Digital Financial Services (DFS) & Innovation Policy Consultant Needed-Apply Now
- GENERAL BACKGROUND
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).
The growing fintech sector and start-up ecosystem is seen as a strong contributor to driving innovation in the financial sector. To enact the full potential of the start-up ecosystem, there is need for collaboration among various stakeholders to ensure that new and innovative products are developed, given a chance to pilot and can achieve scale and sustainability. One of the main constraints for start-ups to go to market and scale is with navigating the policy and regulatory requirements. To address their needs, UNCDF is proposing a regulatory intervention that will directly support: a) An Innovation Hub/ local MSME incubator) and up to 10 FinTechs/Digital MSMEs (5 in each cohort) that require support on regulatory navigation; b) Policy makers and Regulators in Zambia.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSIGNMENT
UNCDF is looking for a national consultant with strong expertise in policy, regulation and innovation to support the Zambian start-up ecosystem and Zambian FinTech Regulatory environment. The ultimate objective of this assignment is to create a Regulatory Playbook based on the experience of 10 FinTechs to support future FinTechs and regulators on creating a more transparent and easy-to-access enabling environment. The Consultant’s work will inform a system of engagement, address regulatory barriers, and emphasize the fintech sector’s need to engage regulators and vice-versa.