Queen Máxima in Brazil to promote inclusive finance and financial health

From the evening of Sunday 4 June to Wednesday 7 June, Her Majesty Queen Máxima will be visiting Brazil in her role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). The visit will centre on the further promotion of financial inclusion, in combination with financial health and inclusive green finance. 

Great strides have been made in the field of financial inclusion since Queen Máxima visited Brazil in her UN capacity in 2012. According to the 2021 edition of the Global Findex Database, 84% of adults have a bank account or use other established digital financial services. But 27 million adults are still unable to save, take out insurance or invest safely. Most are people on low incomes, women and people with small farms or other small businesses.

In São Paulo, Queen Máxima will talk to entrepreneurs about how digital loans and other customised financial services have helped them build their businesses and enhance their financial resilience. In Brasília she will drop in on a financial education lesson. The central bank has developed teaching resources for public primary schools so that children learn from an early age about the importance of managing money responsibly. This will encourage financial responsibility in later life and contribute to financial health. 

Financial health is ‘the extent to which a person or family can smoothly manage their current financial obligations and have confidence in their financial future’. This includes being able to absorb financial shocks, being on track to reach future goals, and feeling secure and in control of finances. This is the definition given in the UNSGSA Working Group publication 'Financial Health: An Introduction for Financial Sector Policymakers'. Both in the Netherlands and in her UN work, Queen Máxima advocates for financial health to be supported in the design of financial products, services and policy. Examples include innovations such as the automated saving of small amounts to build a financial buffer, insurance products tailored to people’s needs, and affordable loans for business or educational needs. Financial literacy and financial education are also key priorities.

According to the 2022 Brazilian Financial Health Index (I-SFB) survey, the average Brazilian adult scores low on financial health. Almost 80% of respondents did not know whether they could meet their monthly bills, and 55% were worried about paying school fees. 

Another issue on the agenda is inclusive green finance. This involves developing financial products that help people protect themselves against the negative impact of climate change. Inclusive green finance dovetails closely with sustainable finance, which Brazil has already been pursuing for many years. 

In São Paulo Queen Máxima will speak with representatives of the financial sector about how to foster the further development of responsible digital financial ecosystems and a digital economy in which everyone can participate. Data privacy and consumer protection are crucial in this regard, as are promoting financial health and inclusive green finance. 

Queen Máxima plans to speak on this subject in Brasília with, among others, Fernando Haddad (Minister of Finance), Wellington Dias (Minister of Social Development and Assistance, the Family and the Fight against Hunger), Roberto Campos Neto (governor of the central bank of Brazil) and Rita Serrano (CEO of the federal savings bank Caixa Econômica Federal). 

Queen Máxima will be accompanied on her visit by representatives of the Reference Group with which she has collaborated closely since 2009, including the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank. 

Government Information Service, no. 145