Queen Máxima delivered Rabobank’s Duisenberg lecture
HM Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, has delivered the Rabobank Duisenberg Lecture 2016. In her address, the Queen explored critical issues in enhancing financial inclusion and the vast potential benefits if such issues are properly resolved. In Rabobank’s high-level event in Washington DC last Saturday, Queen Máxima focussed her message on productive policy reforms to enhance financial inclusion; on SMEs, small-holder farmers and women as specific target groups; and on client-centricity in inclusive finance.
For almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals in the UN’s Agenda 2030, the Queen emphasized that financial inclusion is a critical prerequisite. She also highlighted that success cannot be expected in provisioning basic health care, education or food security, if access to finance remains an obstacle. Not only in developing countries, but to significant extent also in Europe and the US, parts of the population are either unbanked or underbanked.
The Rabobank Duisenberg Lecture focusses on topics around access to finance, food and nutrition security and sustainable value chains. In 2008, then Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander delivered the Lecture on the topic of Water Management and Sanitation.
The second half of the Duisenberg event was dedicated to the enormous challenge of food security in Africa in the decades to come. Once a food exporting continent, the import volumes of food for Africa have become alarming. Changing diets, food loss at the origin of the supply chain, strongly lagging productivity of food producers and a population growth stronger than anywhere else in the world all aggravate the issue.“Africa must feed itself,” conclude Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the UN’s World Food Programme and Berry Marttin, Executive of Rabobank. “It can feed itself, it has the resources. And there is really no alternative.”
Last year Rabobank launched its new Banking for Food Strategy. Earlier this year, Rabobank announced the ARISE Fund, an investment fund in financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through ARISE, Rabobank, FMO and Norfund can increase their investments in inclusive finance to USD 1 bln, and promote systemic change by creating synergies in the platform that spans more than 20 countries in SSA.