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.


Progress Driven by a Common Vision
Asunción, Paraguay The Special Advocate praised Paraguay for being among the first countries in Latin America to launch a national financial inclusion strategy and cited the rigorous and thoughtful process leading up to its creation. By generating solid new data on topics such as remittances, insurance, and mobile financial services, Paraguay has been able to gain new insights and determine the best way forward. As the strategy's implementation begins, the UNSGSA encouraged attention to financial education and customer protection, and called on Paraguay to continue sharing its experiences with the world community. Full text
From “Flying Money” to Digital Finance: Innovation and Development through Financial Inclusion in China
Beijing, China Addressing students at Peking University, the Special Advocate spoke about the central role of financial inclusion in China’s efforts to expand equitable growth. China has a rich history of financial innovation and has dramatically reduced poverty and hunger in just a few decades. Still, 400 million remain financially excluded, particularly the rural poor, migrant workers, and small entrepreneurs. With a solid foundation in place and the government moving to expand financial access, technology and innovation hold great promise. Success depends on all actors working in support of a common vision. Full text
World Food Day speech
Rome, Italy With more than 800 million people undernourished and population growing rapidly, food production must double by 2050 to satisfy demand, said the UNSGSA. Family farmers have made significant contributions to reducing hunger, but to expand production they will need a supportive infrastructure, including access to financial services such as savings, payments, loans, remittances, and insurance. The gender gap in financial access is particularly acute for female farmers, who perform most agricultural labor. Strengthening financial inclusion among family farmers will take political leadership and a coordinated approach involving many partners, she noted, but smallholder farmers are vital to any sustainable solution to ending hunger. Full text
A Shared Understanding: Finding the Right Balance between Financial Inclusion and Global Financial Standards
Basel, Switzerland Deepening financial inclusion is critical for individual prosperity and security, and also for the stability, integrity, and transparency of the wider financial system, said the UNSGSA. Much progress has been made by the standard setting bodies (SSBs), but challenges remain in balancing financial integrity and inclusion at the country level and in ensuring that regulations keep up with potentially game-changing innovations. The Special Advocate praised the work of the SSBs and welcomed the contribution of countries, including members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, to the ongoing work to achieve this balance.     Full text
Speech to MONEYVAL
Strasbourg, France Financial inclusion, the promotion of financial integrity, and the prevention of criminal cash flows can be mutually reinforcing if the right balance can be struck between security measures and access to formal financial services. Speaking to the Council of Europe’s MONEYVAL—the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism—the UNSGSA emphasized the importance of financial monitoring. Financial inclusion can complement efforts to counter money laundering and terrorist financing by encouraging previously excluded customers to conduct transactions through formal systems, which reduce illicit activity. But strict, inflexible standards can prevent customers from accessing formal financial services and discourage providers. A global trend to clamp down on remittances to discourage financial crime is likewise having a painful impact on millions. Is it effective to require uniform, inflexible ID requirements that many cannot meet? Praising recommendations that make it easier to pursue financial inclusion while combatting financial crime, the Special Advocate urged regulators to allow markets to tailor their regimes to their own contexts, including including in lower-risk situations. Full text
Remarks at the launch of OECD's financial literacy assessment
Paris, France I am delighted to join you today. I have been looking forward to this for a long time.  You have no idea how this will help me do my work better.I believe that the results that will be released today will prove to be a game changer and that will provide the impetus for action in many countries. They really could not be coming at a better time as addressing the issue of financial literacy is of the greatest urgency. Full text
Address to Reserve Bank of India
Mumbai, India Addressing the Bank's governor and board, the UNSGSA noted that India has all elements in place to achieve full financial inclusion. Significant potential lies with pilots that are moving government social and welfare payments from cash to electronic means. She emphasized the importance of designing products that address client needs, and noted that government policies can support private-sector providers in this process. Multi-faceted financial education will also be necessary to strengthen client safety and build demand.   Full text
Remarks at the Development Finance Institutions SME Working Group Meeting
The Hague, Netherlands Queen Máxima congratulated the winners of the G20 SME Finance Challenge and emphasized that SMEs are a big part of financial inclusion.The UNSGSA called for a sustained focus on scale, informality, financial capability, and data on SMEs.Queen Máxima reminded that taking proven solutions to scale is a priority, and called out that scale sometimes requires a slightly different product or business model. Queen Máxima emphasized the role DFIs can play in connecting the private sector with under-served clients, and encouraged greater action to bring SMEs into the formal economy.  The UNSGSA underscored the importance of access to finance and business skills, especially for women entrepreneurs and called for more data that is consistent, comparable and disaggregated at the country level. Full text
Inclusive Finacial Systems as part of the "New Normal"
The Hague, Netherlands The UNSGSA commended the many good efforts in the area of financial inclusion by the World Bank Group (WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and partners.  She noted that these efforts are making a real difference and called for continued and greater action.  Queen Máxima underscored the importance of supporting the development of financial infrastructure and the private sector.  She encouraged the WB, IFC, and IMF in their efforts to identify and mitigate market risks by guaranteeing funds and building better market knowledge in order to create an attractive business case and replicate good approaches.  The Queen also encouraged continued support for the development of financial inclusion data, both globally and at national levels.  She encouraged greater focus on financial education to help plan and prepare for all of life stages and business opportunities.  In closing, Queen Máxima called for rapid progress in specific countries, to build momentum, codify knowledge and accelerate access.  Full text
Speech at the Fourth Annual Morningstar Investment Conference
Amsterdam, Netherlands The UNSGSA welcomed the conference attendees to Amsterdam, the birthplace, centuries ago, of many of the financial innovations that are still with us today. She underlined that the need for healthy and stable financial systems remains important and that a stable financial sector is an inclusive financial sector. While bringing individuals and businesses into the financial system is key, doing so while guarding against the risks this entails is essential. Responsible finance is a means of doing so. Queen Máxima underlined that this is not only a developing country consideration but applies equally to the European context. She stressed the positive role investors can play in furthering responsible finance through their investments. A means of doing so are the UN Principles for Investors in Inclusive Finance which are centered on meeting the needs of the client. Full text