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Technical Specialist - Financial Inclusion (UNCDF)

Honiara (Solomon Islands)

For this position we strongly encourage female candidates to apply!




PFIP is a funding facility that operates in the South Pacific with a mandate to increase access to financial services. PFIP aims to add one million Pacific Islanders to the formal financial sector by 2019 by supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, funding the development of financial services and delivery channels, disseminating market research, and by strengthening financial competencies and consumer empowerment. The primary countries of focus of the PFIP at present are Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands (SOI), Tonga and Vanuatu.

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. PFIP reports to an Investment Committee consisting of its funders. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government. More information on PFIP may be found at

The first phase of PFIP ended in June 2014, surpassing its goal of reaching 500,000 people with affordable, appropriate and sustainable financial services. PFIP has launched its second phase from July 2014 to 2019 with the aim to deepen financial access to an additional 500,000 previously unbanked, low-income people in the region, and expand the digital financial service ecosystems in South Pacific markets.

The FIS will be based in the UNDP country office in Honiara, SOI and will have primary responsibility for managing and overseeing PFIP’s activities in the country. The FIS will engage a wide range of stakeholders ranging from policy makers, financial service providers, associations, and donor agencies. The FIS will be the main point of contact between the PFIP and the UNDP Joint Presence Office in SOI, DFAT SOI and other donors active in SOI.

The FIS will work closely with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and other key stakeholders to support national financial inclusion plans and commitments, including the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS2), the 2020 Money Pacific Goals and Solomon Islands Maya Declaration. By year 2020, SOI aspires to have 300,000 active users of formal and semi-formal financial services and 90% of Solomon Islanders to have a financial service access point within one hour of normal travel time.

The FIS will develop and oversea projects in a range of workstreams, including regulatory reform, research and sector assessment, innovation with digital financial service channels and products, and consumer protection and financial literacy. As part of the PFIP team, the Financial Inclusion Specialist will contribute to knowledge management and sharing of experiences to promote the best practices in financial inclusion and assist in regional activities of the PFIP, including travel to Suva and other Pacific Island Countries where PFIP is active.

Duties and Responsibilities

Functions / Key Results Expected

The FIS will position PFIP as a trusted, respected and responsive partner to all financial inclusion stakeholders in the public and private sectors. This entails extensive networking, business development, project management, thought leadership, and donor coordination.

Business Development

  • Build a pipeline of projects across PFIP workstreams and carry projects through to implementation according to the PFIP annual workplan; 
  • Prepare project appraisal documents for presentation to the PFIP Investment Committee;
  • Assist in preparing grant and performance based agreement documentation for approved partners.

Primary workstreams are detailed below.

Support the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and the National Financial Inclusion Task force (NFIT) in implementing the 2016-2020 National Financial Inclusion strategy

  • Maintain a close working relationship with the members of the NFIT and the various Working groups that operate under NFIT. In particular, work closely with the CBSI in order to generate interest in and execution of the national financial inclusion strategy and its Key Results Areas to expand financial inclusion in Solomon Islands;
  • Assist CBSI to establish a financial inclusion database and reporting mechanism consistent with the objectives of the NFIS 2 and build capabilities within CBSI to generate financial inclusion reports to be shared with NFIT, country and regional stakeholders and to Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI);
  • Act as representative of PFIP on the National Financial Inclusion Task Force. Participate in Task Force meetings and working group meetings, manage PFIP’s input to those meetings and PFIP’s reporting to the Taskforce and to CBSI;
  • Provide ongoing capacity building to members of the NFIT and the working groups by conducting relevant financial inclusion related workshops & training programs at the country level. 

Financial Innovation Business development

  • Engage existing service providers to understand their current operations and their objectives for expansion of services to mass market customers;
  • Develop projects with providers committed to innovating with digital channels and services;
  • Manage financial innovation projects.

Market Research and Communications

  • Oversee research and studies, independently or as a counterpart to consultant(s) hired by PFIP, on various issues relating to financial inclusion in SOI. These may include financial services sector assessments, financial competency surveys, studies of digital financial services, agent networks, government to people payments, client preferences and uptake of financial services; micro-insurance supply and demand studies;
  • Identify key knowledge constraints and organize learning, knowledge exchange, training, workshops, etc. to build the capacity and interest in relevant themes (i.e. consumer rights and protection; financial inclusion policy, best practices, monitoring and evaluation, etc.);
  • Provide support in organizing in-country events to disseminate knowledge and results of research, including venue and support services identification, lists invitees and invitation process;
  • Contribute to PFIP technical notes and other publications, highlighting challenges, opportunities and successes in country;
  • Identify stakeholders from SOI to participate in knowledge sharing opportunities, assist in managing the logistics of their participation;
  • Contribute, as appropriate, to global knowledge sharing to spread the information on SOI experience in financial inclusion.

Project Management

  • Maintain regular contact with partners to monitor and support the implementation of PFIP-funded projects. Propose modifications as necessary to drive projects towards successful completion;
  • Ensure timely submission of performance reporting requirements. The FIS will work closely with the Results Measurement Advisor;
  • Prepare regular progress reports.

Donor coordination

  • Build productive partnerships with main funders and stakeholders at country and regional levels, including but not limited to the members of the CBSI and the members of the Pacific Access to Finance Donor Group, which includes Australian Government, ADB, European Investment Bank, IFC, IMF, UNCDF, and the New Zealand Government;
  • Provide assistance where required to the above-mentioned partners and their consultants operating within the country. Document and share experience on partnership interactions as input into corporate business intelligence;
  • Work closely with the UNDP country head and the team in strengthening and integrating financial inclusion outcomes in national programming.

Support to PFIP planning and management.

Support PFIP team members during visits in country. Assist in logistics of local travel and setting up meetings. Keep meeting minutes and track action items.

  • As needed support PFIP team in fulfilling planning and reporting requirement to the Investment Committee, UNDP, UNCDF and its other funders;
  • Strengthen synergies and collaborative undertakings with UNCDF executed local development projects in the Solomon Islands;
  • Provide advice and input from country perspective on project management/performance issues, planning and monitoring portfolio performance results for PFIP and UNCDF;

Impact of Results

The Financial Inclusion Specialist will be directly responsible for workstream results, which will contribute to the programme objective of additional 500,000 low-income clients served in the Pacific.



Candidates will be assessed on their work experience in the following areas:

  • Project management or leadership position in an entity that supports financial service innovation for financial inclusion.
  • Operational or management experience with a financial service provider to mass market customers in developing markets.
  • Managing or conducting research, particularly related to financial inclusion; 
  • Business development that involves engaging policy makers or private providers and developing a grant or capital funded project.
  • Development of project documents, corresponding budgets, and monitoring and evaluation plans;
  • Policy dialogue with financial regulatory authorities. 
  • Experience in monitoring development projects with financial component, conducting basic financial analysis, establishing and monitoring performance-based indicators, and investigating impact;
  • Working knowledge of current developments in inclusive finance, including one or more of the following: branchless banking, mobile money, micro-insurance, social performance, financial literacy; 
  • Working experience and knowledge of socio-economic issues, which results in the exclusion of various groups, in particular women and youth, from the financial sector and ability to generate strategies to address those issues; and
  • Working knowledge of international donor organizations and development partners and preferably experience in preparing proposals for funding. 


  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Proven ability to manage projects.
  • Strong IT skills, including ability to work regularly with MS Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
  • Proven cross-cultural communication. The candidate(s) should be able to function effectively in an international, multicultural environment. 
  • Experience in the Pacific is preferred. 
  • Ability to travel regularly within Solomon Islands and where necessary to other Pacific countries 
  • Demonstrated broad knowledge of development issues, especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, women’s economic empowerment and local development.
  • Understanding of project management cycles and managing for results. 


  • Focus on impact and results for clients and stakeholders;
  • Builds trust in interactions with others;
  • Ability to work with a multitude of stakeholders at the policy-maker, industry and community levels;
  • Shows initiative and manages risks;
  • Approaches challenges creatively and effectively;
  • Demonstrates integrity, exhibits high ethical standards;
  • Approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude and responds positively to feedback;
  • Committed to team work, working with other stakeholders;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure; and
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities, and resolve problems.


  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modeling UN values and ethical standards;
  • Displays cultural and gender sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all persons fairly;
  • Shows strong corporate commitment; and
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNCDF and UNDP.

Required Skills and Experience


  • A Master’s degree in economics, public/business administration, social sciences, or related discipline.


  • A minimum of five (5) years’ experience in progressively more responsible positions in the banking, finance or development field, including in financial inclusion.
  • Experience working in or with microfinance institutions, or financial inclusion support projects.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in written and spoken English.



Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. For more information please click here and here.

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNCDF - United Nations Capital Development Fund
  • Location: Honiara (Solomon Islands)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Finance and Banking
    • Economics
    • Office Management, Administration and Finance
    • Economics
    • Finance and Banking
    • Cash-Based Interventions
  • Closing Date: 2016-10-31

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