Queen Máxima to visit Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal to promote access to financial services
In her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Her Majesty Queen Máxima will be visiting the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire from the evening of Sunday 12 June to Tuesday 14 June, and the Republic of Senegal from Wednesday 15 June to Thursday 16 June.
Both Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal are poised to lead the way when it comes to financial inclusion in Africa. Some 41% of adults in Côte d’Ivoire now have a bank account, compared to 34% in 2014. This is thanks in large part to the increased use of digital payments and a national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS). In Senegal, 42% of adults have a bank account – up from 15% in 2014 (2017 Global Findex 2017). In January this year, Senegal launched its NFIS. This was one of the topics discussed during Queen Máxima’s virtual country visit to Senegal in 2021.
The main topics of both visits will be financial health and the further development of affordable, secure digital financial services, especially for disadvantaged groups such as small business owners (including farmers) and women. At present, these groups cannot securely save to establish a financial buffer or borrow money for their business, and they are not insured against failed harvests or illness, for example. Financial health is determined, in part, by the extent to which people can manage their day-to-day expenses and by their overall financial resilience. The country visits will begin with meetings with representatives of international development organisations, followed by field visits. Queen Máxima will speak with staff and clients about projects that provide people with access to financial services and about the impact of these services on people’s economic development.
While in Côte d’Ivoire, Queen Máxima is set to meet in Abidjan with First Lady Dominique Ouattara, who is involved in microfinance initiatives for women, Vice President Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Prime Minister Patrick Achi and other members of the Ivoirian cabinet. Queen Máxima will also visit the Africa CEO Forum, where she will participate in a panel discussion on how fintech can contribute to financial inclusion, providing opportunities for economic development for all. During the forum she will also speak with the CEOs of various financial and fintech service providers regarding their role in financial services. In 2021, Queen Máxima participated in a virtual country visit to Côte d’Ivoire (Government Information Service press release, no. 182, 2021).
In Senegal, Queen Máxima is set to meet in Dakar with President Macky Sall, and the Minister of Finance and Budget and the Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation. Queen Máxima will also speak with other ministers with direct involvement in implementing the new NFIS. At the headquarters of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) in Dakar Queen Máxima will share thoughts on the regional reforms needed to promote financial inclusion. In 2020 and 2021, Queen Máxima had three virtual meetings with then governor of the BCEAO, Tiémoko Meyliet Koné. The BCEAO was established by the eight member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The African continent is one of the focus regions of Queen Máxima’s work as UNSGSA. Since taking on this role in 2009, she has visited various countries in Africa, including Egypt (2010), Ethiopia (2013, 2019), Kenya (2010), Liberia (2010), Mali (2011), Nigeria (2012, 2017), Rwanda (2010), Senegal (2011), Tanzania (2010, 2013) and South Africa (2011).
Government Information Service, no. 182