Queen Máxima to visit Kenya to promote financial services and financial health

From Monday 23 to Wednesday 25 October 2023, Her Majesty Queen Máxima will visit the Republic of Kenya in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). Improving the quality of digital financial services will be central to the visit, along with financial health and inclusive green finance. 

Queen Máxima will begin her visit with two field trips in the area around Kisumu, near Lake Victoria. There she will speak to farmers who make use of innovative digital insurance policies to protect them from the consequences of major drought and heavy rainfall. In the event of crop damage, the insurer can use satellite information to reliably estimate the loss of income and immediately pay out compensation. Queen Máxima will also meet the founders and users of a digital rental platform for agricultural vehicles used primarily by smallholder farmers. The farmer measures the perimeter of the field to be worked in an app, and the platform then matches them to the owner of a farm vehicle. Later in the day, Queen Máxima will travel to Nairobi to meet young entrepreneurs who will talk about their experiences with digital financial services provided by fintech companies and banks.

In Kenya, 79% of adults have a bank account, up from 42% in 2011 (Global Findex 2021). The increase is due mainly to digital banking, which also provides easier access to other financial services such as savings, insurance and loans. However, 7 million adults, mostly those on low incomes and women, still have no access to these services. During a field visit in Nairobi, Queen Máxima will speak to a female nurse and clinic owner and her patients about the positive impact of accessible digital loans through the Medical Credit Fund. Female clinic owners are often unable to get a loan from a bank. With a loan from the credit fund, they can invest directly in their hospital without regular collateral and thus deliver better care. Repayment is made digitally by daily remitting a set percentage of the clinic’s revenue determined by the clinic’s owner.

In addition to the field visits, Queen Máxima will also participate in talks in Nairobi on various aspects of financial inclusion, including financial health. Both in the Netherlands and in her work for the UN, she advocates financial health as the starting point for developing financial products, services and policy. This includes innovations such as automatically saving small amounts, customised insurance products and affordable loans for investment in a business or study. Inclusive green finance is also on the agenda. Queen Máxima will talk to impact investors about developing financial products that help people protect themselves from the negative impacts of climate change at micro level. At the local UN office, she will speak to representatives of development organisations and will attend the presentation of the UN report ‘Addressing Inequality: Universal Access to Digital Financial Services for Equitable Growth’.

Meetings are also scheduled with President William Samoei Ruto, Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury & Economic Planning Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, Cabinet Secretary for the Interior & National Administration Professor Kithure Kindiki, Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and the Digital Economy Eliud Owalo, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Roselinda Soipan Tuya, and governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Kamau Thugge.

Queen Máxima will be accompanied on the visit by representatives of the Reference Group, which she has been working with since 2009, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the Gates Foundation and the World Bank. She previously paid a visit to Kenya in her role as UNSGSA in 2010.

Government Information Service, no. 260