Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno today stressed the importance of extending financial services for all sectors of society at the inauguration of a seminar in Buenos Aires on “Microfinance: Toward the Inclusion of all. ”
"We must work for join action among international organizations, governments and the private sector in a permanent dialogue to achieve access to financial services for all,” Moreno said.
Organized by the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund in conjunction with Women’s World Banking and the Latin American Federation of Banks, the event was attended by more than 100 leaders of the financial services sector in Argentina, including regulators, supervisors, economic development and political policymakers and officials of financial institutions, and by representatives from other countries in the region. The participants offered their perspectives on extending the successful business models of microfinance institutions.
"We are confident this event will contribute to the efficient and sustainable growth of microfinance - a sector with enormous potential in Argentina - to the benefit of those sectors that do not yet have access to financing,” Moreno said. "The role of the Bank in this process is fundamental, ensuring the sustainability of these services in the long run.”
Princess Maxima, a member of the
United Nations Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors, also stressed the importance of offering consumers the option of saving in a secure institution, which offers fair fees and gives them the ability to send money and make payments easily.
President Moreno commentated that only 30 percent of the homes in Latin America and the Caribbean have a Bank account and less than 20 percent have a loan.
"Small businesses and low-income households and not being well served, because the financial system in the region is focused on corporate levels and consumption, excluding a large part of the population,” Moreno said.
Commenting on microenterprises in the host country, Princess Maxima said that although Argentina’s microfinance sector is less developed than in other countries, it “has the potential to scale up. It has an established financial sector and capital and savings capacity for a sustainable development of the sector.”
"It is important that government policies reinforce the microfinance sector and not convert them into instruments of social policies, no matter how well intentioned these are,” she added. “Microfinance intuitions must lend to people with the ability to repay their debts at interest rates that will enable cost recovery. We must not forget that credit is not the only solution to poverty.”
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