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Head of Innovation

Posted on: 15th December 2020

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Head of Innovation


Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) is a leading financial sector development organisation working to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria. Established in late 2007, EFInA’s vision is to be the leader in facilitating an all-inclusive and growth-promoting financial system. EFInA is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

EFInA is well renowned within Nigeria’s financial sector for providing thought leadership in financial inclusion and championing the unbanked. Through funding and catalysing  innovation, providing cutting-edge research, advocating for enabling inclusive policies and building capacity, EFInA has built a reputation as an ‘honest broker’ amongst both the private and public sectors.  Data from the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria surveys was a key source of information in the development of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy; and is also widely used by a diverse range of stakeholders, including regulators, as a benchmark for financial inclusion in Nigeria. Furthermore, financial services providers use EFInA’s research to develop a range of relevant financial products through gaining insights and understanding of consumers’ needs.

EFInA aims to achieve its goals through four pillars namely: Research, Innovation, Advocacy and Capacity Building.

Job Objectives

  • Provide strategic leadership and direction, which ensures that EFInA’s programme achieve their intended objectives, resulting in a significant impact on financial inclusion in Nigeria
  • Deepen and scale-up the uptake of inclusive innovative financial products/services (microfinance, micropensions, micromortgages, microinsurance, non-interest finance, etc.) in Nigeria
  • Ensure EFInA’s programmes are innovative and that emerging ideas on financial inclusion are identified and integrated in all EFInA’s strategies

Primary Relationships

Reports to:                          Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Supervises:                         Senior Grants Manager, Grants Manager (Fintech) and Associate

Job Responsibilities


  • Actively participate in the research, business development and implementation of strategic plans that will have an impact on the growth and inclusiveness of Nigeria’s financial sector
  • Provide leadership to the Programmes team; empowering them to deliver against EFInA’s goals and objectives
  • Together with the Policy Lead and Digital Financial Services Lead, develop and implement a strategy for networking, advocacy and communications that will influence key stakeholders to support the achievement of EFInA’s strategic goals
  • Understand the legal, regulatory and policy frameworks that govern the Nigerian financial services sector
  • Interact closely with stakeholders to build their technical capacity for developing and launching inclusive financial products in Nigeria
  • Identify and address pertinent issues regarding the supply, demand and uptake (by customers) of inclusive products through the Working Groups/Breakfast Meetings
  • Understand global trends and emerging business practices in developing innovative and inclusive financial services products for the low-income earners and leverage same in Nigeria
  • Work with the Policy Lead to provide input to EFInA’s A2F survey and other research projects
  • Contribute to the development of the financial inclusion sector and EFInA’s position as a thought leader by writing position papers/focus/strategy notes, for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria through the uptake of Inclusive products
  • Lead the team in developing and implementing a portfolio of projects that will significantly deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria and have a positive impact on end beneficiaries
  • Lead the team in the pursuit of innovation, learning and continuous improvement in programme quality and impact


Innovation Fund Management

  • Actively market the Innovation Fund to all key stakeholders, using a variety of channels. This includes developing and executing a marketing strategy that increases the target market’s awareness and understanding of the Innovation Fund
  • Lead all aspects of the Innovation Fund – evaluate all grant proposals and provide recommendations to the CEO, whilst ensuring compliance with the policies & procedures of EFInA’s Innovation Fund
  • Develop the pipeline for fundable projects through the Innovation Fund, that will deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria
  • Prepare the Requests for Proposals for Innovation Grants, for approval by the CEO
  • Oversee & facilitate the due diligence process for all prospective grantees
  • In conjunction with the Grants Manager, oversee the preparation of Grant Agreements for new grants, for review by EFInA’s lawyers. Ensure that all relevant documentation has been received before the funds are disbursed
  • Ensure the Grants Manager actively monitors the progress of all grantees vis-à-vis contractual key performance indicators and Grant Agreements
  • Conduct impact assessments for all Innovation grants awarded
  • Work with the Communications Specialist to ensure that relevant information on all of EFInA’s grants is widely disseminated
  • Identify and take actions to mitigate any risks associated with grantees


Other Duties

  • Ensure effective utilisation of the finances associated with the Programmes team; in compliance with EFInA’s policies and donor requirements
  • Work with the Human Resources to develop annual training plans for the Programmes team for approval by the CEO
  • Monitor, manage and report on the performance of Grants Managers, Grant Administrator and Associate, including setting performance objectives and timelines, and conducting monthly reviews and annual performance appraisals
  • Facilitate internal knowledge sharing sessions to build the capacity of EFInA staff
  • Perform any other duties as required by the CEO

Desired Experience

  • Minimum of ten years’ experience in financial services/management consulting, with at least 5 years direct experience in at least one, but preferably two of EFInA’s focus areas (non-interest finance, financial literacy, micro savings/loans/pensions/credit/insurance
  • Strong understanding of the legal, regulatory & policy frameworks that govern the Nigerian financial services sector
  • Experience of preparing, reviewing and evaluating investment proposals
  • Business development experience
  • Experience in front facing roles that require customer interaction
  • Experience in developing and implementing business strategies
  • Good network with relevant stakeholders in the financial services space in Nigeria
  • Product design/development experience
  • Experience working with donor or philanthropic funded programmes, will be an advantage

Competence Requirements

  • Track record of accomplishments in previous roles
  • Experience of managing and motivating cross-functional teams
  • Ability to understand and synthesise large amounts of data
  • Demonstrated analytical & problem-solving skills
  • Ability to forge partnerships across stakeholder groups in both the private and public sectors
  • Excellent communication, report writing and computer skills
  • Proactive and innovative
  • Attention to detail

Educational Qualification

  • Bachelor degree from a reputable university
  • Master’s degree in International Development, Business Administration, Economics or other related discipline, strongly preferred

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