H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), delivered keynote remarks at the Digital Public Infrastructure for Resilience and Economic Transformation UNDP's General Assembly Side Event: The Future of Digital Cooperation in New York on 21 September 2022.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join you at this important event.
For more than a decade, as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, I have seen the remarkable difference that inclusive digital infrastructure makes to people’s lives.
From India to East Africa, millions of small-scale famers are now paid and making payments with the phones in their pockets – transforming their ability to invest.
During the COVID pandemic, governments from Colombia to Togo sent emergency digital payments directly to vulnerable households – at unprecedented speed.
These and so many more achievements are made possible through digital infrastructure specifically designed to meet the needs of the poor and the underserved.
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.
And it isn’t just finance. Inclusive digital public goods infrastructure can also support health, and education – the building blocks for better lives.
So how do we do this? Around the world, we see inspiring examples of how to finance, design and govern this infrastructure in a more inclusive way.
India has shown one way with India Stack – which combines ID cards, a payments interface, and account aggregators in an easily accessible platform.
Countries like Peru and Estonia have demonstrated how smaller countries can create digital goods that bring together ID, payments, and e-governance use cases that work for all.
By sharing experiences like these, we can spread the benefits even further.
The UN, and the Bank for International Settlements, can help governments and central banks exchange knowledge.
New global platforms, like the Digital Public Goods Alliance, can bring more voices into the conversation.
The World Bank, and funds like Co-Develop, can mobilize the finance needed to scale-up essential infrastructure.
By bringing the public and private sectors together around digital public goods, we can make real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
So I thank you for your work, and wish you every success in your efforts to create a digital ecosystem that benefits everyone.