Rani Deshpande

Senior Financial Sector Specialist

Rani Deshpande rejoined CGAP in 2019 as part of an initiative to understand the potential of targeted financial services to maximize the benefits of the burgeoning digitally-mediated “gig” economy for young, marginalized workers, especially women.

Rani brings 20 years of experience in various aspects of financial inclusion, youth livelihoods, and nonprofit strategy and management. Most recently, she directed Save the Children’s $35M portfolio of youth and off-farm livelihoods development work in over a dozen countries. From 2010 to 2016 she led YouthSave, an initiative that assisted over 150,000 teens to open tailored savings accounts and save over $1.2M. Ms. Deshpande worked at CGAP from 2003-2006 and built institutional and industry capacity on financial products including savings and money transfers. She has also served as a strategy consultant to US nonprofits and worked directly with MSMEs in India and West Africa, providing technical assistance on production for export and small business management.

Rani earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a dual Master’s degree in International Affairs and Business from Columbia University. She is fluent in French and Marathi.

By Rani Deshpande


Growing Up, Growing Informal: Gender Differences in Financial Services

Teenage men and women in Kenya and South Africa adopt formal savings accounts at similar rates. But when they hit their 20s, men continue to adopt formal services while women begin gravitating toward informal services. Why?

What Drives the Financial Inclusion Gender Gap for Young Women?

Ahead of International Women's Day, CGAP and the Global Findex team analyzed how the account ownership gender gap varies across regions and age groups.

Financial Services for Platform Workers: Lessons from Partnerships

Platforms in Kenya are partnering with licensed financial services providers to offer credit, insurance and savings to their workers. Here are some lessons emerging from these partnerships.

Financial Services for Gig Workers: An Intersection of Needs in Kenya

Gig workers in Kenya cite savings, loans and medical insurance as top financial services they would like to access via gig platforms. While platforms across Africa increasingly offer credit and insurance, savings appears to be under-supplied.

COVID-19 Exposes Risks and Opportunities in Kenya's Gig Economy

Gig workers in Kenya report major disruptions to business and depleted savings due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), while platforms signal eagerness to facilitate government-to-person payments or loans to hard-hit workers.