Digital Public Goods, Financial Health to be High on Agenda during UNSGSA Queen Máxima Visit to Annual Meetings

UNSGSA Queen Máxima is pictured during a meeting at the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington D.C. on 23 March 2022. The UNSGSA will attend the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WGB on her upcoming visit to the U.S. Photo: World Bank

H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), will travel to Washington D.C. on 14-15 October 2022 to meet with key policymakers and attend the 2022 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

Throughout the visit, the Special Advocate will reinforce the importance of digital financial inclusion and key digital public goods—including connectivity, cybersecurity, and digital IDs. The UNSGSA will highlight this in the context of the new Global Findex database, which demonstrated that a technological revolution across the globe fueled a sharp rise in the use of financial technology, helping 76% of adults worldwide to become financially included (2021).

Queen Máxima will also stress that it is paramount to ensure financial inclusion improves people’s financial health and builds resilience. Financial health is a priority for the Special Advocate’s work—including the establishment last year of the UNSGSA’s Financial Health Working Group, which released a pair of policy notes to help policymakers understand and measure financial health, especially in the context of financial inclusion.

On Friday, 14 October, it is foreseen that the UNSGSA will participate in an IMF Annual Meetings event on CBDCs and financial inclusion, held alongside the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings (click here to find the livestream link). The UNSGSA has spoken about the potential for a CBDC to go a long way toward improving financial inclusion and driving innovation if policymakers get the design right, including in this April 2022 opinion piece (registration required to access) that the UNSGSA co-authored in Project Syndicate.

Additionally, on Friday, the Special Advocate is scheduled to co-host, alongside Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu, an invite-only meeting on improving financial health with policymakers, private sector leaders and civil society organizations. This follows on a previous engagement in March 2022 during the UNSGSA’s spring visit to Washington D.C. where the issue of financial health—notably approaches to measuring financial health and its relevance to other policy objectives—was in focus during a meeting with the Acting Comptroller.

On Saturday, 15 October, Queen Máxima will provide opening remarks for the “Building Resilience: Accelerating Financial Inclusion through Digitization” event during the Annual Meetings (click here to find the livestream link, registration required). The event aims to highlight the updated Global Findex survey and report for a policy discussion on how digitization is expanding access to financial services and emerging risks.

She will also conduct bilateral meetings with various government officials from different countries to discuss opportunities to collaborate on promoting financial inclusion, including how it can support COVID-19 recovery efforts and help people build resilience to future shocks from economic and climate events.