Queen Máxima participates in online roundtable meeting with South Africa on financial health

On the afternoon of Thursday 15 February Her Majesty Queen Máxima participated in an online roundtable meeting on financial health with representatives of the South African government and financial institutions. Queen Máxima is the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

The roundtable meeting was organised by the office of the UNSGSA and the South African financial services provider Nedbank. A study conducted by Nedbank into South Africans' financial health indicated that 69% struggle to pay bills, 33% cannot meet their mortgage repayments and 50% have no savings to cover unexpected costs. Over 67% experience financial stress because of problematic debt. (Source: NedFinHealth Monitor Survey, 2023.)

Both in her UN work and in the Netherlands, Queen Máxima advocates for financial health to be a guiding principle in the design of financial products, services and policy. Examples include innovations such as the automated saving of small amounts to build a financial buffer, insurance products tailored to people’s needs, affordable loans for business or educational needs and government regulations that help protect consumers. 

Financial health is the extent to which a person or family can smoothly manage their current financial obligations and have confidence in their financial future. This includes being able to absorb financial shocks, being on track to reach future goals, and feeling secure and in control of finances. This is the definition given by the UNSGSA Financial Health Working Group. 

Since 2009, Queen Máxima has been working worldwide in her capacity as the UNSGSA to make financial services available to all, including low-income groups and small and medium-sized enterprises, thus enhancing their opportunities for economic and social development. 

Government Information Service, no. 37