Stephen Rasmussen

Lead Financial Sector Specialist

Stephen Rasmussen has 30 years of development and financial inclusion experience. In 2014–2015, he established and was the first CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan, a start-up company focused on small business finance for job creation, digital financial inclusion, and innovation in the financial sector. Before joining CGAP, he was the World Bank’s microfinance focal point for South Asia. From 2001 to 2008 he was CEO of the Pakistan Microfinance Network, and from 1994 to 2003 he was CEO of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, a large rural development program in northern Pakistan, where he also helped establish First MicroFinanceBank, the first microfinance bank in Pakistan. Most recently Stephen served as CGAP’s Lead, Digital Rails.

By Stephen Rasmussen


The Essential Role of Finance in Education, Housing and Health Care

CGAP’s research suggests that financial services are important tools for advancing equitable access to quality essential services like education, housing and health care.

Pakistan Enigma: Why Is Financial Inclusion Happening So Slowly?

Just 21 percent of adults have accounts in Pakistan, despite decades of support for financial inclusion. What could accelerate progress?

Will Universal Basic Income Replace Safety Net Payments in India?

India is currently considering a universal basic income (UBI) scheme in which the government would guarantee a minimum income for all citizens. What are the key points of the UBI debate? What could UBI mean for financial inclusion in India?

bKash Bangladesh: A Fast Start for Mobile Financial Services

bKash launched in the second half of 2011, grew to 2 million accounts by the end of 2012, and shot up to 11 million registered accounts by the end of 2013.

The Future of Provider Ecosystems for Financial Inclusion

CGAP’s five-year strategy recognizes that in most countries poor people are more likely to get financial services from a range of commercial and public sector actors.