Queen Máxima to visit Morocco to discuss digital financial services

From Monday 20 to Thursday 23 March, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will visit the Kingdom of Morocco in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. The visit will centre on fintech, inclusive green finance and the development of digital payment systems to improve financial inclusion.

Morocco rolled out a national strategy for financial inclusion (NSFI) in 2019. Today, 44% of its adult citizens have bank accounts, up from 29% in 2017 (World Bank Global Findex Database). The goal is to reach 50% by the end of 2023 and 75% by 2030. A gender gap exists, with 23% more men than women holding accounts. Only 6% of people have a mobile wallet, in part due to limited financial and digital literacy. There are still 15 million Moroccans without a bank account, mostly women, smallholder farmers and small-business owners, and people on low incomes.

Queen Máxima will visit communities to hear first-hand about the impact of financial services on people’s lives and financial health. The projects in question are aimed at helping business owners to insure their businesses, and safeguarding the small local supermarkets that play a social role in communities. Most of the projects that Queen Máxima will visit provide their financial services via user-friendly apps that are designed to meet their customers’ specific needs.

In Rabat and Casablanca, Queen Máxima will meet with representatives from government, international development agencies, financial institutions and non-profit organisations. Topics will include both achievements so far and the work that remains to bring safe, affordable digital financial services within the reach of even more people. Fintech – digital innovation in financial services – is a way to provide business owners with affordable loans and insurance so they can grow and protect their businesses. For example, inclusive green finance helps farmers invest in better agricultural techniques that make them more resilient in the face of climate change. Digital payment systems make transactions safer and more efficient. People in Morocco often receive money from family members working abroad. For those living in remote areas, this can mean traveling long distances to make a withdrawal. Having a digital bank account would make this easier.

The visit will also include bilateral talks with Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, the governor of Bank Al-Maghrib, Abdellatif Jouahri, the Secretary-General of the Government, Mohamed Hajoui, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah Alaoui, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, the Minister Delegate in charge of Digital Transition and Reform of the Administration, Ghita Mezzour, and the president of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority, Nezha Hayat.

This is Queen Máxima’s first visit to Morocco in her UN role. Her delegation will include representatives of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) Reference Group, with which she has worked since 2009, and of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and the World Bank.

Government Information Service, no. 57