TECHNICAL (MOBILE FINANCIAL SERVICES) SPECIALIST - (RE-ADVERTISED)
|Application Deadline :||14-Aug-12|
|Type of Contract :||FTA International|
|Post Level :||P-4|
|Languages Required :||
|Duration of Initial Contract :||One year (renewable)|
|Expected Duration of Assignment :||Duration of the Project|
Applicants who have already applied in the previous round, do not need to re-apply
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia and the Pacific, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples’ lives.
Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with UNDP.
Despite the rapid growth of the microfinance industry in the past ten years, it is estimated that between two and three billion people still lack access to a broad range of financial products and services on a sustainable basis. The situation is particularly dire in the LDCs, where often more than 90 per cent of the population is denied access to financial services from the formal financial system. UNCDF focuses its strategy on Financial inclusion, which is universal access, at a reasonable cost, to a wide range of financial services, provided by a variety of sound and sustainable institutions. The range of financial services includes savings, short and long-term credit, leasing and factoring, mortgages, insurance, pensions, payments, local money transfers and international remittances.
In the past ten years, mobile phones have been introduced as part of the delivery mechanism for financial services. There services range from basic money transfer to a variety of banking and insurance products that can be partially delivered via mobile phone. The most notable successes have occurred in the larger, more developed emerging markets such as Kenya, South Africa and India. We know from M-Pesa in Kenya and a few other examples that mobile money has the potential to reach millions of users in the time it has taken traditional MFIs to reach thousands of clients. In most LDCs, the number of mobile phone subscribers is rapidly outstripping the current access to finance and offers a potential to reach millions with a safer, more secure way to send and store money. Sharp growth is there for the taking, should mobile network operators succeed in addressing concerns of the unbanked customer; CGAP and GSMA project that 364 million low-income, unbanked people could use mobile financial services in 2012(*). Since 2008, UNCDF in cooperation with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has worked to introduce mobile financial services in five countries in the Pacific region reaching over 300,000 subscribers in less than two years.
Recognized the importance of branchless mobile financial services (also known as “branchless banking” and “mobile money” , to achieve (i) lower cost domestic transfers and international remittances, (ii) more convenient, affordable, savings options, (iii) a potential platform for microinsurance, government payments and other services, UNCDF, the Swedish International Agency for Development (Sida) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) are launching a new USD 27 Million global programme to be known as Mobile Money for the Poor, to work with governments, private and non-profit partners in the LDCs to hasten the scale-up their mobile money operations and to improve the variety of products and services needed reach rural and low income households. The programme will provide a mix of grant (or loans) to leading mobile money providers, distributors and partners on a competitive basis that are operating in some of the most difficulty and needy markets, including in post-conflict contexts, where access to finance is most limited. In doing so, the programme hopes to develop scalable models that can be replicated in other challenging markets. To ensure its success, the programme will work closely with regulators in the host countries and will coordinate efforts closely with other organizations involved in similar work, including CGAP, IFC, and the GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
The Mobile Financial Services Specialist will have the primary responsibility for conducting country diagnostics; developing a pipeline of mobile financial services projects, developing submissions to the investment committee and monitoring their outcomes; providing direct assistance or overseeing contracted technical assistance to partners. The Specialist will report to the Advisor and Project Manager and will support annual planning and reporting, fundraising, and knowledge generation and sharing activities.
This is a Development Project funded position.
(*) Mobile Banking from Concept to Reality. http://www.cgap.org/p/site/c/template.rc/1.26.10806/
Duties and Responsibilities
Summary of key funcitons:
- Conduct branchless banking and mobile money scoping missions in focus countries;
- Develop a pipeline and portfolio of scalable branchless and mobile financial services projects that reach underservedclients, including women and rural users;
- Oversee partner performance and provide the necessary assistance to ensure their achievement of outcomes;
- Develop technical assistance plans and terms of references to support partners and other key stakeholders, including market research, and oversee their implementation;
- Manage technical consultancies, ensuring terms of reference and deliverables are of high quality and completed on time.
- Assist in managing relationship with key stakeholders in focus countries;
- Assist in training UNCDF and UNDP staff in focus countries to assist in project oversight;
- Contribute to knowledge generation and sharing activities of the programme;
- Support the Advisor and Project Manager in annual planning and reporting, as well as corporate and fundraising responsibilities.
Identify, vet, and assess new mobile financial service projects and monitor their progress / a diverse mix of strongmobile money projects that meeting their targets, including the underserved, women and rural users.
- Develop a pipeline of potential projects that help the programme achieve its outcome.
- Assist Advisor and Project Manager in developing expressions of interest (EOIs) and requests for applications (RFAs), determine criteria and vet potential applicants to identify the strongest projects.
- Review all applications, conduct due diligence (directly or with expert consultants) and ensure applicants are eligible and capable of performing;
- Assist chosen partners in refining achievable business plans that maintain focus on reaching the unbanked;
- Develop project appraisals for IC consideration based on partners submissions and interactions;
- Maintain regular contact with partners, identify issues and assist them in overcoming them;
- Review and respond to quarterly reports, ensuring partners are reporting accurately;
- Monitor progress under performance-based agreements, verify milestones and targets for disbursements;
- Seek opportunities for coordinating and co-funding projects with other funders, ensure the programme’s efforts complete those of other mobile financial services initiatives.
Ensure the success of projects, provide or secure targeted technical assistance for partners and other relevant stakeholders and actively foster partnerships/ Partners and other stakeholders have necessary support to build a successful mobile money ecosystem:
- Provide on-going technical advice to partners on the implementation of their projects, including sharing of information and updates on innovations;
- Develop terms of reference for consultancies for partners, assist in finalizing consultancy contracts and monitor the quality and timeliness of consultants’ performance.
- Provide advice as needed to other stakeholders in focus countries, including central banks, on mobile money to build overall awareness and acceptance of services;
- Assist partners in identifying opportunities with others, including recommending or fostering strategic, financial or technical partnerships;
- In partnership with the UNCDF network of Regional and Country Technical Advisors, develop and maintain partnerships with relevant regional and national stakeholders including the central banks, telecommunication companies, financial service providers and donors;
- Contribute to legal and regulatory stocktaking efforts in host countries and share with others;
- Build effective and efficient partnerships at the operational level with major donor agencies to coordinate financial inclusion, including financial literacy, activities in country;
- Support Advisor and Project Manager to work with UNCDF supported ILO Microinsurance Facility and IFAD Remittance Facility to link microinsurance and remittances with mobile money partners.
Facilitate needed research and information sharing in focus countries / Stakeholders are informed on current trends, market conditions, and special topics as needed:
- Conduct country scoping missions in focus countries for mobile money, drawing on existing tools, including an inventory of relevant policies, laws and regulations;
- Develop a market research support strategy, draft TORs, procure and manage consultants for market research to identify clients needs, demands, behaviors and attitudes;
- Develop a product research support strategy, draft TORs, procure and manage consultants for market research that supports pro-poor product development that can be implemented by partners;
- Collaborate with key partners and stakeholders for research and development of innovative, cutting-edge strategies and approaches to sharpen delivery of mobile financial services;
- Identify learning, training, and knowledge sharing opportunities for partners and key stakeholders and provide scholarships for attendance;
- Draft research and short notes to share experience and lessons learned from partners.
Provide Programme and Corporate Support: Provides support to UNCDF management on corporate initiatives and activities, focusing on achieving the following results:
- Act as officer-in-charge of the programme in the absence of the Senior Advisor;
- Provide inputs for annual work plan and budget;
- Provide inputs for semi-annual reporting;
- Assist in implementation of mid-term and final evaluations of the programme;
- Support annual and cumulative UNCDF results analyses and substantive inputs into Unit work plan and UNCDF and FIPA Business Plans;
- Support the development of UNCDF programme and business strategies and to annual reviews;
- As requested, assist in fundraising and relationship management with donors
Impact of Results
The key result expected is the successful implementation and attainment of targets of the Mobile Money for the Poor programme, including coordination with/reporting to all stakeholders, the Financial Inclusion Practice Area (FIPA) in UNCDF and the funders of the programme. The Mobile Financial Services Specialist will pursue the following key results of the programme:
- Sustainable, scalable, replicable branchless and mobile financial services providing access to affordable, demand-driven, appropriate, cost-effective financial services, particularly savings and remittances, to low income people in underserved areas;
- Well supported partners with access to the necessary technical knowledge and oversight to ensure the timely achievement of results.
- Knowledge generated, including market research, and disseminated among providers, host country regulators and policy makers, donors and other stakeholders related to mobile money, and,
- An efficiently-managed, funded and evaluated grant programme.
- Experience in working with the implementation of branchless and mobile financial services projects;
- Strong knowledge on the technology of mobile and branchless financial services.
- Knowledge of payment systems and technology.
- Knowledge and exposure to telecommunications platforms, including value added services and other platforms;
- Familiarity with the concepts in to financial inclusion, a broad knowledge of related disciplines, as well as an in-depth knowledge of relevant organizational policies and procedures;
- Adequate understanding of legal and regulatory issues related to branchless and mobile financial services, such as know your customer and bank agency rules;
- Exposure to telecommunications platforms, including mobile money platforms;
- Experience working with the mass market, including rural or low income communities, preferably related to financial services;
- Experience managing or conducting research, particularly related to product development or client demand;
- Working knowledge of current developments in microfinance, including mobile financial services and one or more of the following: savings, microinsurance, remittances, financial literacy.
- Working knowledge of international donor organizations and preferably experience in preparing proposals for funding.
- Strong client orientation, recognizing the importance of providing appropriate, user-friendly and affordable services;
- Familiarity with low income households in developing countries, comfortable working in very low income areas;
- Able to build strategic partnerships and alliances;
- Takes on innovation and new approaches and fosters innovative thinking;
- Proactively identifies, develops and discusses solutions for internal and external clients, and persuades management to undertake new projects or services;
- Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities, and resolve problems
- Comfortable advocating and advancing an agenda, including with high level counterparts and other stakeholders;
- Experience in developing and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs);
- Experience managing small teams or consultants, including recruiting, hiring and evaluating;
- Approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude and responds positively to feedback
- Comfortable forming, leading or being part of teams, working with other stakeholders to achieve common goals.
- Proven cross-cultural communication, able to function effectively in an international, multicultural environment and manage a team consisting of multiple nationalities.
- Demonstrates ethics and integrity;
- Demonstrates political acumen and calculated risk-taking;
- Builds confidence, creating an environment of creativity and innovation;
- Builds and promotes teams and partnerships;
- Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure
- Conducts fair and transparent decision making;
- Displays cultural and gender sensitivity and adaptability
- Treats all persons fairly without favoritism
- Shows strong corporate commitment
Required Skills and Experience
- A Master’s degree in technology, economics, public/business administration, social sciences, or related discipline.
- A minimum of seven (7) years’ experience in progressively more responsible positions in the financial services and/or telecommunications field;
- Within this period, a minimum of two (2) years’ experience working with mobile financial services;
- Strong general IT skills, including ability to work regularly with MS Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
- Fluency in English and working knowledge of French is required.
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UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.