Queen Máxima visits Bangladesh to promote access to financial services

Her Majesty Queen Máxima is to visit the People’s Republic of Bangladesh from Monday 16 to Wednesday 18 November in her role as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, at the invitation of the Bangladeshi government.

Bangladesh has considerable experience with microcredit loans for small businesses. It is Queen Máxima’s first country visit in her capacity as Special Advocate since the new sustainable development goals were adopted by all UN member states in September this year. Access to financial services has been incorporated into a number of these goals as an important tool for reducing poverty, boosting economic development and improving the position of women.

On Monday 16 November Queen Máxima will speak with several donor organisations in Dhaka about their role in inclusive finance and cooperation with partners like the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and local UN agencies. She will also have discussions with representatives of microcredit organisations about expanding financial services, and talk to legislative bodies about the options for expanding mobile bank services.

On Tuesday 17 November the Queen will visit a garment factory outside Dhaka, where she will meet entrepreneurs, staff and others to hear about their experience with loans and other financial (including digital) services. In the afternoon she will meet with the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Atiur Rahman, and will attend a meeting to present plans for a digital and inclusive financing strategy.

On Wednesday 18 November Queen Máxima will meet the Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, and the Minister of Finance, Abul Maal A. Muhith. There will also be a roundtable discussion with representatives of the banking sector and a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina.

Queen Máxima was appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in September 2009. In this capacity she advises on access to financial services and is committed to achieving this for everyone worldwide, with a special focus on boosting the development of low-income groups and the SME sector. The Queen has been Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) since June 2011.