IPA seeks an experienced Project Manager for a proposed research initiative on interoperable payment platforms in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This initiative will conduct research on the deployment and adoption of new digital payments systems in multiple regional and national markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This initiative will produce a wide set of research outputs over the course of several years, ranging from peer-reviewed academic papers and impact evaluations, case studies, descriptive research, and process evaluations. Research engagements developed by this initiative may include, but are not limited to, the following research questions:

  • How to effectively onboard financial service providers and consumers to new digital payments platforms;
  • Impact of interoperable payments platforms on transaction and operational costs to financial service providers, consumers, and governments;
  • Impact of interoperable payments platforms on the take-up and usage of digital financial services by end-users and businesses, with an emphasis on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
  • Impact of interoperable payments platforms on markets, competition, and economic growth;
  • Impact of interoperable payments platforms on household welfare outcomes such as financial health, food security, poverty, and women’s economic empowerment.



The Digital Payments Program Manager is responsible for developing and overseeing a portfolio of research and policy engagements as part of this new research initiative, in close collaboration with IPA’s Director of Financial Inclusion and principal investigators. The Program Manager will develop the strategy for and oversee the implementation of a set of research engagements in multiple markets which are about to deploy interoperable payments systems. Their responsibilities will include:

  • Developing a multi-year strategic plan, activities and timeline at the outset of the initiative to ensure successful delivery on the objectives of the project related to partnership and technical assistance
  • Establish an external Advisory Committee made up of academic and practitioner partners to govern project approval processes and develop initiative governance documents
  • Develop and manage strategic relationships with firms, government, civil society and researchers in target markets
  • Coordinate with principal investigators and IPA country program teams to develop viable research project opportunities with government and private sector partners in-country, develop budgets and project documentation.
  • Lead project approval processes via the Advisory Committee and oversee execution of approved projects in collaboration with IPA Country Program teams and the principal investigators
  • Coordinate with other IPA teams on the development and delivery of M&E workshops and other technical assistance engagements with implementors
  • Contribute to research design, research oversight, data analysis, and writing of policy briefs, research papers, slide decks, and other research outputs as needed
  • Develop and deliver workshops and trainings on digital payments evidence, MEL framework development, and impact evaluation methodology to partners
  • Serve as a voice for the initiative at global, regional, and domestic for a as needed
  • Ensure adherence to workplans, the achievement of goals and outputs as outlined in project documents and timelines, and conduct quarterly reporting to the prime donor
  • Identify and cultivate new opportunities to expand IPA’s work on digital payments through partnership development and fundraising
  • Master’s degree in public policy, economics, social sciences, or a related field;
  • At least five years’ work experience with digital finance, financial infrastructure, or financial inclusion in emerging markets;
  • Sufficient technical fluency to participate in technical implementation projects;
  • Experience developing and overseeing field research in developing countries is preferred;
  • Excellent communication, client management and presentation skills;
  • Familiarity with quantitative research, randomized trials, international development programs and digital finance;
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with both Western and developing country partners, including donors, c-suite executives from financial service providers, governments, or academic researchers;
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently;
  • Experience authoring and publishing peer-reviewed academic research in a relevant field a plus;
  • Experience organizing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications a plus;
  • Experience ensuring high ethical standards in research is a plus.
  • Personal characteristics that are highly valued include analytic ability, curiosity, humor, self-awareness, and humility.
  • Experience living and/or working in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia is strongly preferred
  • Willingness and ability to travel with Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
Application Instructions 

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About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 830 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at jobs@poverty-action.org or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to jobs@poverty-action.org.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.