H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), provided a pre-recorded video keynote address for the G20 India's Development Working Group side event on data for development, "The role of the G20 in advancing the 2030 Agenda," which was held in Mumbai, India, on 13 December 2022.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In my role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, I worked closely with partners to ensure that financial inclusion was recognized and embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why? Because financial inclusion is a powerful tool of development.
Eight of the 17 SDGs highlight financial inclusion as a way to help achieve zero poverty, no hunger, good health, gender equality, and economic growth.
We know financial inclusion can do this. And we have the data to show it.
Our main source of data is the Global Financial Inclusion Database – the Global Findex as we call it.
Before the Findex, we did not have reliable information to answer vital strategic questions, even the number of people we hoped to reach.
After the first edition was released 10 years ago, a picture of financial inclusion emerged that transformed global thinking, planning, and action.
Today, countries around the world have high-quality data on how adults are saving, borrowing, making payments, and managing risks.
The big picture is that 71% of adults in developing economies now have a formal financial account. A decade ago, it was just 42%.
The data helps provide a close-up view. We have learned that when rural households in Uganda started using mobile money accounts, their food security increased by 45%.
This year’s Findex report covers new ground and offers fresh insights. For example, how financial worrying and resilience affect the way people manage shocks like job loss, illness, crop failures, or natural disasters.
How is this new data being used? Often, to create better financial policies, products, and services.
We can see this with businesses that serve the poor and vulnerable.
In October, I visited Tanzania and met with smallholder farmers who now have protection against the impacts of extreme weather. ACRE Africa offers microinsurance an affordable, digital weather index insurance product. Weather satellite data makes it possible for ACRE to assess and predict risks, as well as trigger payouts when disaster strikes. Digital financial services are then used to send payments to farmers quickly, safely, and easily.
The confidence farmers feel from insurance coverage has helped them seize new opportunities. They are now investing in better, drought-resistant seeds and using inputs such as fertilizer to boost their crop yields.
The better the data, the bigger the impact on people’s lives.
However, a lot of data remains siloed within companies or government agencies essentially a stranded asset.
Accessing one’s data is another challenge. For most people, it is nearly impossible to share their own data and use it to select suitable financial products or get better terms such as lower interest rates.
When individuals and businesses do share their data, they often do not know how it will be used. Most grant consent without reading the terms and conditions, which as we all know, are often long and hard to comprehend.
In short, people are not benefitting from their own data. They deserve more transparency and involvement in how their data is collected, shared, and used.
The EU Data Act, and India’s Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture, could offer some examples and insights into how trusted data sharing can protect and empower individuals and small businesses.
During today’s side event you will be able to discuss these important issues.
So, let us ask:
How can we use data to fast-track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?
How can we share and learn about different approaches to data governance to figure out what might work best in our countries?
And how can the public and private sector work together to use data, digital, and AI tools to support development outcomes?
I look forward to following your discussion and the progress of the working group over the coming year.
Thank you very much.