United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 47 least developed countries. 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. UNCDF has been active in the area of financial inclusion over the past 25 years, through a market development approach combining support to governments and regulators, as well as to the private sector in order to develop scalable products and services for under-served and un-banked populations.
UNCDF mission 2030 is to accelerate the development of services leveraging digital finance & innovation by providing the right balance of technical expertise and financial support to government, private & non-profit sectors & academia. UNCDF 2024 goal is to empower millions of people to use services leveraging innovation and technology that contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNCDF inclusive digital economy strategy
UNCDF strategy ‘Leaving no one behind in the digital era’ is based on over a decade of experience in digital finance in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. UNCDF recognizes that reaching the full potential of digital financial inclusion in support of the Sustainable Development Goals aligns with the vision of promoting digital economies that leave no one behind.
UNCDF will focus on understanding the intersection of six categories of digital services entailing (i) agriculture, (ii) transport, (iii) energy, (iv) education, (v) health and (vi) finance across five categories of users: (i)women, (ii)youth, (iii)refugees, (iv) migrants and (v) MSMEs.
To implement this strategy UNCDF will continue to apply a market development approach at country level. The objective of such an approach is to continuously seek to understand and intervene in select market systems to address underlying market dysfunctions that lead to improved efficiencies, effectiveness and sustainability. The approach will seek to (1) leverage the roles and behaviors of current players in the marketplace, support them to continue doing what they do better or to change their behavior, and (2) strengthen the systems and relationships among the various market and sector actors (3) work with current players to de-risk new business models to make digital solutions more inclusive for key segments and reduce the digital divide.
UNCDF inclusive digital economy strategy in Zambia
Since 2015, UNCDF has been implementing projects that address the needs of the 40% population that has been financially excluded using a market development approach on digital finance in Zambia. The programme has the aim to develop an inclusive digital economy in Zambia by leveraging digital financial payments in the utility sector. UNCDF in Zambia will support resilient and inclusive economic growth through provision of digital financial services in the utility sector that are available, accessible and affordable to all Zambians. The programme will support FSPs and Fintechs to expand the reach to services such as financial services, energy, water & sanitation.
The expected target for this program at 2021 is to reach thirty thousand of Zambians through digital services in the utility (energy, water & sanitation) sector, of which at least 40% are women and 60% are youth (aged between 15-35 years). This will be implimented with a specific focus at empowering rural communities, women, youth, migrants, refugees and MSME’s – to lead productive and healthy lives, by expanding access and usage of digital services.
The main expected outcomes of this new initiative include:
- To improve access to affordable digital service and increase availability and affordability of digital payment services in the utility sector with a specific focus at women and youth
- To support resilience and inclusive economic digital growth, that can build financial and digital capabilities of customers
- To strengthen institution capacity of policy makers and regulators, thereby improving their capacity to develop, formulate and implement Digital Transformation framework
UNCDF needs a Digital Financial Services Expert – Utilities to provide technical expertise in Digital Financial Services and utility solutions (water, energy) to UNCDF ‘s programmes in Zambia as well as interventions with selected grantees to serve the needs of key customer segments (Youth, women, migrants, refugees, and micro-small and medium-sized enterprises) in Zambia.
Duties and Responsibilities
1. Provide Technical assistance and training to companies and SMEs specially within the utility sector, on how to embed and build digital and financial literacy tools within their offerings. This will include;
- Designing new business models and delivery channels for building financial and digital capabilities, and soft and hard skills of companies and customers
- Developing partnerships through training education organizations and civil society organizations to address urgent issues relating to customers’ capabilities to access, use and control over digital innovations.
- Provide TA to a Utility partner design and launch digital and financial literacy campaigns to users of payment services
Project outcome; New business models and delivery channels for building financial and digital capabilities, and soft and hard skills of companies and customers, are piloted and deployed at scale.
Expected level of effort: 40. days.
2. Provide Technical Assistance to accelerate innovation in digital financial services and beyond, with new and improved solutions that propel low and moderate-income people to experience services that empower their daily lives. Key focus will be de-risking new models for utility companies in Zambia to leverage digital payment to increase access and usage of their services. This will include:
- Conducting a scoping study of utility services in the areas of the pilot to understand expectations, needs and challenges of Zambians and assess opportunity to leverage digital innovations /solutions in the government and utility services.
- Organizing a Request for Applications to select partners to come up with the best digital solutions to increase adoption and usage of utility services and payments.
- Selecting at least 2 partners and extend a grant to de-risk new solutions for digital utility payments
- At least 2 partners in Zambia are supported with TA & grant/s to pilot and/or scale digital utility payments
Project outcome; Inclusive Innovative business models and services are tested and deployed at scale in various sectors
Expected level of effort: 110 days.
3. Provide Technical Assistance on developing an open digital infrastructure & payment ecosystem as a key building block of a digital economy in Zambia, specifically the utility sector to benefit vulnerable segments such as women & youth. This will include;
- Specialized technical assistance and exposure to best practices regarding the development of suitable financial products and services to respective partners.
- Convening discussions/events to stimulate market/private sector investments to expand business models with a specific focus on women and youth
Project outcome; Available, accessible, affordable, reliable and appropriate digital payment services are piloted and deployed at scale.
Expected level of effort: 35 days.
4. (With support from the policy & DFS consultants) Provide Technical Assistance to further develop and expound an enabling policy and regulatory environment in Zambia to expand the digital economy (though the utility sector) and increased trust and confidence in digital financial services/payments. This will include;
- Specialized technical assistance and advice to financial sector and relevant sectoral policy makers and regulators, for the development of inclusive policy and regulations for the digital transformation of utility sector of Zambia.
- Provide capacity building/training and technical assistance to Bank of Zambia and other regulators and organize exposure visits for regulators to global best practices in Fintech and approaches from other markets
- Promote Fintechs among market players, government in Zambia through dialogue, events and other disseminations approaches (e.g. forum to show-tell innovation)
Project outcome; Inclusive policies and regulations that enable access and usage of digital services are responsibly adopted and implemented in Zambia
Expected level of effort: 30 days.