Consumer Insights for Financial Inclusion (CiFi) Centre:Project Lead
Kenya has emerged as a leader in the application of technology to financial inclusion. It is home to Safaricom’s M-PESA service, one of the world’s most successful mobile payments schemes. Equity Bank is probably the most effective provider of financial services to low-income markets on the continent and has placed branchless banking at the heart of its future retail strategy.
The number of bank accounts has expanded four fold in the space of six years. Partnerships between Safaricom and the commercial banking sector have produced a range of financial products that ride on the M-PESA transactional ‘rails’.
Notable among these is a recent partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), M-Shwari, which provides both a savings account and a credit facility operated entirely through the mobile channel.
The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) programme was established in 2005 to support the development of financial markets in Kenya as a means to stimulate wealth creation and reduce poverty.
Working in partnership with the financial services industry, the programme’s goal is to expand access to financial services among lower income households and smaller enterprises, as a route to strengthening the livelihoods of lower-income Kenyans.
It operates as an independent trust under the supervision of professional trustees, KPMG Kenya, with guidance from a Programme Investment Committee (PIC).
In addition to the Government of Kenya, funders include the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
FSD’s support for digital financial markets in Kenya has become increasingly central to its programme.
FSD has brought together a number of initiatives into a more coherent vision to support the goal of creating a ‘cash-lite’ economy in Kenya over the medium term.
The rationale behind this vision is that constraints to financial inclusion can only really be addressed at scale through leveraging on digital technologies.
While Kenya has made impressive strides in broadening the outreach of financial services, the cost of transactions and access to finance still represent major constraints to deepening financial inclusion and increasing the impacts of financial services on poverty.
Exclusion remains high among the lowest income groups and for many others low levels of usage point to the limitations of current services.
Technology opens up possibilities to tackle both affordability and relevance. In 2013, FSD’s vision for a ‘cash-lite’ financial sector was given a major boost through a new strategic partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The synergies of FSD’s years of in-country experience combined with Gates’ global expertise in digital finance will drive a common vision based on a series of concrete interventions and activities across the sector.
Research is an important part of FSD-Gates approach to digital financial inclusion. Earlier work – especially examining the demand-side – has been highly effective in supporting the development of a range of work.
A focus of future work will to further leverage on consumer insights, translating them into financial solutions which can be brought to market through specific partnerships with providers.
In building an effective and supportive infrastructure for the delivery of digital finance, there is a need for more research on agency models, technology/consumer interfaces, as well as price tracking to monitor the effects of interoperability.
Lastly, in relation to policy, research is required on the implications of digital finance for consumer protection and fraud, as well as monitoring poverty impacts, including over-indebtedness.
Future research into digital financial inclusion will now be managed through the Consumer Insights for Financial Inclusion Centre (CiFi) as part of the wider Knowledge Theme project portfolio.
A sister project, the Retail Innovations Initiative (RII), will operate in tandem, focusing on managing and driving innovation partnerships with industry.
In addition to leveraging on research to drive retail innovation, CiFi will also contribute to policy and infrastructural development through close synergies with FSD’s new Policy Support Facility (PSF) and the Kenya Payment Platform Project.
A project lead is required to head up the new CiFi Centre.
Lead research to underpin realisable solutions for developing digital financial markets and improving the financial capabilities of low-income people
3. Scope of Work
3.1 Ideas generation
Through extensive field research and close collaboration with a wide range of partners nationally and internationally, FSD is well positioned to help create new ways of tackling financial inclusion in Kenya.
The CiFi Project Lead will orchestrate processes within FSD and involving FSD’s network of development partners, consultants, service providers and research institutions in to produce new ideas to feed into the innovations process.
3.2 Retail innovation
The Project Lead will collaborate closely with the RII team to bring insights on improved financial capability to bear on the market.
S/he will be responsible for delivering appropriate research in support of (disruptive) innovation, including concept testing, segmentation analysis, product development and monitoring and so forth.
An eclectic approach is needed using credit scoring, big data analytics, market segmentation, qualitative deep dives, behavioural economics, experimental methodologies and so forth.
The challenge will be to capitalise on the innovation appetite within industry, and leverage this through appropriate research inputs in line with making market work for the poor (M4P) principles.
FSD’s role is to help move the market into new areas where knowledge may be lacking, through technical assistance and field research provided by a combination of in-house and outsourced expertise.
3.3 Policy analysis
Working with the Policy Support Facility (PSF) and other parts of the FSD team, the Project Lead will identify how research can be used to support policy to improve the environment for pro-poor digital finance in Kenya.
The Project Lead will work closely with policy audiences to highlight the poverty and inclusion implications of market development trends.
A significant element of policy oriented research is impact research.
The Project Lead is expected to design and deliver an innovative and credible impact research programme for FSD’s Digital Financial Inclusion Strategy, in close collaboration with FSD’s Impact Research team.
3.4 Research management
The Project Lead will be responsible for delivering FSD’s digital finance research agenda.
Depending on the nature of partnerships with others, the research management process to be supported will typically involve some or all of the following tasks:
- Refining and developing core research questions to be addressed by the project, identifying clearly how the research will contribute to FSD’s digital financial inclusion objective
- Identifying suitable research methods to support the project’s aims, balancing the requirements for achieving rigour, ensuring cost effectiveness and timeliness of results.
- Ensuring that research is of high quality through development and monitoring of research protocols and data collection
- Monitoring the implementation of research initiatives to ensure quality, relevance, cost control, timeliness and ethical standards are maintained at all stages including instrument design, sampling, piloting, instrument revision, fieldwork and coding.
- Steering the analysis process to ensure that the data is analysed rigorously and useful insights are generated. This is typically likely to involve a combination of direct analysis and working with other analysts on a partnership or contract basis.
- Ensuring that all findings together with all key research issues encountered and resolutions are systematically documented in line with good research practice.
- Writing, co-writing or editing (as appropriate) research reports/papers presenting the key findings, analysis, insights and implications of the research.
- Seeking peer reviews of reports/papers developed from relevant reviewers to ensure quality of material
The Project Lead will be responsible for the production of high quality written outputs and presentations to meet the requirements of a wide range of high-level stakeholders.
Effective communications will be essential to reach a range of audiences on specialised technical and non-technical issues relating to digital financial inclusion.
3.6 Team management
The Project Lead will manage a small team to deliver a highly demanding set of outputs in a timely manner and coordinate closely with the wider FSD and Gates teams.
FSD needs to be responsive to the fast-moving environment of financial market development in which it operates. Given a small team it is essential to focus effort effectively.
3.7 Research support
The CiFi Project Lead will provide support on research across the FSD programme, providing technical support to other projects on research issues where required.
For less intensive/technically demanding work this will be limited to backstopping support.
Where there is a specific major research activity with a significant technical element as part of a project, the project lead will take on responsibility for managing it.
- Relevant qualification in social science (minimum masters level)
- At least 5 years working experience
- Track record of successful application of research
- Experience working in financial services (developing/emerging economies preferred)
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English
How to apply:
Send your application including a cover letter indicating your desire to work with our client; a detailed CV highlighting relevant experience, details of current and expected salary, a daytime phone contact, email address, and the names of three professional referees to:
P O Box 6416, Nairobi, GPO 00100
Email: [email protected]
Only short listed candidates will be contacted.
Please note that we do not charge fees for receiving or processing job applications.
Closing date: 3rd September 2013