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.

2015

Making the Case for Financial Inclusion in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
New York City Speaking with UN member states who are involved with the informal Group of Friends of Financial Inclusion, the Special Advocate thanked countries for the strong support they have provided for financial inclusion during the negotiations on the UN's Post-2015 development agenda and on the financing for development stream. Financial inclusion is an important enabler of the new goals, and she encourged member states to continue to press for a significant role going forward in order to improve the lives of the poor. Full text
Harnessing Financial Education to Spur Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Paris, France The importance of small businesses can hardly be overstated, but improving the financial literacy of business owners is vital, the Special Advocate emphasized in a speech to an OECD/GFLEC symposium on financial literacy. Improving the skills of small business owners can unlock jobs and growth, and play a central role in sustainable, inclusive development.   Full text
Leaping Far Ahead: Unleashing Myanmar's Potential Through Financial Inclusion
Yangon, Myanmar Myanmar is a country of enormous potential waiting to be unleashed, the Special Advocate told students at the University of Yangon, and financial inclusion will be central to its progress. But for financial services to improve livesthey will need to be tailored to the local needs and provided responsibly, a goal that will be supported by Myanmar’s new financial inclusion road map. Thanks to the rapid expansion of mobile phone services and other digital technologies, the country has an exciting chance to leap far ahead with financial inclusion—progress that will take leadership, cooperation, and planning among a wide range of  public and private sector actors. Full text
The Transformative Promise of Mobile Technology for Financial Inclusion
Barcelona, Spain Mobile technology holds the key to achieving universal inclusion, said the Special Advocate at a gathering of mobile tech leaders. For millions who are excluded from formal financial services, mobile services are closing the gap. But billions of people are still excluded. Mobile money presents a series of complex technical hurdles for providers and requires support from regulators and other partners. But smartphones and the mobile Internet hold great promise for overcoming some of these obstacles. As increasing numbers of clients gain access to financial services, customer protection must remain paramount for providers, and as new mobile customers benefit and grow, so, too, will providers.     Full text
Where Do We Go from Here? Moving forward with financial inclusion
London, UK The next move forward for financial inclusion will be driven by innovation and led by the private sector in partnership with other stakeholders, the UNSGSA said at a conference in London. Innovative products such as mobile financial services and branchless banking have already reached millions, and e-commerce firms hold great promise. Countries are developing plans, adopting supportive regulations, and encouraging partnerships. But challenges remain: ensuring that regulators keep up with innovation; protecting and educating consumers; preventing fraud; creating responsible products. By overcoming these hurdles, we can help the poor become stakeholders in a sustainable global economy. Full text

2014

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