Philippines Merchant Payment Digitization Consultant, Manila, Philippines

Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

Country: Philippines

City: Manila, Philippines

Office: UNDP Philippines

Closing date: Monday, 28 September 2020

Philippines Merchant Payment Digitization Consultant

Advertised on behalf of : Location : Manila, PHILIPPINES

Application Deadline : 28-Sep-20 (Midnight New York, USA)

Type of Contract : Individual Contract

Post Level : International Consultant

Languages Required : English

Starting Date : (date when the selected candidate is expected to start) 30-Sep-2020

Duration of Initial Contract : 60 days spread over 6 months, with possibility of extension

Expected Duration of Assignment : 60 days oer 6 months, with possibility of extension


UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to inclusive finance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia and the Pacific, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It can provide seed capital both grants and loans as well as technical support that will improve poor peoples‘ lives.

UNCDF works to enlarge peoples‘ choices: it believes that poor people and communities should take decisions about their own development. UNCDF works in challenging environments - remote rural areas, countries emerging from conflict - and paves the way for others to follow. Its programmes are designed to catalyze larger investment flows from the private sector, development partners and national governments, for significant impact on the Millennium Development Goals, especially Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.

Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with UNDP.

UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers ‚last mile‘ finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.

UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: savings-led financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments  through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance  can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development. UNCDF financing models are applied in thematic areas where addressing barriers to finance at the local level can have a transformational effect for poor and excluded people and communities.

By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty with a focus on reaching the last mile and addressing exclusion and inequalities of access. At the same time, UNCDF deploys its capital finance mandate in line with SDG 17 on the means of implementation, to unlock public and private finance for the poor at the local level. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs and currently to 28 of 169 targets.

UNCDF hosts the Secretariat of the Better Than Cash Alliance.

The Better Than Cash Alliance is a partnership of 75 governments, companies and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty, drive inclusive growth and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Billions of dollars in cash payments and transfers are made daily in emerging and developing economies, including payment of salaries, social welfare and relief, payments to suppliers, remittances, etc. The problems with these cash payments include a lack of transparency, accountability and security, as well as inefficiency. Furthermore, the individuals who receive the cash payments are often part of the

7 billion excluded from the formal financial sector. This means they are excluded from access to a range of appropriate and affordable financial services to help them save safely, take advantage of economic opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to risk.

Shifting these payments from cash to digital has the potential to improve the lives of low income people, particularly women -who are twice as likely to be excluded from the financial system, while giving governments, the development community and the private sector a more transparent, time and cost efficient, and often safer means of disbursing payments. Digitizing payments can also contribute to women’s economic participation by providing them with more control over family finances, increasing personal security, and improving economic opportunities.

The Alliance Secretariat works with its 75 members to navigate their digitization journeys, by:

Providing advisory services based on member priorities

Sharing action-oriented research and fostering peer learning

Conducting advocacy at national, regional and global level

The Better Than Cash Alliance Secretariat Core Values:

Achieving together

Striving for excellence

Service oriented

Results oriented

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Services

This role will support the in-country advisory services offered to the Government and Corporate Sector Alliance members in the Philippines. As identified by the ‚The State of Digital Payments in the Philippines ‚country diagnostic published in 2019, merchant payments constitute the largest share of overall payments in country. Given that only 12-15% of all merchants accept digital payments there is much headroom for growth. The Philippines has also seen considerable growth of the e-commerce sector with recorded annual revenue of USD 3 Bn in 2019 and is slated to grow to USD 12 Bn by 2025 . While there is an increasing number of merchants who are leveraging digital platforms (e.g. social media and/or e-commerce platforms) to market their wares, payments for goods are still largely made through Cash-on-delivery (COD), which accounts for 85% of sales.

The COVID-19 crisis has emerged as a tipping point for digital payments in country. Notably, there has been a substianital increase in use of digital payments platforms in April and May 2020 . In this period, more than 4 million new digital accounts have also been opened among banks and non-bank electronic money issuers. This trend reflects an important mindset shift on the part of consumers in terms of digital payment adoption. A unique opportunity has emerged to leverage this momentum to focus efforts on addressing unique barriers faced by key merchant segments.

The Better than Cash Alliance together with the Government of the Philippines has convened a ‚Public-Private Working Group on Digitizing Merchant Payments‘ that brings together different stakeholders (financial service and technology providers, Government, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, merchants‘ associations) to co-create a more robust value proposition for small merchants to adopt digital payments both online and at physical stores.

Public -Private Working Group on Digitizing Merchant Payments in the Philippines

The working group is chaired by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and was inaugurated on 23 July 2020. It is established for a period of one year, with option to be renewed upon agreement by all working group members. Given the unique circumstances due to COVID-19, all meetings in 2020 will be conducted via videoconference. The Working Group is scheduled to meet every two months or as necessary with specific status updates on key objectives and deliverables; the tentative timelines for subsequent meetings this year are in September and November.

Its key objectives are to:

Increase the use of digital payments in a responsible manner at both physical and online merchants by identifying specific adoption and use barriers

Identify and agree on actor-specific actions to drive merchant payment digitization, including time-bound pilots focused on specific segments of merchants

Serve as a consultation body for national strategies (e.g. e-commerce roadmap) and be a part of national advocacy campaigns on digital payments

Share experiences, lessons learned, and collaborate on mutual research interests (e.g. merchant segmentation)

The Better than Cash Alliance seeks to hire a consultant based in Manila who will work closely with the Southeast Asia Lead to support the Government of the Philippines, through the BSP and DTI to enhance the adoption and use of digital payments by small merchants. Under the supervision and direction of the Southeast Asia Lead, key responsibilities are as follows.

Expected Outputs and Deliverables

A. With regards to the working group, the consultant will (85%)

Design and develop the Working Group meeting agenda and outcomes of each of the meetings, including the review and editing of minutes and prioritization and scheduling of next steps

In consultation with BSP and DTI, support the South East Asia Lead to organize and facilitate discussions with selected members relating to priority workstreams identified by the working group. These multi-stakeholder discussions will be held in preparation towards the two planned meetings this year.

Support the development and implementation of agreed working group activities which may include action research, national advocacy campaigns and time-bound pilots.

Document the learnings of the working group by monitoring key indicators to feed into donor and internal reports.

Support advocacy and coordinate communications and organizing of relevant events.

Monitor and identify advocacy opportunities for the Alliance, including potential targets, conferences, UN, regional and corporate events in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Region.

Provide news and stories from Alliance member countries to the Alliance Secretariat Communications Team for social media and other communications channels, as needed.

B. Support the South East Lead on other in-country priorities including support to BSP on data-collection framework for digital payment diagnostic and support to DTI on defining the digital payments workstream of the National E-Commerce Roadmap 2022 (15%)