UNCDF is the UN's capital investment agency for the world's 47 least developed countries. 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. UNCDF's financing models work through two channels: 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. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to Sustainable Development Goal # 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.
UNCDF manages several initiatives related to digital financial services (DFS) to address the opportunities and challenges of implementing DFS in the developing world, with a focus on the Least Developed Countries in Africa and Asia and the Pacific regions. As Secretariat to the Better than Cash Alliance, UNCDF also engages with the large emerging markets globally to foster the digitization of payments. Our aim is to build an inclusive digital economies with the digital financial ecosystem as the starting point. An inclusive digital financial ecosystem is one that offers a wide range of DFS provided responsibly, and at reasonable cost, by sustainable institutions in a well-regulated environment. UNCDF provides a mix of policy, technical financial support to a range of government and private sector actors in each country, as well as investing in research and other public goods that benefit all market actors. By supporting the development of DFS in these countries, UNCDF works to increase the financial security and participation in the economy of low income and rural households through access to appropriate, affordable and secure means to receive, manage, spend and save money.
UNCDF is also working with the greater UN system to investigate the applications of digital finance at the individual, company, sector, national and global level to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of this is to inform the UN system as well as UNCDF's new strategy to focus its financial inclusion work more toward the SDGs. This initiative is led by UN Digital Finance Taskforce, whose secretariat is housed within UNCDF.
UNCDF is looking for up to six research interns to support its core activities in researching these efforts. This will include secondary research - identifying, analysing and highlighting both industry and academic publications on the application of digital finance to SDGS. It will also include primary research by working with a group of industry leaders in finance, technology, policy and regulation, identified by UNCDF, to solicit their experiences and views. Specifically, UNCDF is seeking to answer the following questions:
The internship offers a unique opportunity to engage in digital finance and to have exposure to leaders in the industry
 DFS refers to a range of formal financial services accessible via digital channels such as mobile money and agency banking, as opposed to traditional financial services accessed through physically visited at a bank branch.
The key results expected from the Digital Finance Research Interns are:
Applicants to the UNDP/UNCDF internship programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:
(a) Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher) in Business, Finance, International Relations, Economics, Public/Business administration, Social sciences, or related discipline;
(b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor's level or equivalent) in Business, Finance, International Relations, Economics, Public/Business administration, Social sciences, or related discipline;
(c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation.
Note for Applicants: Please indicate clearly in your application (additional questions section) and/or your cover letter the following;
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.