Speech Queen Máxima at the B20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia
The speech is prerecorded. Queen Máxima is the United-Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join with you virtually and to support Indonesia’s B20 Presidency.
I thank you for this opportunity to put financial inclusion at the heart of our discussions.
These are difficult times for people everywhere, and we are all seeking new ways to tackle the challenges before us – from Covid, to conflict, to inflation, to climate change. Inclusive finance offers new opportunities to build resilience, weather shocks, and invest in a more prosperous future.
Over the last decade, a quarter of the world’s adult population has gained access to financial services. Today, 76% of adults globally are now financially included.
In my work as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate, I have seen the remarkable difference that inclusive digital infrastructure, in concert with digital financial services, make for people and small businesses.
From Jakarta to East Africa, millions of small merchants are now paid and making payments with their own phones – transforming their ability to invest. During the COVID pandemic, governments from Brazil to Togo sent emergency digital payments directly to vulnerable households at unprecedented speed.
But we should move beyond payments. A broad range of financial services – such as savings, insurance, and credit – are needed for individuals, households, and SMEs to fully benefit from the digital economy. We also need continued commitment to put in place a digital financial infrastructure that is inclusive, safe, and equitable.
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 help marginalized communities navigate these services in ways that work for them.
India offers a good example with the India Stack – which combines ID cards, a payments interface, and account aggregators in one easily accessible platform. Peru and Estonia have shown how smaller countries can also have digital IDs, payments, and e-governance use cases to build digital stacks that really work for all.
Public-private collaborations are key for innovation and scale. Indonesia’s digital unemployment assistance program, Kartu Prakerja, has demonstrated how partnering with digital training institutes, job platforms, online marketplaces and fintechs helped support over 11 million beneficiaries. This includes building skills to start businesses or find employment, while providing cash assistance directly to the e-wallet in their mobile phones.
Private-private partnerships, that provide services across entire value chains, is also crucial, especially for SMEs. There are many examples of fintechs creating digital ecosystems to help small businesses digitize their inventory management, marketing, payments, credit, and sales. Suddenly, these SMEs leap forward and connect to a larger market beyond their brick-and-mortar presence.
Critical here is the transparency in the collection, sharing and usage of customers’ and SMEs’ data. Most customers grant consent without reading the terms and conditions, which are often long and hard to comprehend. Individuals and businesses often do not know the value of the data they create. And even if they do, they find it difficult to assert their rights or benefit from its value in the form of better products or lower costs.
This is urgent, as platform-based businesses increasingly explore using customers’ data footprints to embed financial services in social media, e-commerce, and entertainment platforms.
During today’s Summit you will be able to discuss all these important issues. So, let us ask: How can we how to finance, design and govern this digital stack infrastructure in a more inclusive way? How can we empower individuals and SMEs with their own data? And, how can public-private and private-private collaborations further take advantage of these digital transformation possibilities to provide services to the vulnerable, as well as enable them to benefit from the digital economy?
It will require action from all stakeholders – especially the many leaders from the business, policy, and financial sectors here today, from Indonesia, G20 countries and around the world. Your role is crucial. I wish you every success in your efforts to create a digital financial system which really benefits everyone.