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

Speeches

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.

2016

The Business of Women: Investing in the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs
Amsterdam Gender equality lies at the heart of development, but women, including female entrepreneurs, face more obstacles than their male counterparts. In Europe as in developing countries, women business owners are less profitable, have more trouble accessing credit, are more risk-averse, and tend to be less confident. The Special Advocate discussed a range of actions that could support the success of businesswomen, including coaching, advice, and investments from women leaders; promoting women-centered financial products; and strengthening women’s digital connectivity.     Full text
Fintech, Financial Inclusion, and the Changing Landscape of Banking
Amsterdam   As bankers look to the future, new digital technologies offer tantalizing possibilities for transforming banking—in the process opening up financial services to millions of currently excluded people. Speaking to the EU Banking Federation, the Special Advocate noted that while the future impact of fintech is unknowable, change is coming. Bankers, regulators, and development experts all need to follow the evolution of fintech carefully, and work together so that its applications have the widest positive impact they can on people’s lives.     Full text
Financial Inclusion: An Essential Part of the Response to Climate Change
Rotterdam, the Netherlands   The effects of climate change are being felt everywhere but particularly by the poor in developing countries, the Special Advocate noted in a speech during a climate adaptation conference. Access to financial services is increasingly being recognized as an essential part of preparations for the effects of climate change, and a number of innovative approaches are being developed including micro-insurance and solar power. Stronger private sector commitments will be vital for greater success, she stressed. Full text
From Start-ups to Scale-ups, Building the Strength of Small Business to Expand Opportunity
Amsterdam   Speaking to the SME Envoys Network, the Special Advocate explored what is needed to fully support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These businesses are the engine of job creation in Europe, but the services they need to thrive—including credit, investment, and training—are not always accessible. By reducing the inequities in credit and financing for SMEs, policymakers, regulators, and financial institutions can help them grow stronger.     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
Strengthening the Roots of Financial Resilience in Financial Education
Amsterdam   Financial resilience improves well-being and gives people hope for a better future, but building resilience requires financial education and consumer protection. Speaking at a symposium in Amsterdam, the Special Advocate applauded countries around the world that are implementing plans to support financial resilience and called for more research to guide ongoing efforts. Full text
In Pakistan, Moving Commitment to a New Level of Action
Islamabad, Pakistan   Joining an event to launch Pakistan’s universal financial inclusion agenda, the Special Advocate praised Pakistan’s work to create a strong regulatory foundation and to establish its national financial inclusion strategy. The challenges of ramping up financial inclusion will be significant, she noted, but the impact on the larger economy and on the lives of the poor can be transformative. Currently the economy is largely based on cash; moving those payments to digital offers a tremendous opportunity. Women in particular need attention, and small businesses are also in need of formal financing. By implementing the National Strategy, Pakistan will be able to make great progress. Full text
Financial Inclusion's Coming of Age: Partnerships, Progress, and the Shape of Things to Come
Davos, Switzerland Addressing a gathering focused on fostering financial inclusion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Special Advocate looked at how far financial inclusion has come and reflected on what the future may hold. The movement's successes can be attributed in part to the strength and agility of partnerships, but much work remains to be done. The face of financial inclusion will look very different in five years, she predicted, as it will have to if we hope to reach the goal of universal financial inclusion.   Full text

2015

Putting Customers at the Center: Reaching the Goal of Universal Financial Inclusion
Cape Town, South Africa Addressing the importance of client-centricity, the Special Advocate emphasized that access to financial services is only the first step toward true financial inclusion. Only when people use services, and when those services are tailored to provide substantive benefit, can financial inclusion fulfull its promise. She also praised the launch of the new Insight to Impact data initiative, which will provide insights that can guide the creation of client-centered products and services.   Full text
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