Postdoctoral Fellow, Digital Finance Retail Distribution Networks (DFRDN)

  • United States of America
  • Other advanced degree
Start Date (Earliest):
Start Date (Latest):
Length of Commitment:
One year

Position Summary

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) seeks an experienced Postdoctoral Fellow for a new research initiative on digital financial inclusion interoperable payment platforms in LMICs which has recently been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Institute is seeking to recruit an entrepreneurial leader with a desire to grow and manage a new team dedicated to developing and funding compelling and rigorous research projects on Digital Finance Retail Distribution Networks (DFRDN) including Cash in Cash Out (CICO) and how to enhance women’s access in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The first task of the Postdoctoral Fellow will be to develop a high-quality and well researched Framework Paper, which will set the tone for the research agenda for the four-year program. In addition, the Postdoc will support the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) in proposal selection, provide quality assurance for all commissioned studies, and build capacity on experimental and behavioral research within ISSER. The Postdoctoral Fellow will be supervised by Professor Francis Annan (Georgia State University), DFRDN’s Scientific Lead and Co-Chair, as well as collaborate with ISSER/DFRDN staff. The ideal candidate must have the knowledge of empirical social science methods and issues related to digital financial inclusion and women’s access to financial services as well as the expertise to bring best practices to institutional processes and build management capacity.Policies & Incentives to Deepen Digital Finance Retail Distribution Networks in LMICs: CICO agent networks are necessary building blocks to a robust digital ecosystem, due to their ability to (i) convert money between physical cash and digital currency and (ii) serve as onboarding channels for a broader set of digital financial tools and services. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only further confirmed the critical nature of CICO networks as important distribution points for social protection payments, international and domestic remittances, and other aid disbursements. Given that a majority of the world’s financially excluded and underserved customers live in rural areas, extending rural CICO agent networks is critical to further financial inclusion. The project aims to demonstrate both a) how to effectively expand the reach of agent networks with public policy and commercial solutions that can plausibly be scaled and b) how to advance public knowledge about the structural constraints limiting agent networks more globally.The project will support qualified researchers around the globe, including but not limited to scholars at the host institution, with a focus on projects relevant to LMIC markets. The project will engage researchers from the Global North and the Global South with the goal of expanding representation of researchers from the Global South in development studies as well as fostering future partnerships and capacity building. In this research initiative, ISSER will manage the selection and funding of compelling research projects, which may be implemented through any qualified field partner, including but not limited to the Institute’s own internal research project teams.

An independent Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) composed of academics and practitioners in the digital finance retail network with a strong interest on the issue, will select the proposals for funding.About ISSER: ISSER is among the leading quantitative empirical academic social science research institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and a semi-autonomous institute within the College of Humanities at the University of Ghana. The institute affiliates and staff include 22 faculty with PhDs across social science disciplines, 20 research staff with Masters level credentials, and 20 administrative staff with 30 associated Ph.D. students and 20 Associate Masters students. ISSER carries out research and training that is geared towards promoting the socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa. The Institute has a reputation for solid social science research, paying close attention to exploratory, explanatory and evaluative aspects of the dynamics of development. Areas in which ISSER has been focusing its attention recently include but not limited to: public expenditure and household behavior, finance sector development, financial inclusion, digital finance, private sector development, rural production and household incomes, food security, health and nutrition of households, social reforms and social security, land tenure reforms, as well as gender issues and policy reforms.


  • Collaborate with the Scientific Lead, Project Director and other partners in research designWork with the Project Director and Scientific Lead to prepare the Framework Paper to guide the initiative Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Monitor project implementation to ensure quality control and adherence to the research specifications as agreed
  • Coordinate between local partners, research organizations, and principal investigators to facilitate the successful implementation of the research projects
  • Sort, clean, analyze and report on data and findings from the research projects
  • Draft reports, working papers, policy briefs and other materials to disseminate the findings of the research.


  • Current or recent PhD candidate or graduate PhD in Economics, Public Policy or related field
  • Demonstrated research interests and experience in financial inclusion including digital finance, behavioral economics, consumer protection, gender economics or related topics
  • Significant applied econometrics skills are expectedExperience working on both quantitative and qualitative data collection
  • Evidence of independently managing complex partners with multiple stakeholders
  • Knowledge of statistical packages such as STATA, R, Python
  • Evidence of organizing and analyzing large data sets, in particular administrative data, financial data, and/or alternative data such as social media data
  • Superior analytical, quantitative and conceptual thinking skillsAbility to present information in a structured and insightful way, both in writing and orally
  • Self-starter, entrepreneurial mindset, versatility and strong multi-tasking skillsPassion for making data-driven decision making a reality in the development sector.

Preferred additional qualifications:

  • Professional experience in financial services, international development, or financial sector policy, compliance, or supervisory experience
  • Experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia
  • Proficiency on the English Language.

Team Structure: The Initiative Director will report to the Executive Director of ISSER and will lead the initiative team consisting of a Postdoctoral Fellow, a Grants Manager, a Communications Associate based at ISSER and a Program Manager.Location: Atlanta, USA/TBD.Fab

How to Apply

Application Instructions: Please send your (i) most recently updated CV along with a (ii) cover letter, clearly explaining your interest in and qualifications for this position, and (iii) job market paper to [email protected] and mention “Application for the position: Postdoctoral Fellow, DFRDN” in the subject line.