UNSGSA - UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development UNSGSA - UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development


As UNSGSA, Queen Máxima shares experiences across countries and connects people and institutions through speeches and published articles in addition to her meetings with national and global leaders. Through her speeches and published work, Queen Máxima has been an active and passionate voice for financial inclusion.


Opening Remarks at the G20 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Finance Data Working Group
The Hague, the Netherlands The UNSGSA reminded the group of their task to prepare recommendations for the G20 on comprehensive data collection methodologies. She noted that high-quality, comparative data on access to financial services can distill who has access to which services and pinpoint barriers. Such data can reveal gaps in knowledge and policy priorities, and help in monitoring effectiveness and the impact of policies over time. She asserted that more information was needed on the links between SME s and poverty alleviation; that government and the private sector needed clearer information to address the constraints of SME s; and that ancillary services, such as technical advice, were needed to support the provision of finance.   Full text
FMO’s 40th Anniversary Conference: ‘Be Social, Make Profit: Financing the Future of Developing Economies’
The Hague, the Netherlands The UNSGSA asserted that poor people are entitled to a wide range of efficiently delivered financial services. She noted that finance programs can extend beyond scarce donor resources and produce a multiplier effect, while formalizing good practices and promoting environmental sustainability. She cited the Massif local currency fund of FMO as an example of a public-private partnership that provides finance to local financial institutions that would otherwise be too risky for banks alone. She highlighted the challenges of testing innovative partnerships, of generating data adequate for analysis, and of scaling up successful pilots with appropriate profit margins and consumer protections.   Full text
Africa-Middle East Regional Microcredit Summit
Nairobi, Kenya While acknowledging the progress achieved since the global summit in Halifax, the UNSGSA issued three challenges to participants: to reach the very poor, particularly those in rural areas, through partnerships and cost-saving new service delivery technologies; to expand financial services to include savings, insurance, payment services, and remittance facilities, and to widen the client base from micro to SMEs; and to better protect clients.  She noted that inclusive finance is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and that it can be an enabler of development.  Bringing the unbanked into the financial system can help strengthen governance, while empowering people to invest productively and make better technology choices can contribute to greater environmental sustainability.   Full text
Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR)
Kigali, Rwanda The UNSGSA praised the leadership of AMIR in bringing together diverse partners, helping donors to coordinate and direct resources, building capacity of member institutions, and offering input into the regulatory policies of the sector.  She recognized the value of financial services that help boost agricultural production and address the needs of rural areas.   Full text
The State of the Planet 2010 Conference, Columbia University Earth Institute
New York, USA Each MDG is connected in one way or another to inclusive finance, highlighted the UNSGSA. Finance is a means to an end; having access to suitable and timely finance can help people achieve their own objectives. She noted that good finance programs can supplement scarce donor resources and even have a multiplier effect on those resources. Results can be further enhanced by forging partnerships between financial services and non-financial services, such as water and sanitation.   Full text
Fourth High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development
New York, USA The UNSGSA stressed the importance of heeding the voices of the unbanked and the underbanked in understanding the challenges and limitations they face. She called for innovative public-private risk-sharing partnerships that can significantly expand access for individuals and businesses needing financial services.   Full text
G20 SME Finance DFI Working Group Meeting
Frankfurt, Germany The UNSGSA called for a common language between microfinance and SME finance to reduce barriers and to streamline financial access for entrepreneurs. She urged greater attention to value chain financing, and asserted that data collection – particularly at the SME level – must be improved to help governments to better orient policies and institutions toward financial inclusion.   Full text
Micro-finance: Who Profits?
The Hague, the Netherlands The UNSGSA stated that economic growth is critical to development and that a strong and inclusive financial sector promotes growth and reduces income inequalities. She observed that the issue of pricing deserves more attention. While efficiency gains driven by economies of scale and innovations have pushed down interest rates, she noted that in some markets the operating yields had been increasing and in other markets institutions continued to pass on their own inefficiencies to clients in the form of high interest rates. She acknowledged the importance of product suitability and quality and of responsible service delivery, all of which play a crucial role in helping poor families manage their lives and strengthen resilience.   Full text


Annual Conference of the Russian Microfinance Center
Moscow, Russia Referring to the progress made in the two years since her last visit, the UNSGSA noted that though many Russians have access to basic financial services, only 20 percent have bank deposits.  She emphasized the value of savings in protecting against risks and building assets, and of enabling legal frameworks in managing savings and broadening access.  She noted the power of technology to overcome geographic distances, historically a barrier to accessing deposit services, and praised Russia’s advances in technological innovation.  She stressed the importance of consumer protection to ensure that clients benefit from these innovations. Full text
Microfinance India Summit
New Delhi, India The UNSGSA commended India for making financial inclusion a priority and for swiftly expanding outreach to borrowers through self-help groups as well as integrating microfinance with other, non-financial services, such as water and sanitation.  The UNSGSA underscored the importance of deposit services and of experimenting with micro-insurance beyond life insurance services, to health and asset insurance.  She noted that establishing client protection norms was important for bringing real benefits to underserved people.     A strong and inclusive financial sector not only promotes growth, it promotes growth that is pro-poor, and therefore reduces income inequalities.   Full text