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.


Building Small-Business Finance and Opening a Wider Door for Financial Inclusion
Antalya, Turkey The Special Advocate stressed the importance of providing financial services to small enterprises as a way to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Small businesses account for more than half the world's GDP and employ more than 2/3 of workers but it is difficult for them to obtain the financing they need to grow. The creation of the Global Membership Network is an important step in toward minimizing the bottlenecks that are stifling these businesses.   Full text


Business in Development (BiD) Network Conference ‘Growing SMEs: It’s Time to Invest’
Amsterdam, the Netherlands The UNSGSA acknowledged that the BiD Network provides a marketplace for business financing and investment opportunities. This highlighted the financing gap around the world – particularly for SME s, which need long-term capital, not just initial loans, as well as a full range of financial services. She acknowledged the dearth of information and high transaction costs facing banks and investors. Non- financial services, such as coaching and technical assistance, can contribute to the development of sustainable SME s. She asserted that financial services must be embedded in local institutions, be available across the whole value chain, and remain sustainable for providers and clients. She noted the importance of the right policies and financial infrastructure, supported by better data.   Full text


Clinton Global Initiative Finance Dinner
New York, USA In her first speech as the UNSGSA, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands described the evolution in thinking from ‘microcredit’ to ‘microfinance’ to ‘inclusive finance’ and advocated for a range of financial services, starting with savings, targeting poor people. She called for unduly restrictive rules and regulations that bar access to be removed, processes to be streamlined and tax structures re-examined, supported by pro-growth legal instruments and greater investment in financial infrastructure. She highlighted promising examples of ‘integrated microfinance’, such as linking microfinance to other in-demand products such as mobile phones, as well as to solar energy, irrigation systems, cooking stoves, and more. Full text


Closing Remarks at the G20 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Finance Data Working Group
The Hague, the Netherlands The UNSGSA outlined an action plan to analyze data and identify remaining gaps. While commending data collection efforts on the supply side, geared toward improving efficiencies in regulatory and policy-making bodies, she recommended integrating demand side surveys examining formal and informal-sector activity. She pointed to the longer-term goal of highlighting SME contributions to job creation, economic development, equitable growth, and poverty alleviation. She called for greater focus on the impact of public and private interventions on financial structures such as credit bureaus and payment systems, as well as of non-financial interventions such as capacity building and marketing infrastructure. She advocated for more precise data, harmonized definitions, and wider dissemination of information.   Full text


Closing the MSME Finance Gap: Opening Remarks at the 5th Global SME Finance Forum
In her opening remarks at the 5th Annual Global SME Finance Forum, the UNSGSA explained that 40% of formal MSMEs in emerging economies still lack the financing they needto expand their businesses, and outlined innovative solutions for closing this gap. Full text


Completing microfinance with sustainable non-financial services: But who will pay the ferryman?
Amsterdam, the Netherlands In this speech, delivered in her joint roles as UNSGSA and as a member of the Dutch Council on Microfinance, H.M. Queen Máxima emphasized that coaching – or technical assistance – can be as critical for new businesses as loans.  Successful approaches to microfinance are tailored to local needs and conditions.   Full text


Consumer Protection and Responsible Finance
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The UNSGSA underlined how consumer protection and responsible finance are inherent parts of a sustainable financial system.  While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, successful policy approaches share several elements.  They focus on key goals, including transparency in pricing, fair treatment, effective recourse and financial literacy.  They also respond to the national context and priorities.  The UNSGSA stressed that policymakers should work together with industry and consumers to address common goals.   Full text


Create Economies that Can Benefit All: Development, Equitable Growth, and the Role of Financial Inclusion
Amsterdam   In an address to European economics and finance ministers during an informal gathering of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin), the Special Advocate discussed the role of financial inclusion in building sustainable economic development and growth in which all can participate. She emphasized the importance of access to financial services, stressed the sound, safe use of those services, and reflected on the challenges of financial innovation. Full text


Creating Nigeria’s Success Story: Mobile Money, Agents, and the Way Forward for Financial Inclusion
Abuja, Nigeria   As Nigeria begins to rethink and re-energize its national financial inclusion strategy in order to amplify its impact, what steps could it take to really speed progress? In a keynote address to a financial inclusion workshop, the Special Advocate highlighted the potential impact of expanding mobile money, widening the scale of agent networks that provide mobile money, and adjusting regulations to allow mobile network operators to provide mobile money services.     Full text
Customer-centricity: At the Heart of Financial Inclusion and the Core of the Digital Economy
Davos, Switzerland  Digital finance holds much promise but a big hurdle remains in the form of usage, the Special Advocate said in a speech during a session on financial inclusion in the digital economy at the World Economic Forum. For a complex variety of reasons, so far people have not taken up digital financial services on a wide enough scale to have a consequential impact. The missing ingredient for providers and regulators may be customer-centricity—putting customers first at every stage. Full text