Senior Program Officer, Digital Public Finance, Development Policy & Finance

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



Senior Program Officer, Digital Public Finance, Development Policy & Finance 2

Position description

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

 

 

The Team

The mission of the Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) division is to understand and shape the public policy debates affecting the foundation’s work, build support for its major program and policy objectives, and develop partnerships and alliances that can advance the foundation’s objectives nationally and globally. Because the foundation’s resources alone are not enough to solve the challenges ahead, GPA also supports advocacy efforts to engage diverse partners and promote innovative solutions that advance our program goals. We work in close partnership with grantees, our colleagues in the Global Health, Global Development, Global Growth & Opportunity, U.S. and Gender Equality programs and Foundation Communications to build the environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives. In particular, this position will also work closely with our Africa regional office located within the Global Development Division.

The Development Policy & Finance (DPAF) team is the foundation’s development economics and finance team, accountable for ensuring GPA’s work – and by extension the foundation’s work – is informed by strong economic and financial analysis and viewpoints, resonant with economic trends, and connected with key decision-makers at major multilateral development banks (MDBs), development finance institutions (DFIs) and think tanks focused on development economics and finance. This is not a research team but a group of economists, grant makers and development finance experts accountable for using economic analysis and perspectives to strengthen foundation policy and advocacy strategies, and for growing the community of economic policymakers engaged in foundation issues such as global health, human capital, and gender equity. DPAF’s focus and primary customer client is the Ministry of Finance in a developing country – and we have the goal of helping them transform their public finances via digital public infrastructure.

 

 

Your Role

The DPAF team has an opening for a Senior Program Officer, our most senior technical role. The Senior Program Officer, Digital Public Finance, Development Policy & Finance will drive our digital public finance agenda at the country level, working with partners that range from grantees, think tanks, international institutions, revenue authorities and Finance Ministries on how to utilise digital public infrastructure to drive better revenue raising and service delivery oriented public finance. This will involve global learning and agenda setting as well as piloting and learning at the country level.

 

The postholder will have knowledge and experience in public financial management (PFM) at the country level as well as interest and expertise in how digital innovation can help drive fiscal outcomes and service delivery reforms. They will demonstrate deep subject matter expertise, designing and then leading complex grants and partnerships to advance team goals, and serving as a knowledge partner to both foundation and external partners. This is an exciting role shaping the practice of the foundation and our partners.

 

The postholder will offer expertise, network and passion to advance practice in one and preferably more of the following areas:

  • Digital systems within finance ministries and revenue authorities, as well as their relation to innovative digital public infrastructure initiatives developments globally.

  • Resource mobilization in developing countries with a focus on: i) domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and equitable taxation at national and sub-national levels, ii) accessing and optimizing the use of international donor and DFIs funding towards key development priorities.

  • PFM in developing countries with a focus on: i) optimal formulation and allocation of budget resources to key development priorities (e.g., health, agriculture), ii) timely release and execution of allocated budget resources, and iii) effective tracking and management of budget expenditure.

  • Engagement with country finance ministries/budget authorities, regional economic bodies, and DFIs, initiatives, and actors in Africa.

  • Development economics analysis focused on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, especially macro-fiscal issues including debt, capital markets development, and other salient issues related to fiscal space and public finance.

  • Evidence to policy in developing countries.

 

The postholder will be based in London and report to the Deputy Director, Development Policy & Finance, Country Finance.

 

What You’ll Do

The selected candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Drive efforts to transform public finances in developing countries via digital PFM and DRM, working in close collaboration with DPAF team members, other foundation teams (in particular our Country office teams, the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and Inclusive Financial Services (IFS) teams) and external actors (in particular low and middle-income countries (LMIC) government partners and other key players such as the World Bank country offices, Co-Develop and DPI donors).

  • Partner with governments in developing countries by connecting DPAF’s broader public finance portfolio and partners with promising initiatives to improve PFM.

  • Explore opportunities to support African governments (including but not limited to Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia) with pilots / proof of concepts (POCs) of DPI for PFM: a) Based on the needs of the African government running the pilot, identify and support partners (local wherever possible and international where necessary) who can provide direct technical assistance to these POCs, e.g. support with DPI software building, government capacity building, consultancy / advisory support and project / change management. b) Ensure that our DPI for PFM pilots are aligned with the DPI and IFS team strategies. c) Ensure that our DPI for PFM pilots are aligned with foundation country strategies and wherever possible led / co-led by our Africa teams.

  • As part of exploring opportunities for DPI POCs with African government partners, this role will also: a) Gain an understanding of their current status of their digitalization (DPI or otherwise) efforts including digital maturity level and capacity. b) Identify case studies of digitalization in Africa that we (and others) can learn lessons from. c) Gain an understanding of the barriers to implementing digital public infrastructure in African countries, including capacity (technical or more broadly), financial, political, social, etc.

  • This role will utilise learnings from digitalization in India and Africa to inform DPAF’s global advocacy efforts, including identifying where there are gaps that need to be addressed by the global DPI movement / actors, e.g.: a) Refining the narrative around ‘Why build DPI’ / ‘How to build DPI’ to ensure that it resonates with African government partners. b) Providing additional tools / resources to aid DPI deployments such as DPI standards and specifications. c) Spotlighting digitalization exemplars in Africa and amplifying the voice of African DPI / digitalization champions.

  • Other key aspects of the role: a) Partner with foundation DPI partners to use the foundation’s voice and platforms to advance foundation DPI goals. b) Support the partner/grantee ecosystem for digital public finance in LMICs to ensure the achievement of foundation DPI goals and its sustainability by institutionalizing through anchor partners over the long run. c) Negotiate, implement, and manage portfolio of investments with impact measures. d) Provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for investments. e) Conceptualize and manage high impact partnerships, coalitions, and advocacy campaigns. f) Represent the foundation to external constituencies. This could include formal and informal presentations, attending conferences, sitting on working groups, and holding board seats as appropriate. g) Write and produce briefings, reports, email updates, and other materials on key global and local DPI policy, funding and other relevant issues for foundation leadership. h) Serve as a point of contact on DPI policy and advocacy issues for internal and internal and external partners, working within the complex matrix-style organization across the foundation.

  • Other special projects as assigned.

Qualifications

We are looking for a senior level professional with deep technical and sector expertise in both digitalization and working in public finance with African governments (ideally combined). Additionally, we seek:

  • Advanced degree preferred in public policy, technology, business, international relations, development or a related field (preferably with a mix of service in the public and private sectors).

  • Understanding of how investments in digitalization can advance a range of development objectives, including PFM and DRM.

  • Extensive senior-level experience of working on complex digital transformation programs.

  • Deep experience of working in partnerships with African governments on reform is highly desirable.

  • Understanding of the key issues driving digitalization, as well as barriers impeding progress on these issues, the policy and regulatory enablers for digitalization and the supply side and demand side barriers and opportunities.

  • Experience of working on DRM, and on PFM more broadly (beyond DRM).

  • Excellent strategic thinker and strategy development experience.

  • Experience of working on DPI, is desirable.

  • Experience managing research and measurement grant portfolios and an understanding of the role of donors in advancing digitalization efforts, are desirable.

  • Experience of working in philanthropy and a deep commitment to development issues is desirable.

  • Experience developing and implementing advocacy and communications strategies to influence policymakers, donors, and other external partners, including personal interactions with senior policy makers, civil society organizations, the media and other key external constituencies is desirable.

  • Demonstrated ability to organize/prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands.

  • Innovative thinker who is hands-on and willing to go as deep or broad as necessary to achieve outcomes.

  • Demonstrated ability to question and challenge colleagues in a constructive manner.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and create consensus.

  • High standards of personal integrity.

 

 

Other Attributes

  • Comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behaviour with a diverse range of people and a deep commitment to development issues and high standards of personal integrity.

  • Ability to travel up to 35% domestically and internationally.

 

Application deadline: 8 May 2024

 

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Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

 

Application instructions

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