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.


Advancing Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance
Paris, France Queen Máxima explored the complexity that investors face in managing risks and financial returns, and balancing these efforts with environmental, social, and governance issues that financial markets do not traditionally address.  The UNSGSA considered how tools such as the Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance, which she helped to launch in January 2011, can help to foster greater shared responsibility and investment that benefit the environment, people, and profits. 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


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


Approaches to Cross-Sector Policy Leadership and Coordination for Financial Inclusion
Bali, Indonesia In her remarks to policymakers from 48 developing and emerging countries, the UNSGSA described how increased coordination at three levels can benefit financial inclusion: 1) within countries; 2) at the cross-national level among policymakers in different jurisdictions; and, 3) through existing global standard setting organizations. The UNSGSA emphasized the importance of universal access within reasonable distance from clients’ homes or workplaces. A widespread national payment system provides the critical financial infrastructure for development and growth.   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


Balancing Innovation and Risks in the Digital Era
Wiesbaden, German   Speaking to a G20 conference on digital finance and financial inclusion, the Special Advocate laid out the great promise of digital tools to expand financial access to the poor. But she also discussed the risks of technology-based innovations for customers and the financial system. The way forward, she said, lies in taking a customer-centric approach, preparing and empowering customers, putting safe and enabling regulations in place, and developing the necessary public goods.     Full text


Better Than Cash Alliance Launch
New York, USA Queen Máxima highlighted the benefits of electronic payments such as lowering cost of doing business and of handling cash for governments, businesses and individuals; bringing people into the formal economy; and increasing accountability and transparency of governments.  She underscored the importance of political leadership as well as cross-sector coordination including with the private sector.  The UNSGSA emphasized the importance of data, calling for even more data to better determine targets and achieve greater social impact.     Full text


Breaking Ground in Financing for Women Entrepreneurs
Amsterdam, the Netherlands   In the keynote address at the Power of Parternships event, the Special Advocate asked why women entrepreneurs have so much lower access and use of finance than men, and what solutions should be implemented to solve this problem. She encouraged providers and other parties to address data gaps, recognize the business case for serving women, tailor services for women's distinct needs, and more. And she called for innovative partnerships to blaze new paths.     Full text


Building an Inclusive Financial System in Egypt
Cairo, Egypt Congratulating EFSA on the draft regulations, the UNSGSA stressed that financial inclusion should provide all Egyptians with the right financial products in the places where they need it, at the right prices.  It should be competitive and transparent, and protect consumers.   Full text


Building Opportunity for Women and Advancing Development through Financial Inclusion
Washington, DC, USA Social and economic development goals can only be achieved if women are fully engaged and empowered. Financial services play an important role in making this a reality.  In this context, rural women deserve particular attention and support. Queen Máxima commended the many stakeholders who have recognized this and are responding with products and policies designed for women. She also drew attention to the importance of helping women build resilience for themselves and their families, such as against illness and other emergencies. Full text