the rapidly changing population results in a demographic “dividend” or “nightmare” fully depends on the investment decisions of governments, starting today. If resources do not adequately support future labor forces, current poverty levels will worsen, resulting in an unvirtuous circle of poverty and inequality, crime, violence, social and political unrest, emigration and so on. However, if social sector investments strategically target children and young persons, the ongoing population boom can catapult economic growth and initiate long-term peace and prosperity for the ESAR region and beyond.

Regrettably, children are not viewed as investment priorities. A rapid review of government spending compared against education and health financial benchmarks is telling. When looking at the latest comparable estimates, seven of the 21 countries in ESAR met the Education for All spending target of 20 percent of the national budget for education and only three of 21 met the Abuja Declaration target of 15 percent of the national budget for health.[5]

Moreover, even where governments have increased investments in sectors that matter for children, the impact is muted. When it comes to actual spending, public finance diagnostic tools all too commonly reveal severe efficiency, effectiveness and equity issues. Among other things, available resources are often not spent, and where they are utilized, they seldom support cost-effective approaches or the neediest children and families.[6] In short, reaping the demographic dividend in ESAR countries requires a rethinking of how national budgets are put together and implemented.

UNICEF’s response

In response to the above challenges, UNICEF is increasingly working with governments to make public resources work better for children in ESAR. Under the programme stream known as public finance for children (PF4C), UNICEF’s engagement can be broadly organized into three areas: (i) measuring and monitoring government spending; (ii) maximizing the use of available resources; and (iii) increasing spending. Some highlights of this work are summarized below.

Measuring and monitoring government spending

Budget briefs: 19 country offices (COs) developed budget briefs in 2017 (up from just two COs in 2015), which synthesize budget information in sectors that matter for children (education, health, social protection, WASH, etc.) and put forth key policy and financing asks.
Thematic budget analyses: Nine COs are assessing spending trends on cross-cutting issues, which range from school feeding and child protection to citizen’s budgets and WASH.
Budget transparency: In addition to supporting the expansion of the Open Budget Survey in seven countries in 2017, the majority of COs in ESAR are working with finance ministries to publish more and better budget information.
Maximizing the use of available resources

Public financial management (PFM) diagnostics: UNICEF is applying a variety of PFM tools to understand how well government resources are being used and identify efficiency and effectiveness bottlenecks; this includes supporting 11 Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs) in 2017, which range from social protection and nutrition (a global first) to education, health and WASH, as well as three Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS).
Increasing spending

Costing: ESAR COs are supporting a variety of costing exercises (e.g. of child protection services, social protection interventions, child-focused SDGs) which identify resource needs along with the financial gap.
Fiscal space analysis: 17 COs are assessing options for governments to increase spending on priority sectors for children.
Investment cases: 11 COs are supporting cost-benefit and cost of inaction analyses to raise attention to critical areas that require greater investments.
Scope of Work and Objectives

Under the guidance and close oversight of the Social Policy Specialist (Public Finance), the main objectives of this assignment are to:

Generate evidence on PF4C issues and identify regional trends to raise awareness of opportunities at the country level for engaging on PF4C
Develop guidance on PF4C to inform country strategies and the effective implementation of PF4C activities
Support the organization of regional events to influence policy agendas and promote greater and better investments in child-focused sectors
The main deliverables are summarized below.

Key deliverables



Payment schedule

Draft guideline for developing a budget brief on child protection issues in ESAR, including a mapping tool

March 31


Final guideline and mapping tool

April 30


Implementation of a workshop for Ministries of Finance in ESAR to develop action plans for improving budget transparency

May 31


Development of training modules, including on education financing, to support a PF4C learning event for UNICEF staff in ESAR

June 30


Literature review and annotated outline for a study that assess the impact that energy subsidies, military spending and illicit financial flows have on public investments in children

July 31


Final report on “Children are not investment priorities in ESAR: How energy subsidies, military spending and illicit financial flows crowd out government spending on children”

August 31


Literature review and implementation of a survey to select COs on contingency budgets in ESAR

September 30


Final report on “Contingency budgets: Where are they and do they work?”

October 31


Stocktake of UNICEF’s collaboration with the IMF on PF4C issues in ESAR, including through interviews with select COs

November 30


Guidance note on engaging the IMF on PF4C issues in ESAR

December 31




Payment Schedule

The Consultant will be paid upon receipt of satisfactory deliverables as outlined above:

Deliverables that meet UNICEF’s quality standard.
Desired competencies, technical background and experience

Advanced university degree in economics, public financial management, international affairs or related area;
Minimum 8 years of working on public finance and social policy issues;
Excellent research and writing skills, including publication track record;
Knowledge of UNICEF programme areas;
Must be reliable, creative and able to work with little supervision;
Must be able to work efficiently under tight deadlines;
Excellent spoken and written English.
The Consultant will work on-site in the ESARO office in Nairobi, Kenya and will be issued a UNICEF laptop to support the deliverables. Note that there will be flexibility for off-site working arrangements on an occasional basis based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor.


The contract will be established for 10 months. She/he will be supervised by the Social Policy Specialist (Public Finance) in ESARO.

As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment is made against approved deliverables. No advance payment is allowed unless in exceptional circumstances against bank guarantee, subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the total contract value in cases where advance purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary.

The candidate selected will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s General Terms and Conditions for individual contracts.

All applications must include an all-inclusive financial proposal to carry out the functions listed above. This should include travel, living expenses, ect. Applications without a financial proposal will not be considered.


UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link


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