Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has been in Jakarta, Indonesia, to speak on financial inclusion at the Indonesia Fintech Festival and Conference. She is in the country as part of her role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
Upon arrival at the conference, she was greeted by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. She also signed the guest book after delivering her speech Tuesday afternoon.
In her speech on Tuesday, Queen Máxima said, “Indonesia’s commitment to putting financial tools into the hands of the poor starts at the top, with President Widodo. His visionary Nawa Cita or Nine Priorities agenda pledges to expand financial inclusion to half your adult population by 2019.”
She continued, “As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, I am very much in agreement with the President’s priorities. Many of these objectives are also reflected in the UN’s ambitious new Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted just a year ago…Financial access jumped from 20 to 36% between 2011 and 2014. Savings is widespread. Some research even shows women’s financial inclusion ahead of men’s, which very few countries have accomplished!”
After her speech, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between United Nations Development Programme and Financial Service Regulatory Authority (OJK) to increase financial inclusion for poor and remote areas in Indonesia.
That same day she met with different international partners including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, and the local UN office. According to the Dutch Royal House’s press release, they were to discuss “how inclusive financing is progressing in the country.”
Yesterday, the Dutch Queen visited with several shopkeepers who are also banking agents and expanded their businesses due to small loans that were given to small businesses. More, she visited a school project outside of the Indonesian capital where young people are taught the importance of saving and budgeting. This project is run by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority and Bank Negara Indonesia. These students are able to open savings accounts at their school through a mobile bank.
Later, Máxima attended a round-table with representatives from telecom companies, financial organisations, Ministry of Finance, Bank Indonesia, and microfinance institutions where they discussed financial services and improving access.
Today, she met with the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo to discuss financial inclusion in the Asian country. She also attended a press briefing where she explained that financial inclusion is good for the economy and expressed her dismay that so many around the world are “invisible to the financial system.”
On Monday, an article, written by Her Majesty, was published in The Jakarta Post. In her op-ed, Queen Máxima wrote in part, “Poverty is almost as difficult to eradicate as it is to endure. But today, countries around the world are embracing financial inclusion — the provision of bank accounts and other financial services to people who have long been excluded — as an effective and sustainable way to help poor people thrive…I am visiting Indonesia this week to celebrate its commitment to financial inclusion and to discuss how it can achieve its goals.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Queen Máxima his Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in September 2009. As part of her role, she was last in the country from 3 to 5 April 2012.
You can read Her Majesty’s full speech from the Indonesian Fintech Festival and Conference here.