Job vacancy for policy officer economic affairs

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka is looking for a policy officer economic affairs ​​​​! Read more details of the job below. Do you fit the brief and want to join our team? We look forward to receiving your cv and motivation letter before 18 April via an email to

Description of duties

Policy and advice

Supply regular oral & written reporting (analyses) to the (deputy) Head of Mission (HoM) on the following main topics:

  • Geo-economic regional and national developments in relation to the Dutch foreign policy (in collaboration with Senior Political Policy Officer);
  • Macro-economic, financial and sector-specific developments in Sri Lanka and if opportune the Maldives in relation to inclusive, sustainable private sector development (promising sectors), bilateral trade and investment promotion and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC);
  • Climate adaptation developments in Sri Lanka and if opportune the Maldives, including climate resilient infrastructure and integrated water management opportunities.

Provide high quality advice based on the reporting to the (deputy) HoM on policy development (Multi-Annual Country Strategy, Annual Plan, workplan) on main topics and effective ways of implementing policy (strategy/approaches). Pro-actively reviews the advice when context changes or new opportunities arise.

Follow and explain the Dutch policies and priorities on inclusive, sustainable private sector development, bilateral business and investment promotion, RBC and climate adaptation to the Sri Lankan and Maldivian public and private sector. Effectively represent the embassy in functions, policy dialogues, multi-stakeholder processes and participate in EU coordination.

Pro-actively scout outreach/network opportunities for the (Deputy) HoM and prepare and follow up on meetings with public, private, CSO and academic representatives, including speaking notes and speeches.

Project management

Implement the strategies/approaches by developing them into (multi-/annual) projects and activities on the main topics.

Plan and implement existing and new projects and activities in line with the multi-annual country strategy and annual plan. Pro-active partnership building by reaching out to the public, private, CSO and academic sector.

Identify and act on cross-sectoral opportunities, notably in the agricultural and cultural sector (other priority sectors of the Embassy), and cross-linkages with the reconciliation agenda.

Collaborate with organisations (e.g. RVO, CBI, PUM, FMO, ADSB, VNO-NCW, universities) in the Netherlands, including the ministry, to find and act on opportunities. Pro-actively explore and use (private sector development) instruments and programs developed by the Dutch government that are open for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Business support

Spot and communicate about business opportunities for Dutch companies and investors. Transform information into concrete business leads for Dutch business.

Independently provide effective and efficient business support to Dutch companies, including but not limited to (we are open for new initiatives) responding to queries, finding reliable partners/matchmaking, networking events, assisting Dutch companies in developing investment and export opportunities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, providing troubleshooting assistance and organising missions. A responsible business conduct- approach is integrated in all aspects of business support, thereby also taking the contribution to the SDGs into account.

Build on and add to the local business network and economic network of the Netherlands internationally, for example using the PLEIO and Achilles platforms.

Embassy team efforts

Develop and implement the public diplomacy and Netherlands branding agenda of the embassy, together with other colleagues. Communicate about his/her work: provide content for websites and social media and reach out via other channels when opportune.

Being part of the embassy event team on a rotating basis to co-organise embassy events (e.g. national day).

Maintain online workspaces (Sharepoint sites), enter business activities into Achilles, registering business contacts and archive work as per the Embassy rules.

Any other task assigned to the policy officer on the basis of professional capabilities and capacity as deemed necessary.

Description of result areas

Effective contribution to the embassy’s activities and discussions on key policy and strategic issues (also including politics, cultural and consular affairs) and provision of guidance related to the national context.

In depth reporting and advice regarding policy development in the fields of inclusive and sustainable private sector development, RBC and climate adaptation, including climate resilient infrastructure and water management.

Effective implementation of policy: develop approaches and identify, develop, appraise, monitor and evaluate projects and activities in those fields.

Satisfied clients: day to day support to Dutch companies and organisations pursuing interests in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

High quality and timely support to the (Deputy) HoM.

Maintaining and expanding the business network of the embassy.

Integration of the economic activities in broader agenda of embassy (cross-sectoral approach).

Pro-active outreach resulting in long-term multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Written and verbal representation of the embassy to existing and new audiences in line with its mission, vision and code of conduct.

Working environment

Description of the mission & physical environment

The focus of the embassy in Sri Lanka is on sustainable economic development, cultural cooperation, consular services and politics and inclusive governance. The promotion of Dutch trade and investment in Sri Lanka is a key task of the embassy. The embassy also covers the Maldives.

Over the years, the gradual reduction of the expatriate staff of the Embassy has led to increased responsibilities for local staff members. We now have a dedicated team of 11 staff members (3 expatriate, 8 local) and one Honorary Consul in the Maldives.

Staff members work in a secured villa which also includes the consular section. Due to COVID, staff work at the embassy and/or from home on the basis of a rotation schedule.

Composition of the team

The policy officer will work to a large extent independently on the basis of his/her workplan that is based on the annual plan and multi-annual country strategy. His/her performance will be evaluated on the basis of the results attained.

The economic policy officer cooperates with the political policy officer and policy advisor agriculture whenever possible and useful to assist the (deputy) HoM to obtain the objectives of the embassy.

The economic policy officer is directly accountable to the Deputy HoM who is in charge of economic affairs; the HoM and the head of operational management will be involved in economic activities whenever necessary.

The employee will be in contact with

the Dutch and Sri Lankan business community and organisations representing them;

ministries and authorities in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands;

(international) (non-)governmental organisations;

members of Dutch and international consultative bodies and working groups, to exchange information and coordinate action on policy matters;

fellow policy officers (2; focussing on politics & culture and agriculture) and other colleagues, also at other Dutch missions;

with local media.

Job requirements

Level of education: university level

Level of experience: at least 5 years’ experience required

Knowledge, areas of experience and skills

S/he has a thorough knowledge of Sri Lanka’s economic development and business environment, including the macro-economic and financial framework, the regulatory framework for the private sector, particularly in relation to foreign trade and investment, both the written and unwritten rules;

S/he has strong analytical and project development skills;

S/he has experience with advising businesses in dealing with the Sri Lankan market;

S/he has an external orientation, extensive networks and ability to effectively use networks;

S/he has representation skills and the ability to develop and maintain good working relations with (senior) contacts in all sectors;

S/he has experience and/or affiliation with responsible business conduct;

S/he has experience and/or affiliation with public diplomacy and communication;

S/he is works independently, has organisation skills and is result oriented as well as creative and flexible;

S/he has the ability to work with different software and has financial skills;

S/he has excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Sinhalese. Knowledge of Dutch and/or Tamil is an extra asset;

Experience with/in the Netherlands is also an extra asset.

Type of employee required

The employee required is a colleague who has earned his/her merits in the field of trade and investment promotion and inclusive, sustainable private sector development. S/he knows both the private and public sector in Sri Lanka from first-hand experience in order to develop and implement long-term partnerships and provide optimal assistance to Dutch companies and organisations. S/he is able to analyse (geo-)economic (regional) developments and translate policy advice into strategies/approaches and projects/activities. S/he is able to work across sectors and links his/her work to the broader goals of the Embassy. Since the Embassy team is concise, s/he should be able to work independently and pro-actively. S/he demonstrates creativity and flexibility and is result-oriented. S/he is a strong communicator, both orally and in writing and finds it easy to cooperate with people from different backgrounds. Assuming s/he is not familiar with The Netherlands and Dutch companies, s/he should be willing to rapidly build up knowledge and experience in this field. 

Other remarks

The position will be for one year initially; continuation will depend on results achieved. Starting date would be: 1 August 2021 (TBC).

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and its Embassies actively pursue a diversity policy and inclusive organisation. In our recruitment and formation of teams, we aim at diversity in gender, cultural background, age etcetera, thereby optimally utilising and building on the differences between people.