Director, DFS Affordability Research Initiative

  • Full Time
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Applications have closed

Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Tanzania is hiring a Tanzania Director for the planned Tanzania Digital Financial Services (DFS) Affordability Research Initiative. This role will be responsible for leading and implementing an anticipated research initiative exploring the affordability of digital financial services in Tanzania.

With the DFS Affordability Research Initiative, IPA intends to generate, along with partners and key stakeholders, critical data and evidence around the drivers of affordability of digital financial services, especially payments. IPA and partners will generate evidence in one or more categories of these drivers. Potential categories and work streams include: interoperability; market structure & competition; regulatory environment; taxes & levies; and provider costs, including agent network administration, and infrastructure. Prioritization of work streams will be informed by the main local stakeholders of this work in Tanzania, IPA’s academic partners, cost-benefit analysis for policy decisions that can be influenced by data and evidence.

Background: Increasing DFS affordability is especially critical for Tanzania, where the cost of transacting using DFS is the highest in East Africa and among the highest in the world. About half of Tanzanian adults (52%) are included in the formal financial system, driven largely by the proliferation of mobile money accounts rather than traditional bank products. According to the 2021 Global Findex, 23% of Tanzanians reported having an account with a financial institution, while 45% reported owning a mobile money account. Expanding adoption of DFS is a priority for Tanzania in order to formalize its economy and contribute to economic growth and is a policy goal under Tanzania’s National Financial Inclusion Framework.

IPA will work with government and non-governmental partners and a team of researchers (academics and topical experts) to develop and pursue a research agenda that can holistically explore the DFS affordability issues in Tanzania and surface evidence that can inform policy.

The position will be based at IPA’s office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and will report directly to the Tanzania Country Director and the Director for Financial Inclusion Program at IPA Global.

The position holder will be responsible for the launch, delivery, and conclusion of the research initiative, which is anticipated to last 2 years. Responsibilities will include high-level relationship management and consensus building (with stakeholders from private, public, and civil society sectors), identifying knowledge gaps and producing an exhaustive needs assessment analysis report, responsibility for the coordination of research studies and the development or related policy briefs, communication and dissemination, financial management, and resource planning and supervision.

This is a fixed-term position through August 2025. Any extensions or renewals are contingent on additional grant funding approval and not guaranteed.


Stakeholder Management:

  • Design and lead engagement strategies across public and private sector stakeholders. This will include, but is not limited to, developing partnerships with public sector entities (examples may include the Bank of Tanzania, Tanzania Revenue Authority, Ministry of Finance and other financial sector regulatory bodies) and private sector entities (such as Banks, Mobile Money Providers, Associations, Fintechs and other relevant actors in the private sector)
  • Establish project specific key stakeholder blocks (advisory committee), segmented by strategic objectives
  • Ensure consistent and constructive collaboration with each stakeholder, identifying key individuals and areas of mutually beneficial engagement
  • Secure buy-in for research ideas and studies and for accessing information critical for the research process
  • Identify and overcome challenges and risks related to project partnership management
  • Convene stakeholder blocks on a regular basis to build consensus, seek approvals and disseminate research outputs
  • Establish research technical review committee comprising of academics, policy experts, and other researchers

Identifying Knowledge Gaps & Development of Needs Assessment Analysis:

An initial objective of this initiative is to identify knowledge gaps where research can provide up-to-date and accurate insights on DFS affordability in Tanzania. This will include:

  • Lead a comprehensive desk review of the DFS ecosystem in Tanzania through exploration of individual elements of the ecosystem, such as regulations, competition, market structure and business models, consumer protection, and demand side dynamics
  • Lead Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with stakeholders representing each element of the ecosystem in order to collate perspectives on DFS affordability
  • Cross-examine and analyze KII results and institutional priorities to identify important areas for research and exploration
  • Lead the development of a needs assessment analysis report that will be shared with all stakeholders and will be a summation of the work in points 1-3 above.

Coordinate the Implementation of Identified Research Studies & Development of Policy Briefs:

  • Work with academics and other subject matter experts to design research studies that can most accurately bridge knowledge gaps and influence policy design
  • Coordinate the implementation of selected research studies through enabling partnerships with required stakeholders, such as mobile money providers, commercial banks and public sector entities and collaborating with principal investigators (PIs), Consultants, Internal teams
  • Overcome challenges and risks related to establishing partnerships, convening stakeholders, legal requirements etc., to allow independent and objective research implementation
  • Develop and disseminate 4-6 high impact policy briefs based on project workstreams and research activities

Communication and Dissemination:

  • Design strategies for dissemination of findings that influence public and private sector decision-making
  • Work with topical experts to disseminate overall research findings to relevant stakeholders in Tanzania
  • Build consensus around a set of policy recommendations that align with public and private sector stakeholders’ incentives
  • Develop research inception report and prepare regular progress updates and presentations for stakeholder blocks
  • Lead all implementation of results activities

Budget Management:

  • Develop budgets related to various project activities
  • Work with internal IPA stakeholders to comply with internal processes and develop accurate projections on in-country spending related to project management
  • Allocate funding towards research studies, dissemination, consultant costs etc.
  • Ensure all activities and deliverables meet stipulated timelines

Resource Planning and Supervision:

  • Coordinate with FIP and IPA Tanzania Research Managers on the supervision of IPA research activities related to selected research projects
  • Liaise with IPA Tanzania Operations team and Country Director on all event and workshop planning
  • Work with global FIP team and Tanzania Country office to bring in expertise where required, taking technical direction from the FIP team



  • More than ten years of experience working in the digital financial services (DFS) industry in Tanzania and/or internationally, at least five to seven of these years at a senior level
  • Deep understanding of the DFS landscape in Tanzania including pricing, regulation, competition, market structure, interoperability, consumer impact etc.; demonstrated thought leadership in the DFS sector
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with and build consensus among high level executives at public and private sector institutions; Comfort in developing external relationships and leading project development discussions with funders and high-level stakeholders in general
  • Experience managing multi-year programs, including coordination with multiple external and internal stakeholders, adherence to timelines, active monitoring and identification of risks, and implementing appropriate course correction strategies
  • An existing network in the financial sector space in Tanzania
  • Ability to develop project related high policy briefs, needs assessment reports, and other external facing research products and deliverables
  • Proactive and collaborative attitude, entrepreneurial mindset and versatility
  • Ten to fifteen years of demonstrated leadership (thought, team, etc.) and project management experience
  • Exceptional communication skills in English and Swahili (written and oral)
  • Ability to travel within Tanzania (10 to 20%)
  • Passion for making data-driven decisions and an understanding of bridging research to policy
  • Master’s degree in economics/ Business Administration / Public Policy / Law or related field


  • PhD in related field
  • Familiarity with quantitative research methods and randomized control trials
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