Jobs at United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

Job Title: Technical Specialist

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.

UNCDF works to enlarge peoples’ choices: it believes that poor people and communities should take decisions about their own development.  Its programmes help to empower women – over 50% of the clients of UNCDF-supported microfinance institutions are women – and its expertise in microfinance and local development is shaping new responses to food insecurity, climate change and other challenges.  UNCDF works in challenging environments – remote rural areas, countries emerging from conflict – and paves the way for others to follow. Its programmes are designed to catalyze larger investment flows from the private sector, development partners and national governments, for significant impact on the Millennium Development Goals, especially Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with UNDP.
Job Summary: The Technical Specialist will primarily oversee the implementation of all global thematic initiatives (GTIs) activities in Uganda.  Based on agreement among the GTIs, the anticipated work load of each project, and funding arrangements it is expected that the Technical Specialist will spend approximately 75% of her/his time on MM4P activities during the first two years of the position with the remaining time spent on the other GTIs, in addition to other sector-based financial inclusion matters.
Key Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Manage MM4P Implementation in Uganda:  Manage the implementation of the MM4P country strategy in Uganda and 30-month work plan, which includes a mixture of workshops, direct technical and financial assistance, knowledge generation and sharing and policy and regulatory support.  The activities are listed in detail below;
  • Support MicroLead Expansion, Youthstart and Cleanstart implementation in Uganda.
  • Support the MicroLead Expansion, YouthStart, and Cleanstart programme managers in managing their implementation of activities in Uganda, including:
  • Act as primary liaison and providing timely advise to the FSPs receiving grants and technical support from the GTIs as well as with government and other stakeholders;
  • Advise partners on an as-needed basis to assist them in the successful completion of their projects;
  • Undertake the monitoring of activities with the FSPs and other partners, in conjunction with GTI staff;
  • Work with each GTI programme manager to develop their annual work planning and budgeting and monitor the same;
  • Report regularly on program-related activities of the GTIs to the RTA, GTI Program Managers and to their funders (as needed);
  • Develop, oversee implementation of appropriate knowledge generation based on the plans of the GTIs, and seek additional opportunities for UNCDF to participate in others’ knowledge generation activities;
  • Manage technical assistance and research: help define, organize and oversee all technical consultancies and research projects contracted by the GTIs.
In addition, the Technical Specialist will:
  • Manage local team: Recruit, hire and manage a local Knowledge Management Associate, finance and administrative assistant.
  • Manage office: Secure office space, equipment and transportation services for the local team, GTI staff and consultants.
  • Manage relations:  Act as the representative of UNCDF in Uganda in inclusive finance matters, manage relations with key stakeholders, including UNDP, other UN agencies, other donor agencies, advocacy and standards organizations, and host country central banks.
  • Implement communications strategy: with support from the GTI Knowledge Management Associate and the UNCDF Communications team, develop a local communications strategy that raises UNCDF’s profile in Uganda.
Raise funds: 
  • Work with UNCDF on fundraising to support activities in Uganda, identifying opportunities and assisting in proposal development and agreement negotiation;
  • Provide corporate support to UNCDF as it relates to Uganda and fully participate in UNCDF’s global planning, learning, communication and reporting activities;
  • Assist BTCA in finalizing the membership of Uganda in the alliance and advise on ways for BTCA to support the government in fulfilling its commitments to the alliance.  This may lead to an increased scope of BTCA support as the work split among all the GTIs being supported are revised from time to time;
  • Perform any other responsibilities as assigned by the RTA and thematic programme managers from time to time.
Provide the overall direction, implementation and management of the MM4P programme in Uganda/ Outcome: 
  • An efficiently-managed, monitored and evaluated programme that is highly rated by its partners and is meeting or exceeding all targets. (60%);
  • Manage all activities related to bringing high volume payment streams onto BB and MFS platforms.  These activities will be done in coordination with BTCA and other funders engaged in this area, with support from MM4P and consultants;
  • Manage all activities related to strengthening and scaling agent networks and BB and MFS product offerings. These activities will be undertaken by the on-site expert consultant and other short-term consultancies, as identified in the work plan;
  • Monitor and advise on the consultants’ on-site implementation of the agent network accelerator and product development activities, which include a mix of local workshops, overseas learning trips and contracted on-site technical support;
  • Help the MM4P team design a direct technical and financial (grants) programme linked to the activities above that identifies and selects at least 10 institutions with the best ideas and capacity to deliver appropriate financial services to low income, rural and women customers and provides them with the necessary technical and financial support;
  • As a result of the above activities, ensure that the following are piloted and launched by FSPs: 2 pilots for sustainable rural agent networks; 2 pilots for scalable rural financial services; and 2 pilots for products for women;
  • Manage the consultants’ assessment of existing BB and MFS products and oversee the development of marketing and other materials of FSPs designed to increase uptake among women;
  • Help facilitate the government of Uganda’s membership in the BTCA and formulation of commitments;
  • With support from MM4P and BTCA and consultants, investigate and identify at least four new high volume use cases for BB and MFS;
  • Work with high potential partners to advocate the switch to electronic payments and identify the institutions to support;
  • Ensure that direct technical or financial support is provided to implemented at least 3 of these use cases;
  • Manage all activities related to policy and regulatory support. These activities will be the primary responsibility of the IFS, with support from expert consultants in specific areas;
  • Develop a strategy for MM4P to work with the Bank of Uganda (BoU) and its technical partner GIZ and the Ministry of Finance;
  • Organize support for the BoU to develop an meaningful data collection, analysis and monitoring programme of BB and MFS activities and training for mid-level to senior level BoU staff on the same;
  • With BMGF and its consultants, advise on the best means to support the development of agent banking regulations that enable banks to complete with mobile money providers;
Manage knowledge generation and sharing activities in country;
  • These activities will be the primary responsibility of the IFS, supported by the GTI Knowledge Management Associate and the local Knowledge Management Associate;
  • Identify up to 20 individuals from FSPs, the BoU and MoF to participate in international exchanges and conferences;
  • Assist MM4P in identifying at least 4 notes or knowledge products to be developed in Uganda, by MM4P or consultants;
  • Contribute to the MM4P quarterly newsletter and regular social media communication (LinkedIn, Twitter);
  • Develop and organized a knowledge sharing agenda that includes at least quarterly gatherings of stakeholders;
  • Develop a local media and social media communication plan to provide regular communications to partners to  increase access to available information on BB and MFS;
  • Ensure that research on BB and MFS reaches Ugandan stakeholders;
  • Participate in in-country donor coordination activities in-country and ensure that donors are meeting regularly (quarterly) to discuss key issues.
The management duties will include:
  • With MM4P, develop the annual work plan with performance targets and budgets;
  • Manage the delivery of programme purpose and outputs on time and to budget.
  • Act as first authority for MM4P Uganda funds:
  • Manage all local procurement and payments;
  • Conduct due diligence of partners selected for direct financial and technical support;
  • Participate in the MM4P Investment Committee (IC) when grants for Uganda are considered, ensuring that all required documentation is accurate and available to facilitate decision-making;
  • Assist in drafting all technical assistance and grant agreements with selected partners;
  • Ensure all partners supported through agreements are reporting on time and in full to MM4P, report any issues with partners to MM4P;
  • Assist in the monitoring and give adequate feedback on BMGF activities and partners related to digital financial services;
  • Provide brief, monthly update to MM4P on Uganda activities;
  • Participate in regular call schedule with consultants and partners as organized by MM4P;
    Prepare mid-year and annual progress reports, narrative as well as financial reports and progress and results achieved for the IC.
  • Manage the identification, assessing and vetting of MicroLead Expansion, YouthStart, CleanStart, and BTCA partners’ projects and monitor their progress / Results: diverse mix of strong inclusive finance projects with partners meeting their targets (20%):
  • Participate in the study and analysis of new technical and financial support requests coming from the FSPs and project partners;
  • Participate in the identification and selection of the potential FSPs;Conduct due diligence of grantees;
    Contribute to the elaboration, implementation and follow up of the agreement documents with the FSPs;
  • Plan and undertake visits to FSPs as requested;Provide institutional support to the FSPs as needed;
  • Undertake the monitoring of activities with the FIs and other partners;
  • Report on program-related activities to the GTI Program Managers on a monthly basis;
  • Ensure that the current activities are on budget and on-track;
  • Identify problems and discuss with partners, reporting back to GTI programme managers;
  • Monitor implementation of technical assistance to partners;
  • Support technical service provider (TSP) in-country as needed;
  • Monitor TSP activities to ensure they are consistent with the agreement;
  • Raise issues and concerns with TSP and programme managers.
Knowledge generation and Knowledge Sharing / Result: UNCDF and Stakeholders are informed on current trends, market conditions, and special topics as needed and UNCDF is viewed as a leader in inclusive finance in Uganda (5%):
  • With support from the GTI Knowledge Mangers in implementing local knowledge generation activities;
  • Help draft press releases or short announcements of key UNCDF inclusive finance activities or achievements in country;
  • Oversee preparations for on contracted on-site research;
  • Identify possibilities for local collaboration with key partners, funders and other stakeholders for research and development of innovative, cutting-edge strategies and approaches to inclusive finance;
  • Participate in local knowledge sharing networks on inclusive finance;
  • Monitor local political, economic, legal and regulatory issues and provider updates to UNCDF;
  • Develop and provide annual Learning Plan for oneself and the team;
  • Attend approved trainings; share debriefing and value of training with the wider Practice community;
  • Develop a modest, online presence for programme, linked to the UNCDF Website.
Act as representative of UNCDF in country and manage country team/ Result:  UNCDF’s presence is professionally managed, cost effective and adequately funded and has support of other funders, policy makers (10%):
  • Identify and recommend possibilities for coordination and synergies between UNCDF activities in country;
  • Act as the representative of UNCDF in Uganda on financial inclusion matters, manage relations with key stakeholders, including UNDP, other UN agencies, other donor agencies, advocacy and standards organizations, and  government;
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with relevant regional and national stakeholders including the central banks, telecommunication companies, financial service providers and other key stakeholders;
  • Build and mentor effective and efficient partnerships at the operational level with major donor agencies to coordinate financial inclusion, including financial literacy, activities in country. Act as focal point for these agencies and their consultants operating within the country;
  • Recruit, hire and manage a local Knowledge Management Associate, and Finance and administrative assistance
  • Secure office space, equipment and transportation services for the local team, GTI staff and consultants;
  • Manage process of obtaining government endorsement of (i) programme document and (ii) individual funding agreements;
  • Engage with the GTIs’ funders, providing and support as requested.
Provide technical support to UNCDF management on corporate initiatives and activities, focusing on achieving the following results:  (5%):
  • Support annual and cumulative UNCDF results analyses and substantive inputs into GTI work plans and UNCDF and FIPA Business Plans;
  • Support the development of UNCDF programme and business strategies and to annual reviews;
  • Work with UNCDF on fundraising to support inclusive finance activities in Uganda, identifying opportunities and assisting in proposal development and agreement negotiation;
  • As requested, assist in overall fundraising and relationship management with UNCDF’s donors;
  • Provide advice to UNCDF senior management on technical issues and business development opportunities, including inputs into corporate presentations and reports;
  • Actively participate in annual FIPA Retreat.
  • Perform any other reasonable duties as may be assigned by the supervisor or management
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:
  • The ideal UNDP candidate should possess a Masters degree in economics, public/business administration, social sciences, or related discipline.
  • At least seven (7) years’ experience in progressively more responsible positions in the development field, including microfinance and/or financial inclusion;
  • Experience working in or with microfinance institutions, central banks and branchless and mobile banking providers.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
Personal Competencies:
Functional Competencies:
  • Possesses expert knowledge of advanced concepts in to financial inclusion, a broad knowledge of related disciplines, as well as an in-depth knowledge of relevant organizational policies and procedures;
  • Experience in branchless banking, mobile phone banking, or other efforts using technology to reach rural and poor populations;
  • Understanding of legal and regulatory issues related to mobile financial services;
  • Experience working directly with or in central banks, including on issues related to branchless and mobile financial services;
  • Experience in designing and overseeing direct technical or financial (grant) assistance to FSPs;
  • Experience working with a microfinance institution, including new product design and/or introduction;
  • Experience in designing donor projects, developing project documents, corresponding budgets, and monitoring and evaluation plans;
  • Working knowledge of current developments in microfinance, including mobile financial services and one or more of the following: youth, savings, clean energy, microinsurance, remittances, financial literacy.
  • Working experience and knowledge of socio-economic issues which excludes various vulnerable groups, in particular women and rural or remote communities, from the financial sector and the strategies employed to address these;
  • Working knowledge of international donor organizations and preferably experience in preparing proposals for funding.
  • Professional:
  • Experience advocating and advancing a policy agenda, preferably related to inclusive finance and branchless and mobile financial services;
  • Can dialogue with national and international high level counterparts and other stakeholders;
  • Manages relations with funders, maintains strong communication and client orientation;
  • Understands how to build strategic partnerships and alliances;
  • Creates networks and promotes initiatives with partner organizations;
  • Takes on innovation and new approaches and fosters innovation in others;
  • Creates an environment that fosters innovation and innovative thinking;
  • Conceptualizes more effective approaches to programme development and implementation and to mobilizing and using resources.
  • Management/Client Orientation:
  • Starts up new programmes, able to act quickly and independently to create necessary structures;
  • Ensures the full implementation of a project and the financial resources to obtain results;
  • Anticipates constraints in the delivery of services and identifies solutions or alternatives;
  • 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 managing teams, including recruiting, hiring and evaluating;
  • Focus on impact and results for clients and stakeholders;
  • Builds trust in interactions with others, facilitates partnerships;
  • Takes decisions and calculated risks;
  • Approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude and responds positively to feedback
  • Committed to team work, working with other stakeholders;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure;
  • Excellent speaking and writing skills in English are necessary;
  • Proficiency in French preferred;
  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • Proven ability to manage projects;
  • Strong IT skills, including ability to work regularly with MS Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
  • Proven cross-cultural communication.
  • Able to function effectively in an international, multicultural environment and manage a team consisting of multiple nationalities.
Core Competencies:
  • Promotes ethics and integrity, creating organizational precedents;
  • Political acumen;
  • Builds staff competence,  creating an environment of creativity and innovation;
  • Builds and promoting effective teams;
  • Creates environment for open communication and fosters a culture of knowledge sharing and learning;
  • Takes fair and transparent  decisions; calculated risk-taking;
  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modeling UN values and ethical standards;
  • Displays cultural and gender sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all persons fairly without favoritism;
  • Shows strong corporate commitment;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNCDF and UNDP
How to apply for the job:
If you believe you are one of the ideal candidates for this opportunity in working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), then visit the web link  on how to apply:
NB: UNDP is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified Women are encouraged to apply.
Deadline:  18th March, 2014

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