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Assistant Director, Risk Regulation, Nairobi at FSD Africa

Created in 2012, FSD Africa is a £30 million financial sector development programme or ‘FSD’ based in Nairobi. It is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). FSD Africa aims to reduce poverty across sub-Saharan Africa by building financial markets that are efficient, robust and inclusive.

Job Purpose

The Assistant Director contributes to the implementation of overall risk pillar strategy by leading the development and implementation of programmes that work to improve the enabling environment for risk markets in Africa.

This involves leading research, analysis and thinking around ecosystem development.   Building on a strong foundation of understanding, the Assistant Director will conceptualise and lead a portfolio of impactful intervention projects – e.g. working with insurance sector regulators to develop new policy and regulatory frameworks. It also includes conceptualising and implementing evidence-based advocacy campaigns, combining data gathering and analysis with sophisticated communication techniques to address the big issues affecting risk management and transfer in African markets.

In addition, the Assistant Director will lead an Assistant Manager (and independent Consultants as required) who will assist with the inception and implementation of projects designed to drive systemic change in the market for insurance and other risk management instruments; providing clarity of direction for the team and delivering a leadership style that results in staff engagement and effective performance.

The preference for the role is to be based in Nairobi, Kenya where the majority of the FSD Africa team are based. However, consideration will also be given to remote working from other locations in Africa.

Key Responsibilities And Role Requirements

1.  Thought Leadership

As a thought leader in the management & transfer of risk in Africa; display a profound understanding of how to develop the enabling environment so that risk is better managed and transferred, whether to reduce household or business vulnerability or de-risk investment, aiming to boost innovation and enhance regulation and market infrastructure:

  •  Stay abreast of local, regional and international regulatory market developments and trends in the risk management and transfer space to determine their potential impact on FSD Africa’s strategy.
  • Ensure regular engagement with experts and decision makers in SSA countries and elsewhere to understand strategic priorities for the development of effective risk markets and products.
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships with key and emerging players in the insurance policy and regulatory space such as Access to Insurance Initiative, African Insurance Organization, Organization of Eastern and Southern Africa Insurers, Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d’Assurances (CIMA) etc.
  • Scope out existing research and commission additional research, as required, to develop and test Theories of Change.
  • Develop and communicate a deep and comprehensive understanding of how to drive beneficial eco-system change, especially in insurance markets

2.Strategic Planning

Lead the development of FSD Africa’s strategy for risk policy and regulation; ensuring that the programme supports inclusive economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa:

  •  In collaboration with the Results pillar, review lessons learned from previous, relevant projects (FSD Africa & Network); use the results to inform the development of strategies, instruments and approaches
  • Participate in strategy and workplan development for the Risk pillar, ensuring that learning from risk management interventions is incorporated
  • Lead the development of strategy and plans for risk policy and regulation market development with a view to facilitating innovation, increasing financial inclusion and closing the risk protection gap for households, businesses, sub-sovereigns and sovereigns.
  • Ensure the inclusion of FSD Africa’s cross-cutting themes: gender, youth, climate and fragile states
  • Work collaboratively with the Results pillar to devise and manage results measurement and learning frameworks that will yield important insights in the development of effective long- term interventions

3.  Project Planning

Conceptualise and develop a portfolio of Implementing Partners and Projects which will collectively be effective in driving impact & systemic change:

  • Identify, engage and build relationships with key Implementing Partners (‘IP’s) and other stakeholders who have the capacity to effectively contribute towards risk eco-system development.
  • Support the development of IP workplans; ensuring alignment between partners’ plans and FSD Africa’s Theory of Change and that the over-all portfolio of projects has the capacity to leverage systemic change.
  • Oversee the development of project proposals that comply with Investment Committee standards; including detailed implementation plan, budgets and cash-flow forecasts that will ensure project success and address capacity gaps of partners.
  • Ensure that all staff, consultants and implementing partners involved in a project are fully briefed concerning expectations; especially on project milestone targets, quality standards, data collection/ reporting and compliance with risk management/ accountability requirements

4.  Project Implementation

Coordinate the roll-out of projects so that results are achieved, risks are managed, and quality projects are delivered; ensuring that learning from projects is fully utilised to maximise impact and innovation:

  •  For any projects personally supervised, work with implementing partners to assist them in implementing their projects according to the project plan:
    • Organise a regular schedule of visits to the IP for both self and members of other pillars    as appropriate (Finance, Results)
    • Address delivery shortfalls with a coaching style in the first instance
    • Negotiate assertively, with the administration of consequences, in case of persistent failure to deliver
  • Develop tools and approaches which will guide the team, implementing partners and stakeholders in implementing best practice in market development; ensure that IPs are provided with any other necessary capacity-building support
  • Review the Monthly and Quarterly M&E Report and take appropriate action on the basis of results and analysis:
  • o If desired results have been achieved, initiate strategies for widespread awareness-raising and ‘crowding in’
  • o  If desired results have not been achieved, either manage performance of the implementation team or adjust the strategy/ approach
  • Identify and mitigate project risks in a timely manner (project delivery and partnership management)

5.  Communicating for impact

Drive the transformative development of effective risk policy and regulation through effective influencing, advocacy, and communication strategies:

  • Lead stakeholder mapping for Policy and Regulation Programmes; identifying key decision makers/ power brokers/ customer groups and developing innovate ideas for influencing them and/ or transforming their mindsets
  • Develop and implement strategies for influencing key stakeholders and driving market and risk management innovation; for instance, advocating for policy reform
  • Work collaboratively with the Advocacy and Communications team to develop and implement work plans and budgets; ensuring that efforts are monitored and evaluated to ensure impact
  • Contribute to the implementation of the Communication strategy (e.g. by developing content for written materials/ website; participating in campaigns etc); participate in and contribute to the development of annual and quarterly reports
  • Represent FSD Africa in public forums and networking opportunities and/or convene stakeholders in order to build awareness and influence the thinking around risk market development; at all times behaving in a manner consistent with FSD Africa’s brand and values

6.  Team Leadership

Lead staff and consultants in a manner that empowers them to add value to FSD Africa and deliver high standards of performance:

  •  Ensure that the Policy and Regulation Programmes are resourced with the expertise necessary to deliver on strategy & project implementation, through a combination of recruitment and management of staff and procurement of consultants
  • Ensure that each team member (staff and consultants) is provided with clarity concerning goals and expectations of their personal role in achieving results, standards and behaviour
  • Plan and organise the work of the team to accomplish project strategic & project goals and targets in the most cost-effective and impactful manner possible
  • Ensure delivery of an engaging leadership style that motivates team members and results in high performance

Carry out any other duties or special assignments as assigned by the Management.

Person Specifications

Qualifications and Education

  • Good quality bachelor’s degree from a recognised university
  • Masters degree or other relevant postgraduate qualification
  • Excellent skills in written and spoken English

Essential Experience, Knowledge and Skills

  • At least 8 years of professional experience, progressing to a senior level, working in a field relevant to financial risk market development across multiple countries and institutions, including in Africa
  • Profound and systemic understanding of SSA risk management and transfer sector
  • Experience working in a complex and pioneering environment including managing and creating opportunities for change/ innovation
  • Track record of managing relationships and influencing key stakeholders at a regional level especially in the public sector; high-level influencing/ interpersonal skills
  • Experience in formulating, developing, and implementing complex programmes or large projects for a timeframe of 2-5 years
  • Track record of effectively managing and motivating a team of staff; including the delivery of an engaging leadership style
  • Ability to manage a project using digital platforms or tools to communicate; ability to manage data/ documentation electronically
  • Ability to engage & influence convincingly at Board level
  • Ability to manage project portfolio in GBP 2-3 million range


  • Experience of working in a multi-cultural environment
  • Experience working with donors, including knowledge of donor policies and procedures
  • Previous experience of working in DFID-funded projects
  • Languages: French, local African languages

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