Digital Financial Services Design Consultant

United Nations Development Programme, Zambia

Skill Required:, Finance and Accounts
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
30th August, 2019

Job Description


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.

In Zambia, 40% of the population is financially excluded, with 44% adult account usage of digital financial services. There has been a rapid rise in the availablility and use of digital financial services as well as its enabling infrastructure, like agents. From 2017 to 2018, the number of agents has risen from approximately 23,000 agents to 47,000 agents. Despite the growth of the industry, there is still a strong need for digital finance products to address the needs of those traditionally underserved (e.g., women, youth, rural populations). UNCDF’s estimate based on their DFS State of the Industry Market Report is that DFS providers, on average, have 20-30% of their customer base as women, despite women being approximately 50% of the population.

UNCDF has a strong history of and belief in the economic empowerment of women. In Zambia, UNCDF launched last year a report: Labor Pains: The Financial Lives of Zambian mothers, which described the economic lifecyles of Zambian mothers across geographies and incomes. Not surprisingly several challenges were cross cutting, regardless of geography or income. These challenges represent not only the needs of Zambian women, but those that are underserved across Zambia.

Duties and Responsibilities

Objectives of the Assignment

UNCDF is looking for a Design Consultant with strong expertise in design and improvement of design of DFS products. The Consultant’s work will inform a design sprint competition, and support the resulting winner, increasing the number of women who have access to financial services in Zambia.

Scope of Work

Under the direct supervision of the Regional Technical Specialist, the Design Consultant will be responsible for undertaking and delivering the following deliverables:

  • Constructing and Implementing a Design Sprint Competition focused on increasing access to Digital Financial Services for women customers, with the objective to increase the number of women who have access to financial services by 20,000.
  • Providing Product Design & Product Marketing Technical Assistance to the final Winner of the above Design Sprint to scale the product or service, focused on increasing the number of customers by 30,000.
  • Providing Training and Technical assistance on product design and/or marketing of DFS products to 5 FinTechs.


Functional Competencies:

  • Understanding and/or background in financial inclusion, microfinance, or access to finance or similar field focused on “innovation for good”;
  • Proven ability to engage DFS providers;
  • Understanding of need for sensitivity and confidentially of information involved in dealing with DFS competitors;
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills of a high order, including the ability to formulate recommendations and advice;
  • Ability to translate complex technical ideas to a non-technical audience in verbally and in writing;
  • Excellent writing skills.

Corporate Competencies:

  • Strong ability to communicate and function effectively in local/international/multicultural environment;
  • Excellent networking with a demonstrated ability to build and maintain professional relationships;
  • Ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure;
  • Project management skills;
  • Excellent Writing Skills
  • Excellent PowerPoint and excel skills;
  • Excellent presentation skills.
  • High level planning, organizational and time management skills, including flexibility, attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure to meet changing deadlines;
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills, including the ability to liaise effectively at senior levels, including central banks;
  • Strong analytical, reporting and writing skills;
  • Pro-active, constructive attitude, open to feedback.

Required Skills and Experience: The consultant must provide evidence of the technical capacity to undertake this assignment. This includes capacity to deliver the results in the timeframe provided as well as indication of prior experience (relevant financial inclusion/capabilities and experience, training, programme development).

Education: Master’s degree in Economics, Finance, Banking, International Development, Product Design, Business Management, Education or related fields;


  • At least five years in progressive roles working in design thinking/designing products and/or marketing for low-income segments;
  • Demonstrated experience designing and implementing design sprints for financial service products;
  • Demonstrated experience in working with Digital Financial service providers in at least 2 markets;
  • Previous work in Zambia is preferred;
  • Previous work in Southern Africa is mandatory;

Language Requirements: Spoken and written fluency in English is mandatory.


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