Queen Máxima made her first day of visits to Côte d’Ivoire this Monday, June 13, 2022. Financial health and the development of digital financial services are the two main themes that the Queen of the Netherlands will address in the coming days in Ivory Coast, then in Senegal.
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Queen Máxima is interested in loans and savings in rural areas of Côte d’Ivoire
Since 2009, Queen Máxima has been appointed Special Advocate to the United Nations Secretary General for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). The UNSGSA targets policymakers with the goal of expanding financial inclusion globally, working closely with public and private sector partners. Queen Máxima, who worked in the financial sector in New York before becoming a member of the Dutch Royal Family, fulfills this mission throughout the year and also presents her report on inclusive finance annually.
Arrived Sunday, June 12 in Abidjan, the first day of visits began this Monday for Queen Máxima. Queen Máxima will make a few visits to Côte d’Ivoire, accompanied by First Lady Dominique Ouattara, involved in microfinance initiatives for women, Vice-President Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Prime Minister Patrick Achi and other members of the Ivorian government.
Read also: Queen Máxima welcomed in Abidjan: start of her trip to Côte d’Ivoire and then to Senegal
Queen Máxima visited a community of women living in a very rural area, in the village of Abobo. These women learn to save together safely and to lend part of the joint savings to women who want to do business. The NGO Care helps Village Savings and Loan Associations (AVEC) to access financial institutions and teaches them how to manage their money. “Savings groups are self-managed groups of 15-25 people who meet regularly to save their money in a safe space, access small loans and obtain emergency insurance”explains Care.
Many small cashew farmers in rural areas of Côte d’Ivoire do not have stable incomes. Queen Máxima heard how Wi-Agri’s digital platform connects cashew farmers to buyers and financing.
During her visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Queen Máxima will notably visit the Africa CEO Forum, where she will participate in a round table on how fintech can contribute to financial inclusion, offering economic development opportunities for all. During the forum, she will speak with the CEOs of various financial and fintech service providers.
According to the World Bank’s latest Global Findex report (2017), 41% of Senegalese aged 15 and over have a bank account. This represents a 34% increase since the previous report in 2014. During her trip to Côte d’Ivoire, Queen Máxima is expected to make several visits with First Lady Dominique Ouattara, who is involved in microfinance for women.
At present, these groups cannot safely save to build up a financial reserve or borrow money for their business, and they are not insured against crop failure or disease, for example. Financial health is determined, in part, by how well people can manage their day-to-day expenses and by their overall financial resilience. Country visits will begin with meetings with representatives of international development organizations, followed by field visits.
In Senegal, Queen Máxima is due to meet President Macky Sall, the Minister of Finance and Budget and the Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation in Dakar. Queen Máxima will also meet with other ministers directly involved in the implementation of the new NFIS.