Yesterday, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, met with UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in order to present her third annual report on activities.
In the report, Princess Máxima describes a distinctive switch among policymakers and other leaders from awareness about the lack of access to financial services to committing to making financial inclusion a reality. This was manifest in the attention given to financial inclusion at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. At the summit she said “If we are successful in achieving responsible finance, we will also achieve stability in the financial sector. And that will accelerate what financial intermediation is supposed to do in the first place – create employment, advance sustainable development and foster equitable economic growth.”
Today, approximately one-third of the world’s population, most of them poor, struggle to get by without basic financial services such as savings, insurance and credit. The annual report details how the UNSGSA raised awareness of this situation, and called attention to need for access to finance for millions of families and entrepreneurs to generate income, manage cash flow, build assets, and strengthen resilience to setbacks. This year, Princess Máxima had the opportunity to meet clients, providers, policymakers and political leaders during her country visits to Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey.
To help convert momentum and commitments into action, the report details how the UNSGSA urged stakeholders to develop and deliver financial services tailored to individuals and small entrepreneurs currently beyond the reach of traditional channels and products. Princess Máxima called for more insight into both the needs of clients and the impact of financial inclusion in order to inform effective products and policies that also advance the desired development ends. She said, “Putting clients at the center of financial inclusion is the only way we will get to what really matters: impact on lives, livelihoods, and welfare.”
About the UNSGSA
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated H.R.H. Princess Máxima of the Netherlands as his Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in September 2009 and re-appointed her for a second, two-year term in September 2011. In 2011, Princess Máxima also became the Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.