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A message from her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands' message on the inauguration of the Rural Agricultural and Finance Program (RAFP) conducted by Boulder Institute of Microfinance in collaboration with Rabobank Foundation in Utrecht, July 16-27, 2018.

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (USGSA) extended a message to the Boulder Institute of Microfinance for the inauguration our 5th Rural Agricultural and Finance Program, offered in collaboration with RABOBANK Foundation in Utrecht, Netherlands. Her Majesty Queen Máxima is a leading global voice advancing universal access to affordable, effective, and safe financial services emphasizing that financial inclusion accelerates progress toward numerous development and economic goals, including poverty alleviation, job creation, food security, gender equality, equitable growth as well as financial literacy and education.

The Rural and Agricultural Finance Program, created along with FAO, supported by CABFIN, and in collaboration with IFAD, FAO, GIZ/BMZ, UNCDF, WFP, CGAP and the World Bank, is a highly specialized program offered for experienced rural and agricultural finance practitioners and institutions. The objective of RAFP is to enable inclusive and efficient food and agricultural systems, as well as to promote financial inclusion by strengthening the technical capacity of service providers and those institutions serving rural SMEs and smallholder farmers. The program is facilitated by industry professionals across the Rural and Agricultural Finance spectrum. This year, 49 high-level representatives who attended from various countries around the world made the program exceptionally vibrant by engaging in active in-classroom dialogues and interactive discussions with the faculty.

A message from Queen Máxima

"There are more than 570 million farms in the world, 85 percent of which are worked by smallholder farmers. However, formal financial institutions and value chain actors meet less than a sixth of the $200 billion financing need of the small farmers living in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South East Asia. With populations rising, crop demand is expected to double by 2050 and so financing needs is likely to increase.

To support smallholder farmers we urgently need innovative financing solutions complemented by productivity-enhancing initiatives, such as input education, connections to marketplaces, and de-risking agricultural value chains. As women comprise 43 percent of the world's agricultural labor force-rising to 70 percent in some countries-we also need tailored solutions for women farmers. And we know that just giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women's farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent.

I wish to congratulate the Boulder Institute's 2018 Rural and Agricultural Finance Program for this tremendously useful training, which shines a light on creating better financial products and services for those most in need."

- H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA)


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