Queen Máxima to give virtual speech at launch of Pakistan’s Micropayments Gateway ‘Raast’

On Monday afternoon 11 January Her Majesty Queen Máxima will give an online speech at the launch of Pakistan’s Micropayments Gateway ‘Raast’. This project was initiated by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the non-profit organisation Karandaaz with the aim of reducing the costs of small payments and boosting digital transactions to benefit people living in poverty in particular. Queen Máxima will be speaking in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

In her speech Queen Máxima will talk about how ‘Raast’, Pakistan’s Instant Payments System, the can contribute to other national initiatives to make financial services more accessible. Inclusive finance is also important to economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It requires easy access to and safe use of financial services such as bank or savings accounts, insurance, loans, pensions or digital payment methods. By digitising financial services and making use of technological innovations, more people can be reached, particularly those in disadvantaged positions, such as women, low-income groups, smallholders and small business owners. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and SBP governor Reza Baqir will also speak at the event.

Queen Máxima visited Pakistan as UNSGSA in 2016 and 2019 (Government Information Service press release nos. 24 and 279). Shortly before her visit in 2016 Pakistan launched its first National Financial Inclusion Strategy. In 2019 Queen Máxima spoke at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the SBP and Karandaaz on the establishment of the Micropayments Gateway.