Back Technical Specialist, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Tags: international relations Law finance UNDP English Environment
  • Added Date: Tuesday, 23 March 2021
  • Deadline Date: Wednesday, 23 June 2021
 

Job ID: 36221

Practice Area - Job Family: Capacity Development

Vacancy End Date: (Midnight New York, USA) 02/04/2021

Duty Station: Honiara, Solomon Islands

Education & Work Experience: G-Bachelor's Level Degree - 7 year(s) experience, I-Master's Level Degree - 5 year(s) experience

Languages: English

Grade: P3

Vacancy Type: FTA International

Posting Type: External

Bureau: UNCDF

Contract Duration: 2 Year with possibility for extension

Background

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world's 46 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile†finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.

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 capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive 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.

By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty with a focus on reaching the last mile and addressing exclusion and inequalities of access. At the same time, UNCDF deploys its capital finance mandate in line with SDG 17 on the means of implementation, to unlock public and private finance for the poor at the local level. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs and currently to 28 of 169 targets.

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 off-grid energy, agriculture, employment, health and transport. UNCDF is also host to the Secretariat of the Better than Cash Alliance, 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 many professionals with strong digital finance experience across the globe and with several hundreds of projects on digital finance on-going, UNCDF is one of the leading development agencies in digital finance with a mission and expertise to reach low-income customers in some of the world's most difficult markets.

Based on this experience UNCDF started in 2017 to expand the scope of its programmatic agenda to go beyond digital finance using its newly launched strategy “Leaving no one behind in the digital eraâ€. Through this strategy it intends to move its focus from digital finance (DF) to digital economies which constitutes a logical integration of UNCDF experience in financial inclusion and digital, developed over many years. The legacy of UNCDF intervention pro-grammes 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.

The Technical Specialist will be responsible for coordinating UNCDF's work in Solomon Islands (SOI). Last year UNCDF has started to tailor its new strategy to the Pacific context with two complementary programme initiatives that are part of a bigger portfolio approach to implement UNCDF's strategy “Leaving no one behind in the digital era†in the Pacific region.

These two programmes are:

  • The Pacific Digital Economy Programme (PDEP); and
  • The Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP),

Both Programmes' implementation will start in 2020-2021.

The Technical Specialist will be based in the UNDP country office in Honiara, Solomon Islands and will have primary responsibility for managing and overseeing UNCDF's activities in the country. The person will play a significant role in engaging a wide range of stakeholders ranging from policy makers, financial service providers, associations, and donor agencies. In particular, the person will be the main point of contact between the UNCDF and UNDP Joint Presence Office in SOI, the CBSI, DFAT SOI and other UNCDF country partners.

The Technical Specialist will work with a cross-section of partners to develop and strengthen initiatives through a variety of efforts, including but not limited to; supportive regulatory reform, research and sector assessment, quality and range of new and existing financial products and services, usage of and access to such products and services by the underserved, consumer protection and financial literacy. (S)/He will develop and manage the country portfolio of financial inclusion activities, in conjunction with the UNCDF regional team in Suva, and will play a significant role in engaging a wide range of stakeholders ranging from policy makers, regulators, government agencies, financial service providers, telecommunication companies, business associations, NGOs and donor agencies.

The Technical Specialist will be responsible for activities, outputs, and outcomes under both PDEP and PICAP programs in the country. This involves working closely with UNCDF partners, from the government, such as the central bank and ministries, the private sector, including but not limited to commercial banks, mobile network operators, Fin-techs, insurance companies, remittance service providers etc, as well as development partners, such as other UN Agencies, donor organizations and NGO's.

This fixed-term P3 position is based in Honoria, Solomon Islands, and the role reports to UNCDF Digital Hub Manager, P5 based in Suva. Fiji.

Duties and Responsibilities

I. Functions / Key Results Expected

Summary of key functions:

  • Support the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) in implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and the National Digital Economy Strategy (NDES).
  • Actively engage in identification, development, and oversight of a diverse mix of strong projects with country partners that support UNCDF outcomes.
  • Monitor progress of projects and initiatives – ensuring that projects are running on time and partners are reporting regularly, problems are identified early and remedial steps proposed and actioned.
  • Manage Digital Economy related research. Facilitate the flow of information and knowledge between key stakeholders in research efforts and assist in organizing and where necessary, conducting, surveys, focus groups, workshops, research results presentations and knowledge exchange events. Assist in the planning and execution of UNCDF events.
  • Donor Coordination and Partnership management support and events planning.
  • UNCDF corporate support. Provide support to UNCDF management on corporate initiatives and activities.

1. Support the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT)/National Digital Economy Taskforce (NDET) in implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and the National Digital Economy Strategy (NDES)

  • Work closely with CBSI to generate interest in and execution of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (III) and the National Digital Economy Strategy and its Key Results Areas to expand Digital Financial Services in Solomon Islands.
  • Act as representative of UNCDF on NIFT/NDET, participate in Task Force meetings and working group meetings, manage UNCDF's input to those meetings and UNCDF's reporting to the Taskforce and to CBSI.
  • Provide ongoing capacity building to members of the NFIT/NDET and the working groups by conducting relevant financial inclusion/digital economy related workshops & training programs at country level.

2. Actively engage in identification, development, and oversight of a diverse mix of strong projects with country partners that support UNCDF outcomes

  • Working closely with financial service providers, Government, donors, and other stakeholders, develop a pipeline of potential projects that help UNCDF achieve its outcomes. Projects will be related to branchless banking, mobile phone banking, inclusive insurance, disaster risk financing instruments, remittances, microfinance, blended finance, micro pensions, savings groups and potentially other areas.
  • With the support of UCNDF team, work with shortlisted partners to develop robust pipeline of projects that reach low income and rural households, small businesses with specific focus on including a high percentage of women and youth.
  • Champion new projects, as assigned by the UNCDF and conduct verification visits and due diligence of grant applicants.
  • Prepare project appraisal documents for presentation to the UNCDF Investment Committee. These projects will involve public and private sector partners, such as banks, mobile network operators, insurance companies, key Government Ministries, NGOs as well as non-bank financial institutions amongst others.
  • Assist in preparing grant and performance based agreement documentation for approved partners.

3. Monitor progress of projects and initiatives / projects are running on time and smoothly, problems are identified early, and remedial steps proposed and actioned

  • With the UNCDF Team, particularly liaising with the Results Measurement Adviser, manage a reporting schedule for partners and monitor the receipt and quality of reports. Provide analysis and feedback to partners.
  • Undertake regular contact with partners to monitor the implementation of projects supported by grants from UNCDF. Assist partners in fulfilling reporting requirements. Monitoring shall be made against quantifiable benchmarks and efficiency indicators agreed in the grant agreement – including the validation of grantees progress reports.
  • Based on the findings of the monitoring visits, prepare regular progress reports for the purpose of reporting to the Investment Committee by project management.

4.

Carry out or

m

anage financial inclusion/digital economy related research. Facilitate the flow of information and knowledge between key stakeholders in research efforts and assist in organizing and where necessary, conducting, surveys, focus groups, workshops, research results presentations and knowledge

exchange events. Assist in the planning and execution of UNCDF events.

  • Oversee research and studies, independently or as a counterpart to consultant(s) hired by UNCDF, on various issues relating to Digital Economy in SOI. These may include financial services sector assessments, financial competency surveys, studies of branchless banking and mobile phone banking, climate insurance, agent networks, government to people payments, client preferences and uptake of financial services, micro-insurance supply and demand studies.
  • Provide support in organizing in-country events to disseminate knowledge and results of research, including venue and support services identification, lists invitees and invitation process.
  • Develop “information exchange events†for stakeholders.
  • Contribute to UNCDF technical notes and other publications, highlighting challenges, opportunities, and successes in country.
  • Identify stakeholders from SOI to participate in knowledge sharing opportunities, assist in managing the logistics of their participation.
  • Contribute, as appropriate, to global knowledge sharing to spread the information on SOI experience in digital finance.

5. Donor Coordination and

Partnership management support and events planning

  • Under the guidance of the UNCDF regional team and framework, build effective and efficient partnerships at the operational level with main donors and stakeholders at country and regional levels, including but not limited to the members of the Central Bank, Australian Government, ADB, European Investment Bank, IFC, IMF, UNCDF, and the New Zealand Government to coordinate digital finance activities in-country, including financial literacy, advocacy and related activities.
  • Provide assistance where required to the above-mentioned partners and their consultants operating within the country. Document and share experience on partnership interactions as input into corporate business intelligence.
  • Work closely with the UNDP country head and the team in strengthening and integrating digital economy outcomes in national programming.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with relevant regional and national stakeholders, for sharing of experience and to promote coordination of activities in the area of financial inclusion. Key stakeholders include the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Finance Ministries, Central Banks, telecommunication companies, microfinance service providers, FSPs, and donors.
  • Maintain regular contact with partners, managing contact/consultant data base, and liaising with UNCDF knowledge management and communications team.
  • Identify key knowledge constraints and organize learning, knowledge exchange, training, workshops, etc. to build the capacity and interest in relevant themes (i.e. consumer rights and protection; financial inclusion policy, best practices, monitoring and evaluation, etc.).
  • Maintain close partnership and relationship ties with the CBSI to support interest in the development and execution of the national financial inclusion/digital economy strategy to expand digital finance in SOI.
  • Builds and support partnerships through regular interaction with stakeholders and assists in the planning and execution of UNCDF events in country.

6. UNCDF corporate support.

Provide support to management on corporate initiatives and activities.

  • Support UNCDF team members during visits in country. Assist in logistics of local travel and setting up meetings. Keep meeting minutes and track action items.
As needed support the programme team in fulfilling planning and reporting requirement to the Investment Committee, UNDP, UNCDF and its other funders. Build an effective partnership with UNDP Sub-Office and the UN Joint Presence Office in the Solomon Islands, managing information and inputs between various UN agencies. Strengthen synergies and collaborative undertakings with UNCDF executed local development projects in the Solomon Islands. Provide advice and input from country perspective on project management/performance issues, planning and monitoring portfolio performance results for UNCDF.

II. Impact of Results

  • Robust relationships with Government departments, financial services stakeholders' donors and other development partners;
  • A portfolio and pipeline of high quality and innovative projects and other initiatives to support the development of Solomon Islands digital economy.
  • Increased visibility and recognition by UNCDF's stakeholders in the country for its expertise and capacity to deliver development outcomes for an inclusive digital economy.
  • The development of capacity through coaching, mentoring and formal on-the-job training, when working with (including supervising) national staff or (non-) governmental counterparts, including Implementing Partners (IP's);

Competencies

Core Competencies:

Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work

Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them

Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow

Level 5: Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers

People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

Level 5: Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others

Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others

Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Technical/Functional Competencies:

  • Project and Team Management - Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Stakeholder Advocacy and Coordination - Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Decision Making and Solutions - Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Innovation - Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Managing Complexity and Terms -Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Client Orientation - Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

Master's degree in Economics, Public/Business Administration, Social Sciences, International Relations, or related discipline.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum of five (5) years' experience in progressively more responsible positions in the banking, finance, or development field, including in digital economy/financial inclusion.
  • Solid experience in financial services and/or digital economy sector (e.g. Digital Finance, FinTech, InsurTech, eCommerce, Telco, etc) is preferred.
  • Experience working with community-based and rural initiatives, including those related to inclusive finance;
  • Experience managing or conducting research, particularly related to digital economy/financial inclusion;
  • Ability to develop project documents, corresponding budgets, and monitoring and evaluation plans;
  • Experience in monitoring development projects with financial component, conducting basic financial analysis, establishing and monitoring performance-based indicators, and investigating impact;
  • Working knowledge of current developments in inclusive finance, including one or more of the following: digital economy, branchless banking, mobile money, climate insurance, micro-insurance, social performance, financial literacy;
  • Working experience and knowledge of socio-economic issues, which results in the exclusion of various groups, in particular women and youth, from the financial sector and ability to generate strategies to address those issues; and
  • Working knowledge of international donor organizations and development partners and preferably experience in preparing proposals for funding is essential.
  • Excellent analytical skills; Strong oral and written communication 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. The candidate(s) should be able to function effectively in an international, multicultural environment.
  • Experience in the Pacific is preferred.
  • Ability to travel regularly within Solomon Islands and where necessary to other Pacific countries.
  • Demonstrated broad knowledge of development issues, especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, women's economic empowerment and local development.
  • Substantive know-how and in-depth understanding of the project management cycle and managing for results.
  • Knowledge of the programme framework.
  • Knowledge of UNDP/UNCDF field level organization.
  • Experience working in developing countries is considered an advantage.
  • Experience working with development partners, such as UN organizations or other multilateral organizations (e.g. WorldBank, IFC, ADB) is considered an advantage.

Language:

  • Fluency in written and spoken English.

Disclaimer

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