Program Officer, FSP Country Team, East Africa

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Location
    Seattle, Washington
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    May 07

Position description

The FSP country team develops and maintains strategies in seven focus countries. As a member of our country team, you will be responsible for FSP’s work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (East Africa).

In the role of Program Officer (PO), you will develop and lead the country action plans for our East African focus countries; including a portfolio of investments to support the plan. This will require you to be deeply involved in the region and each country’s government, financial regulation, banking and financial technology networks to drive a consistent, evidence-based strategy that will deliver digital financial services to the poor. You will also help build and engage a strategic network of advisors. In doing so, you are able to recognize the interrelationships between policies and regulations; financial infrastructures; and public- and private-sector institutions in order to identify key strategies that will influence financial service providers and governments to better serve low-income citizens, which will in turn build resilience, increase investment opportunities and improve the quality of life for the poor.

Areas of Focus to Include:

  • Develop and manage a cohesive portfolio of grants and investments that will foster the growth of digital financial services uptake and usage among the poor.
  • Initiate, develop and cultivate strategic relationships with potential partners, including other organizations and individuals working in but not limited to corporations, Central Banks, Mobile Network Operators, Government, Academics, Social Protection Agencies etc. with the goal of advancing FSPs core strategy in financial inclusion, digital identity and low-cost payments infrastructure in the region.
  • Provide support for, and interact with, the community of fintech companies and commercial service providers, including non-profit organizations and microfinance providers who will ultimately deliver financial services to low-income individuals in each country and across the East Africa region.
  • Initiate investments that will close the gender gap and elevate women’s participation in financial services to create opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.
  • Monitor and share key insights from the work done in each country and across East Africa to facilitate work in other countries, especially countries that are a focus for the foundation.

Additional Key Responsibilities to Include:

  • Provide concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for making investments including drafting grant proposals and progress reports for review by foundation leadership.
  • Serve as the primary contact within East Africa for FSP initiatives engaging and working through key implementing partners in close collaboration with their governance bodies. Facilitate connections between technical knowledge specialists and country stakeholders working in financial inclusion.
  • Consult regularly with grantees and partners to improve the impact of projects and ensure sharing of lessons learned. This will include field visits, hands-on oversight, operational guidance, and convening and facilitating interactions among key partners. Acquire and utilize market data that highlights the current landscape of the financial inclusion position across the region will be encouraged to determine appropriate interventions.
  • Provide input into the strategies of content-focused program staff on the FSP team and on other teams at the foundation, including health, agriculture, etc.

The role will report to: Deputy Director, FSP Focus Countries.

Leadership & Culture:

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do extraordinary things.

Core Knowledge & Skills:

We are looking for people who enjoy solving complex problems using a hypothesis and data-driven approach and are experienced delivering innovative solutions in complex environments. You should be prepared to work across a diverse set of subject areas, bridging a wide range of expertise all the while being a teammate, with a proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy in an exciting, challenging environment.

Additionally, we seek:

  • Ten plus years of prior work experience gained in some combination of the following:
    • Private Sector (e.g. Banks, Mobile Network Operators), Governments, Central Banks, or public policy organizations in East Africa (preferred) or Sub Saharan Africa.
    • Financial inclusion donor or similar grant-making organization.
    • Development organization utilizing technology to address specific needs of very low income and vulnerable people.
    • Technology company with a focus on large-scale enterprise platforms.
    • Financial services within an emphasis on providing products to mass-market consumers or low- income audiences.
    • Startup ventures in the digital products and services market, including firms that provide venture capital and advisory services.
  • Knowledge of the public policy sphere in East Africa ideally; or broader Sub Saharan Africa region.
  • Demonstrated strategy skills and capacity to conceptualize, structure and supervise projects/programs.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to convey complex concepts in a concise manner. Swahili language skills desired, but not required.
  • Ability to navigate the vastly varied cultural, linguistic, and political landscapes across the region. Experience with leading and working with a range of clients, colleagues, consultants and other partners with broad exposure to senior policy makers & regulators.
  • Knowledge of mobile money and digital financial services platforms and technologies.
  • Proven ability to build personal and institutional relationships and networks.
  • Understand the drivers of poverty and the financial lives of the poor, as well as their access and usage barriers.
  • Advocate for the voice and needs of low-income citizens and communities.
  • Effective leadership skills with a demonstrated ability to inspire others.
  • Innovative and forward-thinking approach to all aspects of work. Ability to question and challenge colleagues, including managers, in a constructive manner.
  • Ability to engage and negotiate with all levels of decision makers including C-Level and executives within the public and private sectors.
  • Ability to travel internationally up to 40% of time as needs dictate.
  • MBA or master’s degree in relevant subject matter.

Application instructions

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