Dutch inclusive finance sector commits 3 billion euros to reach SDGs

Dutch inclusive finance sector commits 3 billion euros to reach SDGsThe thirteen largest Dutch investors cooperate as members of NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance, and have renewed their commitment to use their investments to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the NpM event ‘Financial inclusion: a prerequisite to reach the SDGs’ which was hosted at FMO, the Dutch Development Bank on 7 September.

The Dutch inclusive finance investors focus on specific goals. For SDG 2 ‘Zero Hunger’, Rabobank Foundation and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, collaborate to promote Agtech (agriculture technology) and Fintech (financial technology) solutions to increase agricultural finance. FMO’s Andrew Shaw introduced the FinForward Initiative. “An acceleration and discovery program via a business-to- business app where we support financial institutions by matchmaking them with Fintechs that could help them realise their strategy. We feel that the fintech conversation is less about who is the disruptor and who is the incumbent, and more about the ecosystem and new partnerships and alliances.” Pierre van Hedel, Managing Director Rabobank Foundation: “The world depends for 70% of our food production on smallholder farmers. The only way to guarantee food security is to increase yields per acre. Precision agriculture is the solution here, for which the use of geodata applications is key. Smallholder farmers and financial institutions receive information based on data from satellites that make farming more profitable. With more precise weather information farmers have higher yields which improves their risk profile allowing banks to provide credit more easily.”

The sector also focuses on SDG 10 ‘Reduced Inequalities’. Laure Wessemius Chibrac, Managing Director Cordaid Investment Management: “We invest in financial institutions in fragile states where access to financial services is almost impossible to offer. Cordaid for example invests in a financial institution in South Sudan, where there are a lot of conflicts. This financial institution recently opened a branch in Northern Uganda for their clients who fled to this region. Their clients are now able to have access to their bank accounts or to get a loan to set up a business.”

SDG 17 clearly indicates that the key to success is partnerships. Hans Docter, Director for Sustainable Economic Development at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “The Dutch government invests substantially in the SDGs and The Netherlands has a strong inclusive finance sector, but it is important to grow this sector and ensure that regular financial institutions and markets are more enticed to enter these markets. In order to realize the SDGs we have to mobilize trillions instead of billions and connect more private investors to opportunities. We need all hands on deck.”

Josien Sluijs, Director of NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance: “After 40 years of building a financial infrastructure in developing countries, we are now at a stage where the infrastructure alone does not generate the ultimate effect. We have started to look beyond creating products and opening branches, to have greater impact. This implies cooperation with a more diverse stakeholder group in a more complex setting. This Dutch multi-stakeholder approach we built is unique in the world.”

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