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.


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
Acceptance Speech at the German Media Award
Baden-Baden, Germany Thank you for this honour.  I am sharing this wonderful recognition with many courageous people around the world who are working very hard to create new opportunities for their families, their communities and their countries. And I would also like to share this with a host of national and international organizations who are passionately committed to raising awareness and taking action towards inclusive finance for development. But what is ‘Inclusive finance’?  It is access for and usage by everyone to a wide range of sustainable financial services at a reasonable cost.  That is: giving people the financial tools that will improve their lives, such as a bank account, a savings account, mobile banking, health care insurance and small loans. Full text
El crecimiento del espíritu empresarial en Perú a través de la inclusión y la educación financiera
Lima, Perú Queen Máxima congratulated the program partners and participants, noting that Peruvian women are renowned for their entrepreneurial spirit and the large role of SMEs in Peru’s economy.  The Queen underscored the importance of financial services for SMEs to grow and thrive. The training programs demonstrate all that can be achieved when women are given opportunity, financial services and the right support.   Queen Máxima commended Peru’s regulatory framework and encouraged extending access to rural areas and low-income populations by reducing costs and developing products that meet the needs of local businesses and entrepreneurs.  Preparing a national strategy for financial inclusion will help consolidate progress and unite government agencies and the private sector around a shared vision for an inclusive financial system for all Peruvians. (Speech presented in Spanish) Full text
Discurso en ocasión de la presentación de la estrategia nacional de Colombia para la inclusión financiera
Bogotá, Colombia Queen Máxima congratulated Colombia on the progress it has made during the past ten years. Today, financial institutions are present in 99% of municipalities and there has been a two-fold increase in loan accounts.   The UNSGSA noted that for all this success, more needs to be done to include all Colombians, especially those in rural and crisis-affected areas, and the poorest.  She highlighted the essential role of financial services to connecting people in these areas to the same development opportunities that the rest of the country enjoys.  The Queen emphasized that a national financial inclusion strategy will enable the Government to respond directly to the people’s needs, business growth and the country’s potential.  It will also engage all stakeholders around a shared vision.  She expressed her appreciation of having joined the first meeting of the national Financial Education Committee.  Financial education, responsible practices and product information are important elements in building a stable, inclusive financial system. (Speech presented in Spanish) Full text
Reaching the Poorest
Paris, France The UNSGSA highlighted the importance of a holistic approach in helping the world’s poorest get out and stay out of poverty.  Integrating best practices in social protection, livelihood promotion and financial inclusion has proven to be transformative.  Queen Máxima identified savings, scale, and stakeholders as the three key areas of financial inclusion for poverty graduation.  She underscored the role of savings as a buffer to life’s shocks and conduit for opportunities to generate greater income.  She encouraged partners to collect more data on how to stimulate savings and its impact on social development.  Queen Máxima underscored that shifting pilots to scale is needed and often requires new business models, better infrastructure and expanded staff.  She encouraged stakeholders from different sectors to work in partnership under national strategies for financial inclusion, to reinforce country level commitments, and to set bold targets on financial inclusion. Full text


A Better Life for Every Tanzanian: Accelerating Development and Growth through Financial Inclusion
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania At the launch of Tanzania’s National Financial Inclusion Framework, the UNSGSA recognized the importance of governmental leadership the link to the country’s overall economic development goals. She applauded the ambitious aim to include 50% of the population in formal financial services by 2015, and pointed to the rapid progress that has been made, especially in mobile financial services, that make this target a reality. The national framework will involve all stakeholders in its first three-year phase with a focus on tackling fundamental barriers of high costs, far distances, and asymmetries of information - which the UNSGSA said will open new opportunities for service providers. She encouraged the country to redouble its efforts on finding innovative ways to meet the needs of Tanzania’s small holder farmers, responsible for the bulk of the country’s food production and GDP. Full text
Igniting Innovation in Financial Access: Public and Private Approaches for Greater Access by 2020
Washington D.C. During a dynamic dialogue with the World Bank President Dr. Kim, the UNSGSA welcomed the World Bank Group’s target of universal access to financial services by 2020, and said that this is now within reach, especially if more private sector partnerships can be forged to encourage scalable digital solutions. Inclusive finance can accelerate progress toward economic growth and poverty alleviation, and should be included in the post-2015 development agenda. The UNSGSA encouraged coordination across sectors, and for partners to invest in the 'global goods' needed by all countries to enable their inclusive finance ambitions, including better data, best practice knowledge sharing.  Full text
United Nations Special Event for MDGs
New York, USA During a roundtable dialogue the UNSGSA recognized that the process of defining the post-2015 agenda means looking at how to achieve future goals, as well as what those goals should be. This is where financial inclusion comes in.  Financial services are a means to prosperity, resilience, ending hunger, and other urgent development goals. As an enabler, inclusive finance cuts across sectors, and is essential infrastructure in every country. As such, it should be recognized as a priority element in the post-2015 development agenda. She urged participants to embrace a goal of universal access by 2030. Full text
Advancing Inclusive Finance and Development through Digital Services and Partnership
New York Digital technology will play an important role in accelerating the drive toward universal access to financial services and therefore help advance economic and other development opportunities for households and SMEs. At the Better Than Cash Alliance event, the UNSGSA encouraged government, industry, and development agency leaders set their ambitions high and deepen partnerships and coordination to ensure electronic payments become a gateway to extend insurance, savings, credit and other financial products. Recognizing the importance of continuing to address supply side issues such as regulation and better data, the UNSGSA pointed out that meeting the needs of poor households and small enterprises through better product design is where we will have the greatest impact in terms of reducing the costs and risks of cash. Full text