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Manager - Digital Innovation

FSD Africa
Full time
Apply by 04 December 2020

Job description

About FSD Africa 

FSD Africa works to reduce poverty by strengthening Africa’s financial markets. Established in 2012 and supported by UK Aid, FSD Africa is a specialist development agency working to build and strengthen financial markets across sub-Saharan Africa. They work to reduce poverty through a ‘market systems development’ approach, which means they aim to address the structural, underlying causes of poverty by improving how financial market systems function.

They believe that investing in building a financial system that is transparent, stable and accessible creates the conditions for a fair and sustainable future, where inequality is reduced, corruption is tackled, and where individuals, businesses and governments alike are able to prepare for future challenges, from climate change to political instability.

From their headquarters in Nairobi, their team of financial sector experts work alongside governments, business leaders, regulators and policymakers to design and build ambitious programmes that make financial markets work better for everyone. Depending on the project, they can provide a combination of grants, investment capital, market insights or technical assistance to ensure they achieve their objectives.

They focus their work where the need is greatest, and where they believe the potential for impact is the most significant. FSDA has a specific mandate to invest in breakthrough, innovative ideas that they believe can have transformative impact. By sharing risk with key partners, they’re able to address more difficult, persistent, or higher-risk challenges, in more unstable or fragile geographies, than traditional development finance organisations.

About the role

The Manager, Digital Innovation will be responsible for supporting risk market innovation – working with insurance providers, other financial institutions, digital platforms and other channels & intermediaries, to design and test new mechanisms of risk management and transfer to target groups. 

In particular, this involves working to catalyse and support insurtech eco-systems in Africa and to leverage digital platforms as a distribution channel for risk management and transfer solutions to households and SMEs. In other words, the role holder will be responsible for driving FSD Africa’s work stream on risk innovation in the digital finance space which will involve actively engaging and supporting key stakeholders at the leading edge of fintech and insurtech ecosystems.

Additionally, this role will also contribute to the implementation of the FSD Africa Risk programmes by leading private sector innovation projects. Key activities include; ensuring work-plan execution as agreed with Senior Management as well as external partners, budget management, tracking achievement of project milestones and logframe indicators, providing technical supervision of consultants and quality control of outputs as well as liaising with implementing partners to support effective delivery of projects.

Location: This position is based in Kenya but is open to remote work anywhere in Africa.

Key Responsibilities: 

1.  Innovation Programming

  • Contribute towards the development of FSD Africa’s approach to risk market innovation and identify projects with potential for supporting inclusive economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In collaboration with the Results pillar, review lessons learned from previous, relevant projects (FSD Africa & Network) as well as use the results to inform the development of strategies, instruments and approaches.
  • Participate in the Risk pillar’s research agenda through development and understanding of the ecosystem, as well as the needs and requirements of stakeholders.
  •  Ensure the inclusion of FSD Africa’s cross-cutting themes: gender, youth, climate and fragile states.
  • Participate in the development and testing of Theories of Change for risk market growth and innovation. This will include identifying key market constraints and describing clear pathways for interventions and outputs to address these constraints, so as to achieve positive real social sector outcomes that are aligned to the overall FSD Africa strategy.
  • Work collaboratively with the Results Pillar to devise and manage results measurement and learning frameworks that will yield important insights into the development of effective long-term interventions.

2.  Project Planning

  • Work with the Director to develop a portfolio of Implementing Partners (‘IPs’) and Projects which will collectively be effective in driving impact and systemic change.
  • Identify a variety of instruments that might stimulate financial inclusion for FSD Africa’s target end-beneficiaries. Such instruments will be context-specific, but may include digital finance solutions, P2P insurance, On-demand insurance etc.
  • Work with start-up ecosystems to catalyse and support a pipeline of new African insurtech and regtech companies.
  • Contribute to the identification of potentially impactful IPs in addition to supporting them through the due diligence process and the development of grant agreements.
  • Collaborate with the IPs and relevant technical experts to develop project proposals that comply with Investment Committee standards.
  • Ensure that all staff, consultants, and IPs involved in a project are fully briefed concerning expectations with particular focus on project milestone targets, quality standards, data collection/reporting, and compliance with risk management/accountability requirements.
  • Develop a detailed implementation plan, budgets and cash-flow forecasts that will ensure project success and address capacity gaps of partners.

3.  Project Implementation

  • Coordinate the roll-out of a delegated portfolio of innovation projects so that results are achieved, risks are managed, and quality projects are delivered to ensure that ongoing learning from projects is fully utilised to maximise impact and innovation.
  • Work with IPs to assist them in implementing their projects according to the project plan:
  • Organise a regular schedule of visits to the IP for both self and members of other pillars as appropriate (Finance, Results).
  •  Address delivery shortfalls with a coaching style in the first instance.
  • Negotiate assertively, with the administration of consequences, in case of persistent failure to deliver.
  • Provide technical assistance, or organise the provision of support, to IPs (includes supporting IPs to provide data for MRM, Learning and Grant accountability data).
  • Review the Monthly and Quarterly M&E Report and take appropriate action on the basis of results and analysis:
  • If desired results have been achieved, initiate strategies for widespread awareness-raising and ‘crowing in’.
  • If desired results have not been achieved, either manage performance of the implementation team or adjust the strategy/ approach.
  • Identify and mitigate project risks in a timely manner (project delivery and partnership management).

4.  Communicating for Impact

  • Drive innovation through effective influencing, advocacy, and communication strategies.
  • Develop project plans as well as consult and collaborate with the Advocacy & Communications team to identify how stakeholders need to be influenced to support the success of the intervention, for instance, in stimulating market demand amongst potential beneficiaries.
  • Work collaboratively with the Advocacy & Communications team to develop and implement work plans and budgets in order to ensure that efforts are monitored and evaluated to ensure impact.
  • Contribute to the implementation of the Communication strategy (e.g. by developing content for written materials/website, participating in campaigns etc.) additionally being able to participate in and contribute to the development of annual and quarterly reports.
  • Represent FSD Africa in public forums and networking opportunities at all times behaving in a manner consistent with FSD Africa’s brand and values.

Does this sound like you?

  • Minimum of 8 years of professional experience, working within the digital financial services innovation space and / or a field relevant to financial risk market development across multiple countries and institutions, including in Africa.
  • Deep experience working in a complex and pioneering environment.
  • Proven track record of managing relationships and influencing stakeholders in the financial services industry and the ability to manage key stakeholders at senior management level within FSD Africa.
  • Strong project management skills and experience implementing projects with time frames of 2-5 years.
  • A successful track record of effectively managing people, including ability to motivate and coordinate teams.
  • Ability to manage a project through the use of digital platforms or tools to communicate and manage data/ documentation electronically.
  • Proven experience managing a project portfolio of GBP 1 million range.
  • Excellent written & spoken English.

Nice to have:

  •  Experience working in a multicultural environment.
  • Solid background working with donors, including knowledge of donor policies and procedures.
  •  Previous experience working in the fintech startup ecosystem in Africa.


Persons of all gender, race, sex, orientation, age, and identity are encouraged to apply. For those with enquiries kindly send your CV to Reynold Owuor at: reynold@shortlist.net and CC Sarah Ndegwa at sarah@shortlist.net

About FSD Africa

FSD Africa is a non-profit company, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, which promotes financial sector development across sub-Saharan Africa.

FSD Africa sees itself as a catalyst for change, working with partners to build financial markets that are robust, efficient and, above all, inclusive. It uses funding, research and technical expertise to identify market failures and strengthen the capacity of its partners to improve access to financial services and drive economic growth.

FSD Africa is also a regional platform. It fosters collaboration, best practice transfer, economies of scale and coherence between development agencies, donors, financial institutions, practitioners and government entities with a role in financial market development in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, FSD Africa provides strategic and operational support to the FSD Network.

FSD Africa believes strong and responsive financial markets will be central to Africa’s emerging growth story and the prosperity of its people.

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