Highlights from the ‘SDGs & the role of financial inclusion: Women & Innovation’ special session at the UN

“Financial inclusion is central if we are to meet the goals, targets and indicators of the SDGs”, stated Achim Steiner, Administrator UNDP during the opening speech of the special session ‘SDGs and the role of financial inclusion: Women & Innovation.’

See the rest of the highlights during the session, which was part of the celebration of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s 10th Anniversary.

Ambassador Jorge Moragas, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN


“2 billion adults are excluded from the formal financial system and the majority of them are women.” With these remarks the Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN, Ambassador Jorge Moragas, inaugurated the session.

“From the Spanish private sector, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, who celebrates its 10th anniversary, is an outstanding example in this area of contribution.”


Achim Steiner, Administrator UNDP


“Financial inclusion is incorporated in 8 targets and in 7 goals explicitly. So, already in the design phase, in the articulation phase, it was clearly recognized how central and fundamental this notion of financial inclusion should be and would be. And indeed, financial inclusion, by implication, in fact is part of all 17 Goals”.

“The sustainable development agenda, financial inclusion were not invented in 2015, when the General Assembly adopted this Agenda. What it did at that point in time is to take on the commitment of scaling it”.


Javier Flores, CEO BBVA Microfinance Foundation


“The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is committed to empower women economically, due to the conviction based on our own practice, that they are pivotal figures in reducing poverty …our experience shows that under the same conditions, their businesses perform better, they save more, and they spend better, in nutrition, health and education for their children”.

“We embrace the digital revolution as a transforming opportunity for millions, and the chance to deal with the big challenges that we face. Among them, to increase the scale and scope of our outreach, to improve knowledge about clients, and to enhance our value proposition: to maximize the entrepreneur’s progress. In the end, leaving no one behind”.


Mary Snapp, Vice President Microsoft Philanthropies


“We know that for economic growth, to move forward, for social mobility, for everyone to move forward, so that no one is left behind, we believe that everyone must have access to a digital economy.”

“The new jobs will be largely in the form of entrepreneurship. Those basic skills  of maths which lead to digital literacy and financial literacy will be very important.”


Irene Arias, CEO MIF (IDB Group)


“Women are 54% less likely to be defaulters in loans. And 15% more likely to save. They are also, when they invest, even though they invest 50% less than men, when they do, they generate 20% more revenues.”

“Big data, blockchain, connected devices and artificial intelligence; all those put into use for financial inclusion can actually close the gender gap significantly but it does require focus and it does require not to forgetting some of the basic skills to close first and foremost the digital gap.”

“I am convinced that together with the partners around this table and in this room we can make a difference for financial inclusion for women.”


Anuradha Seth, Senior Policy Advisor on Macroeconomics UN Women


“Poor women are 28% less likely than poor men to have a formal bank account. In fact, financial exclusion is a key reason why women generally lack ownership of both tangible and intangible assets. Not having a savings or a bank account or access to credit means that women cannot engage more effectively in productive activities, the labor market, or in fact, entrepreneurship. So clearly, promoting women’s access to finance can boost income growth, income security and income certainty. And it is in fact precisely through these transmission channels that financial inclusion contributes to gender equality, but not just to gender equality, also to poverty reduction and to building income resilience.”

“If we are to arrive in a transformative shift in the numbers of people and women who require financial inclusion, we need to address the macro level entry points as well.”