Digital Finance Research and Knowledge Consultant, Better Than Cash Alliance

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    May 20

Position description


UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to inclusive finance 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 can provide seed capital both grants and loans as well as technical support that will improve poor peoples’ lives.

UNCDF works to enlarge peoples’ choices: it believes that poor people and communities should take decisions about their own development. UNCDF works in challenging environments – remote rural areas, countries emerging from conflict – and paves the way for others to follow. Its programmes are designed to catalyze larger investment flows from the private sector, development partners and national governments, for significant impact on the Millennium Development Goals, especially Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.

Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with UNDP.

Based in UNCDF, the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) is a partnership of governments, companies and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth by:

  • Advocating for the transition from cash to digital payments in a way that advances financial inclusion and promotes responsible digital finance.
  • Catalyzing the development of inclusive digital payments ecosystems in member countries to reduce costs, increase transparency, advance financial inclusion-- particularly for women-- and drive inclusive growth; and
  • Conducting research and sharing the knowledge and experiences of our members to inform strategies for making the transition.

Billions of dollars in cash payments and transfers are made daily in emerging and developing economies, including payment of salaries, social welfare and relief, payments to suppliers, remittances, etc. The problems with these cash payments include a lack of transparency, accountability and security, as well as inefficiency.

Furthermore, the individuals who receive the cash payments are often part of the 1.7 billion excluded from the formal financial sector.  This means they are excluded from access to a range of appropriate and affordable financial services to help them save safely take advantage of economic opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to risk.

Shifting these payments from cash to digital has the potential to improve the lives of low-income people, particularly women, while giving governments, the development community and the private sector a more transparent, time and cost efficient, and often-safer means of disbursing payments.

The Better Than Cash Alliance Team’s Core Values are the following: 

  • Achieving together
  • Striving for excellence
  • Service oriented
  • Results oriented

BTCA is looking to hire a Consultant for Digital Finance Research and Knowledge Consultant – London and Home Office as agreed, United Kingdom.

For more information on BTCA, please visit the website:



Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Head of the Digital Payments Resource and Innovation Hub the incumbent will support the following duties:

Summary of key functions:

  • Strategy for Research and Knowledge: Provide consultancy expert support for the development and implementation of the global and in-country research and knowledge strategy focused on supporting the Alliance members research needs and knowledge gaps to increase digital payments in their respective economies.
  • Support the integration of Research and Knowledge into regional and in-country advisory work: In collaboration with Regional, Country and Corporate Leads, integrate knowledge sharing and learning into all aspects of the BTCA in-country work.
  • Quality assurance of all Alliance research products:  work with the Managing Director and Head of the Digital Payments Hub to ensure quality of all research products, including the integration of specific expertise into research products. 

Strategy Development for Research and Knowledge: 

Provide consultancy expert support for the development and implementation of the global and in-country research and knowledge strategy focused on supporting the Alliance members research needs and knowledge gaps to increase uptake and usage of digital payments in their respective economies.

  • Assess digital payment trends as well as research and knowledge needs to inform a strategy for research and knowledge projects to continue positioning the Better Than Cash Alliance as a thought leader on digitization of payments to drive inclusive growth and to serve BTCA members;
  • Support the team to identify and build effective and efficient research partnerships with think tanks, academia, members and other stakeholders to expand acceptance by governments, development agencies, and private sector that digital-payment solutions are preferable to cash;
  • Prepare annual research and knowledge work plans with targets and budgets for management approval.

Support the integration of Research and Knowledge into regional and in-country work: In collaboration with the Regional, Advocacy and Communications teams, integrate knowledge sharing into all aspects of the BTCA work streams.

  • Work with the Regional and Country teams to ensure research and advisory work are in synch and able to distill and aggregate lessons for global audience.
  •  Work with the Regional, Country and Corporate Leads to design and implement a peer- learning agenda and a knowledge-sharing strategy among Alliance members. In addition, support the Alliance team to build knowledge generation into all aspects of BTCA relationships with members so that easily accessible knowledge products generated from BTCA and other actors’ activities demonstrate how to implement digital-payment solutions;
  • Collaborate with the Advocacy and Communication teams to ensure the research and knowledge products are relevant to a range of stakeholders and are easily accessible in terms of language, style and medium.

Quality assurance of the Alliance research products: 

Work with the Managing Director and Head of the Digital Payments Resource and Innovation Hub to ensure quality of all research products, including the integration of specific expertise into research products.  

  • Work with contracted consultancies;
  • Support the Communications team in the writing, development, design, production and dissemination of diverse publications (e.g. toolkits, case studies donor reports) a through various channels utilizing the resources of BTCA partners, where possible.


Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrates ethics and integrity;
  • Team player;
  • Demonstrates political acumen and calculated risk taking;
  • Builds own and staff competence, creating an environment of creativity and innovation;
  • Builds and promotes effective teams and partnerships;
  • Creates and promotes open communication;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure;
  • Conducts fair and transparent decision making;
  • Displays cultural and gender sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Shows strong corporate commitment.

Functional Competencies:


  • Proven ability to manage and effectively lead a global research agenda and research team;
  • Distill and articulate ideas clearly and coherently and ability to translate technical terms for non-technical audiences. i.e. policy makers
  • Starts up new programmes, able to act quickly to create necessary structures;
  • Conceptualizes more effective approaches to research and knowledge, development and implementation;
  • Anticipates constraints in the delivery of services and identifies solutions or alternatives;
  • Makes effective use of BTCA member resources and comparative advantage to strengthen knowledge partnerships;
  • Creates an environment that fosters innovation and innovative thinking;
  • Creates networks and promotes knowledge exchange initiatives between member organizations;
  • Promotes knowledge and research as critical to the success of moving from cash to digital payments;
  • Proactively identifies, develops and discusses solutions for internal and external clients, and persuades management to undertake new projects or services.


  • Understanding of key issues and international good practice relating to digital payments and digital financial inclusion;
  • Excellent presentation and representation skills in multicultural contexts;
  • Ability to translate complex technical ideas to a non-technical audience in both verbally and in writing as evidenced in authored publications;



Required Skills and Experience


  • Masters (MA, MSc), Research Masters (MPhil) degree in economics, finance, public/business administration, social sciences, international relations or related fields.
  • DPhil/PhD highly desirable


  • Minimum of 7 years of professional experience in progressively responsible positions in digital payments, financial services, financial inclusion, fintech or a related field of which minimum of 2 years private sector experience;
  • Recognized research and publication essential;
  • Experience in managing projects end to end and corresponding budgets essential.  Implementation of digitization projects, highly desirable.
  • Experience in directly implementing research projects, preferably with a focus on digital financial inclusion; payments, utilities, gender, etc.
  • Experience in donor projects, developing proposals, corresponding budgets, and monitoring and evaluation plans.
  • Working knowledge of current developments in including innovative payment methods (e.g., mobile financial services, pre-paid cards, fintech, blockchain, etc.) essential;
  • Working knowledge in policy, legal and regulatory issues related to inclusive payment technologies including gender-related issues around the use and access of digital payments;
  • Working knowledge of international donor organizations.


  •  Impeccable spoken and written English is required;
  • Additional UN languages i.e. Spanish, French highly are desirable.

Scope of Price Proposal and Schedule of Payments

Payments will be made monthly upon confirmation of UNCDF that the individual has delivered on the contract obligations in a satisfactory manner based on the completed deliverables stated in Section D above. 

Recommended Presentation of Offer

The following documents are requested:

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability;;
  2. Personal CV indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  3. Brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a methodology, if applicable, on how they will approach the assignment.
  4. Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive Daily Fee price. If an Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNCDF under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNCDF. 

Application instructions

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