Queen Máxima has video conference with Côte d’Ivoire on digital financial services

On Thursday 17 June Her Majesty Queen Máxima will meet virtually with government representatives of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to discuss the importance of digital financial services for the country’s economic development. Queen Máxima is the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) for Inclusive Finance for Development.

In Côte d’Ivoire 41% of people older than 15 have a bank account (Global Findex 2017), up from 34% in 2014. The increase is mainly due to the use of digital payment methods and small loans. People with low incomes, small business owners, women and people in remote areas make the least use of financial services. This restricts their scope for development. According to a recent study by the World Bank Group (2020), around 37% of businesses in Côte d’Ivoire, mainly small businesses, had to temporarily close their doors due to the coronavirus measures. The study also revealed that 71% of households have experienced such a severe fall in income that they are no longer able to cover the costs of basic necessities.

Queen Máxima will hold bilateral meetings with Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Patrick Achi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, Minister of Economy and Finance Adama Coulibaly, Minister of the Digital Economy, Telecommunications and Innovation Roger Félix Adom and Minister of Trade and Industry Souleymane Diarrassouba. She will discuss with them what is needed in terms of policy and regulations to ensure good access to and secure use of digital financial services, especially for disadvantaged groups. The role of financial inclusion in economic recovery during and after the coronavirus crisis will also be on the agenda. On a virtual field visit Queen Máxima will speak about the specific needs of SME owners who use digital financial services. Tailored solutions can help them build a financial buffer and raise their income, enabling them to invest in their future and increase their resilience.

The African continent is one of Queen Máxima’s priority regions as UNSGSA. In early March she spoke with President Ramaphosa of South Africa, who was previously also Chairperson of the African Union (Government Information Service press release no. 56). She paid virtual visits to Togo in April (Government Information Service press release no. 113) and to Senegal in January (Government Information Service press release no. 13). During this last visit she also spoke with Governor Tiémoko Meyliet Koné of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which serves the eight countries of the West African Monetary Union (WAEMU). Côte d’Ivoire is one of those eight countries, alongside Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.