Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will participate in a high-level discussion on financial inclusion at the Millennium Development Goals Summit 2010. Hosted jointly by the United States and the Netherlands, the event will occur at the Helmsley Hotel in New York City on September 22 at approximately 1:00 p.m.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Her Royal Highness Dutch Princess Máxima, who serves as the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, will co-host the discussion. Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez will also participate.
Financial inclusion – universal access, at reasonable cost, to a wide range of services, provided by a diversity of sound and sustainable institutions – helps people generate income, invest in opportunities, build assets, and mitigate risks. It helps households and enterprises manage cash flow and meet their capital needs, and fosters productive activity at all levels of society. However, about 2.7 billion people around the world and millions of enterprises do not have access to financial services. Twenty-first century innovations, many of which leverage technology, have the potential to dramatically change this situation.
Following remarks by Secretary Clinton, President Lobo, Prime Minister Balkenende and Princess Máxima, a panel of expert practitioners moderated by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Executive Secretary David Morrison will discuss the political leadership, policy reform and service innovations necessary to advance financial inclusion. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will summarize the panel discussion in closing remarks.
Immediately prior to the Financial Inclusion event, Secretary Clinton will sign separate Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Honduran President Lobo and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Martinez. The MOUs will outline the U.S. Government’s commitment to the Building Remittance Investment for Development Growth and Entrepreneurship (BRIDGE) Initiative, led by Assistant Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez, through which the United States expects work with El Salvador and Honduras to develop and support partnerships with strong and reliable financial institutions to maximize the development impact of remittance flows and to help establish strong foundations for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.