H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), provided pre-recorded video remarks for the high-level G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) Symposium held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 4 October 2022.
Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Minister Indrawati, Governor Warjiyo, GPFI Co-Chairs, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join you virtually today. I’m delighted that some of you can be in Yogyakarta to reconnect in person.
Over the past 10 years as the UN Special Advocate, I have seen the remarkable difference that inclusive digital infrastructure and digital financial services can make to people’s lives, as well as to the fortunes of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
From Indonesia to East Africa, millions of small merchants are now paid and making payments with the phones in their own pockets — transforming their ability to invest and grow.
During the COVID pandemic, governments from Brazil to Togo sent emergency digital payments directly to vulnerable households — offering essential financial support at unprecedented speed.
These and so many more achievements are made possible through digital infrastructure designed to meet the needs of the poor and underserved segments of societies — such as women, youth, and MSMEs.
Greater connectivity, and digital IDs, allow access to financial services for millions previously left behind.
Fair competition, and interoperable payment systems, help markets work better for even the smallest-scale customers.
Cybersecurity, consumer protection, data governance, and digital literacy allow marginalized communities to navigate these services in ways that work for them.
And where MSMEs gain access to new digital opportunities, they can make their businesses more efficient, overcome labor shortages, and open up new markets.
New fintech services are helping small businesses across the Global South to digitize their inventory management, marketing, payments, credit, and sales.
Companies like ShopUp in Bangladesh, OmniBiz and Flutterwave in Nigeria, Uddan and Moglix in India and Bazaar in Pakistan have been able to help small businesses expand far beyond their brick-and-mortar origins, and connect to a much wider world.
However, many MSMEs are still missing out on these opportunities.
This is a challenge for both advanced economies and developing economies — and one we must meet together, by increasing access to digital public goods, finance, and digital skills.
SMEs — especially start-ups, and firms with large growth prospects — need a range of financial services like payments, equity, short- and long-term debt, savings and insurance.
To get there, we need to improve the whole digital finance ecosystem, such as credit reporting systems and insolvency regimes. The good news is that we see innovation around the world, as showcased in the GPFI’s database digital and innovative financial products for MSMEs.
I warmly welcome the work of the GPFI this year in developing the implementation guide for the G20 High-Level for Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion. Renewing our commitment to support women, youth, and MSMEs is essential for inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth. We can help them thrive — by embracing digital uptake, investing in skills, and improving the finance ecosystem.
It is important to understand our small businesses, and design and deliver to meet their needs. This includes the GPFI’s work on a creating a regulatory toolkit for MSMEs' access to digital financial services, and a focus on harmonizing MSMEs financing data.
As the Honorary Patron of the G20 GPFI, I congratulate the Indonesian G20 Presidency and the GPFI, under its co-chairs, for organizing this week’s plenary sessions, and for the high quality of your work.
I hope governments, businesses, and development champions will use these valuable resources — enabling entrepreneurs everywhere to grow their businesses more effectively and safely, and to thrive in the future.
Together we can really drive action to help us recover and build a more inclusive, resilient, and responsible digital financial system, with expanded opportunities for all.
Thank you very much for your commitment to this important work.