Regional Digital Hub Manager - West & Central Africa

UN Capital Development Fund Dakar, Senegal


UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies, which connects individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; (2) local development finance, which drives structural transformation of localities through policy and regulatory reform, fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and project finance to unlock capital flows to the local level, combined local economic expansion and sustainable development; and (3) investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization.

Since 2008, UNCDF has been supporting digital finance with significant success, with digital finance currently the largest part of its inclusive finance portfolio. This includes digital innovations linked to on an off-grid energy, agriculture, employment, health and transport.

UNCDF is also host to the Secretariat of the Better than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.  

With more than 100 professionals with strong digital finance experience across the globe and with several hundred projects in digital finance on-going, UNCDF is one of the leading development agencies in digital finance with a mission and expertise to reach very low-income customers in some of the world’s most difficult markets. UNCDF’s digital team and resources are currently spread across several programmes and UNCDF is in the process of consolidating its financial and technical resources to create a comprehensive team of experts in various domains to drive the new strategy “Leaving no one behind in the digital era”

Based on this experience UNCDF started in 2017 to expand the scope of its programmatic agenda to go beyond digital finance. Through the “Leaving none behind in the digital era” strategy, UNCDF is supporting, through its digital finance interventions, the emergence of inclusive digital economies. The strategy recognizes that reaching the full potential of digital financial inclusion in support of the SDGs aligns with the vision of promoting digital economies for the following reasons:
  • The value of DFS is not obvious, especially to poor and vulnerable populations, as it is not closely linked to their ability to respond to their specific constraints and needs around agriculture, education, health, energy and other key aspects of their daily lives.
  • New innovative services should be developed to address these unmet needs. Innovation will not come from traditional providers but mainly from a range of new players (entrepreneurs, start-ups in various sectors, and platforms like Facebook, Grab, WeChat, etc.).
The ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ strategy, to move from DF to digital economies builds upon and constitutes a logical integration of UNCDF interventions in financial inclusion and digital, developed over many years. The legacy of UNCDF intervention programmes was built through a range of country/regional programmes and global thematic initiatives, which has established a very strong reputation for UNCDF vis-à-vis donors and peers.[1]

UNCDF objective is to fully leverage its investment mandate by expanding the use of catalytic financing like loans and guarantees in the digital economy space to complement current technical assistance and grants for the public and private sector and increase development impact to leave no one behind in the digital era. Furthermore, UNCDF will help identify investment opportunities in the digital economy space in LDCs and connect them to DFIs and impact investors for follow-up investment (debt and equity).

UNCDF has the objective to provide a continuum of support to entrepreneurs and SDG-positive businesses by offering a full suite of services (with both capacity building and financing solutions) to accompany their whole growth journey from start-up to maturity, from the idea stage to becoming successful and impactful businesses. 

You can find further details on their website, https://www.uncdf.org/.
[1] This reputation is reflected in UNCDF ranking number 1 and 2 in the two CGAP donor peer review exercises that it undertook.

Regional Digital Hub Manager, West and Central Africa

In West & Central Africa, the strategy covers the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, & Sierra Leone.  A global grant on Policy and Regulation covers various countries of West and Central Africa.  Furthermore, DRC and Madagascar are also managed under the region due to the French language’s requirements.  Other countries will be added during the implementation of the strategy.

The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West & Central Africa will be responsible for managing the programming, implementation results and learning of digital activities in West & Central Africa; but also to develop models on digital innovation that meet the needs women, youth, migrants and low income customers that can be exported to other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West and Central Africa will report to the UNCDF Director Financial Inclusion on corporate/managerial issues while reporting to the Global Digital Manager, P-5 on technical digital strategy implementation.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West and Central Africa will have the following duties and responsibilities:
  • He/she will be responsible for managing & supervising all regional technical advisors and country specialists in the West & Central Africa region.
  • He/she will be responsible for developing the Digital Finance programme in the region, implementing annual work plans and reports, and overseeing the programme’s grant and loan fund in the region. 
  • S/he will be responsible for managing the regional level activities of Digital Programmes investment committee, consisting of its funders at regional level.
  • The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West & Central Africa will also have responsibility for cultivating and managing a group of technical professionals (staff, consultants and firms) in the countries he/she manages.
  • Finally, the Regional Digital Hub Manager, West & Central Africa will play a key role in identifying and securing fundraising opportunities for the strategy’s expansion in their region. 
The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West & Central Africa will provide technical and managerial leadership for the strategy implementation “Leaving no one behind in the digital era” in the geographical area detailed above. S/he will be responsible for mobilizing funds for the implementation of the strategy, identifying key sources of financing (grants, loans, equity) in the region, identifying and developing strategic partnerships for the successful strategy implementation, achieving results and disseminating learning.

Key Functions:
  1. Lead the Digital Strategy implementation process in the region
  2. Build, manage and provide technical leadership to talented team of digital finance experts in the region, providing them technical leadership and policy guidance in digital work.
  3. Provide regional leadership in building and maintaining strategic partnerships, capitalize on business opportunities and enhance resource mobilization for the digital strategy in the region, by drawing upon existing organizational resources and by focusing on achieving results.
  4. Provide technical leadership in building a strong knowledge sharing network around digital finance & innovations
  5. Support an active investment agenda related to the IDE strategy in the region, with deployment of blended finance solutions to support the growth of FSPs, companies providing digital solutions or SMEs adopting digital transformation to boost their business models.
  6. Provide corporate support to Inclusive Finance Unit and UNCDF management

Impact of Results
The key result expected is the successful implementation and attainment of targets of the “Leaving no one behind in the digital era” strategy,  including coordination with/reporting to all stakeholders, the Inclusive Digital Economies Practice Area (IDE) in UNCDF and the funders of the programme. Successful implementation will position UNCDF as a strategic partner to assist host country governments and regional bodies to leverage digital finance and digital innovations to achieve the  SDGs.  The Regional Digital Hub Manager, West & Central Africa will pursue the following key results of the programme in West & Central Africa:
  • Key customer segments (women, youth, MSMEs, migrants & refugees) leverage digital services and non-digital services to lead healthy and productive live, to grow their business and to be more efficient
  • Sustainable, scalable, replicable service providers offer access to affordable, demand-driven, appropriate, cost-effective services, to vulnerable people in underserved areas;
  • UNCDF is perceived as an active leader in inclusive finance and digital innovations in assigned countries;
  • An efficiently-managed, funded and evaluated digital strategy with top talent, expertise meeting or exceeding all targets.

Required Competencies

Core Competencies
  • Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow
  • People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
Technical/Functional Competencies
  • Subject Matter Expertise: Understands more advanced aspects of primary area of specialization as well as the fundamental concepts related to digital innovation and financial inclusion
  • Knowledge Management: Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge
  • Project Management: Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals
  • Relationship Management: Ability to engage and foster strategic partnerships with other parties, Inter-Agency Coordination and forge productive working relationships
  • Results Based Programming: Assesses project performance to identify success factors and incorporates best practices into project work

Qualifications and Experience

  • Master’s Degree in technology, economics, public/business administration, social sciences or related discipline
  • A minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in progressively more responsible positions in the financial services and/or telecommunications field; out of which at least five (5) years’ experience must be in the field of Digital Finance; digital innovations or digital financial services field;
  • Demonstrable work-experience in managerial roles in Africa region is considered a distinct advantage. 
  • Strong & in-depth knowledge of relevant UN organizational policies and procedures; programme & project management
  • Demonstrated strong technical knowledge in digital solutions, digital economies and digital financial services.
  • Experience in the digital sector in LDCs in particular in West Africa is preferred
  • Proven experience in donor projects, developing proposals, corresponding budgets, and monitoring and evaluation plans.
  • Experience in Quality Assurance
  • Fluency in both English and French required (excellent comprehension, verbal & written communication in both languages)

Terms of Appointment

This is a fixed term appointment with the successful candidate being contracted on an initial contract of one year, with contract renewals based on performance.

Location: Dakar, Senegal

How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 17 November 2021. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence. 
If you have an initial query rather than an application, kindly email us at U[email protected].
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by UNCDF to undertake this assignment.

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