Back Operations Officer, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • Added Date: Wednesday, 31 March 2021
  • Deadline Date: Thursday, 01 July 2021

Operations Officer

Job #: req11438

Organization: IFC

Sector: Operations

Grade: GG

Term Duration: 3 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment

Location: Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Required Language(s): English

Preferred Language(s): French

Closing Date: 4/12/2021 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

The International Finance Corporation: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. In addition to its investment work, IFC provides advisory services to a number of its clients to support them in meeting specific development goals. IFC's advisory support to the financial sector is implemented via its Financial Institutions Group and is organized around the following main themes:

  • Innovation/Base of Pyramid: including Microfinance, Digital Financial Services, Housing Finance, Agricultural Finance.
  • Banking Services: SME Finance, Climate Finance, Insurance, Banking on Woman, Risk Management and Non-financial Services.
  • Financial Infrastructure: Credit Reporting, Collateral Registries and Secured Transactions.

These services are delivered through regional Advisory Services teams, with support from global product specialists, and in partnership with IFC's Investment and Upstream Services teams.

IFC & Digital Financial Services:

Some 2.7 billion adults - almost 70 percent of the population in developing countries - have no access to formal financial services. IFC, along with a number of other international development agencies, sees digital financial services (DFS) as an important way to bring low-income people into the formal financial system in ways that are efficient and cost-effective for both operators and users. The experience in the region, which provides financial services to millions of low-income Africans, has shown that this can be a viable business model.

Based on early success stories, the industry is experiencing a period of scaling and collaboration, with banks, MNOs, payment service providers and other stakeholders implementing different solutions, to achieve scale, in a cost effective manr. Africa is currently at the forefront of this wave, and IFC is engaging with a range of DFS partners to address key constraints to the rapid deployment of digital solutions for banking, particularly: 1) digital transformation business model definition and roadmapping; 2) distribution channel management, 3) product development; 4) technology and data analytics; and 5) customer education within underserved groups such as small-holder farmers and woman. It should be noted that IFC is not limiting its approach to mobile phone based solutions, but rather is looking at any sort of technology and/or agent enabled models that have potential for improving access to financial services for the poor.

IFCs works with various financial sector clients, including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Banks, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and payment services providers (PSPs) with the aim of building large-scale, sustainable and competitive ecosystems for digital financial services, in which a range of different players can offer services to the market, and particularly to low income people. IFC works across industries to build tailor made solutions for financial services such as agriculture off-takers, cooperatives and other key anchors. IFC also has operational and knowledge partnerships with a number of like-minded institutions with an interest in digital financial inclusion to disseminate knowledge and best practice.

Duties and Accountabilities ::

IFC is seeking to recruit a highly-motivated DFS Operations Officer, with extensive hands-on experience in designing and managing projects related to the implementation of DFS deployments in Africa; specifically within the agricultural sector. The individual should have extensive experience working with financial technology companies and/or assisting financial institutions on fintech deployment strategies and data analytics. The Operations Officer will be responsible for supporting client engagements, in close cooperation with IFC investment, upstream and advisory services staff. Depending on interest, there may also be opportunities to lead original research projects on topics related to digital financial services. The specialist will provide support in the following areas:

Business Development:

  • Lead new business development including sourcing and following leads; and proposing providing advisory support to IFC clients on DFS engagements and strategies;
  • Help clients think through DFS strategies through use of a proprietary digital transformation and financial modelling tools;
  • Conduct gap analysis on client capabilities and provide recommendations for areas of investment to support the agreed DFS implementation;
  • Ensure clients proceed through the business development process from identification of new leads, developing client proposals and signing new business deals;
  • Using an iterative project design process, assist clients in developing business plans, project budgets and implementation plans for DFS projects;
  • Support IFC DFS investment efforts, by interacting with the Financial Institutions Group industry department, as well as other relevant investment departments, including Upstream. This will include supporting the vetting of potential investment clients, pipeline identification and participation in joint investment-advisory appraisals, where appropriate.

Project Management and Technical Support

  • Monitor implementation and progress of client projects and provide strategic technical support and backstopping to clients. Recommend corrective action where/if necessary;
  • Manage a team of Specialists, Residence Advisors and Analysts to fully implement projects and ensure the project is on time, on budget, on scope and demonstrating excellence;
  • Support the identification and selection of specialist short-term consultants/firms to deliver specific programs of work with clients. Supervision of consultant work to ensure high quality and on-time delivery of work program;
  • Help raise additional donor funding for the DFS program in the region.
  • Ensure the project is in adherence to IFCs development objectives;
Timely issuance of client invoices and tracking of cash management; Enforce project management tools, governance tracking and reporting systems.

Research and Development

  • Participate in and lead topical research efforts pertaining to digital financial services, payments and financial inclusion;
  • Close collaboration with the Monitoring & Evaluation team, to ensure that evaluation activities are embedded into project design and implementation, yielding insights and data on the impact achieved on projects at a relatively low cost to clients;
  • Support the development of knowledge guides and practice notes seeking to summarize and publish learning;
  • Contribute to the design and development of internal and external knowledge sharing events to share product lessons and experience, and learn from others;
  • Support global dissemination of knowledge through participation in regular practice group meetings with peer specialists, conducting appraisal missions in other regions and on-going contribution of client-tested tools to the various toolkits.

Selection Criteria

  • Masters level degree in business, engineering, finance or equivalent technology related qualification;
  • At least eight years of experience in financial services in emerging markets, preferably with at least 4-5 years of experience of using technology to expand reach of financial services to low-income populations.
  • Excellent client relationship skills, with an ability to engage in strategy discussions at senior management levels in MNOs, banks, payment service providers and MFIs.
  • Experience in implementing technology driven solutions for the banking industry, including data analytics, prototyping and produce development techniques including human centered design, rapid and evolutionary prototyping. Familiarity with international best practices and global trends in digital financial services and payments systems.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including presentation skills (MS Visio, MS PowerPoint).
  • Strong project management skills including problem solving and troubleshooting skills.
  • Experience working in East Africa, particularly Ethiopia and preferably at least one other region of the world. Willingness and ability to travel extensively.
  • Excellent communications skills, verbal and written, in English. French is highly preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively in teams, communicate ideas clearly and confidently, articulate issues and recommend solutions.

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.


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