Starting off in Dhaka, her flight landed at the Shahjalal International Airport Monday morning, greeted by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Bangladeshi Bank Governor, Atiur Rahman.
Máxima travelled in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special for Inclusive Finance for Development and, according to the UNDP, was invited by the Bangladeshi government.
Appointed to her UN position in 2009, the trip focused on her global effort to bring attention to awareness and foster action for everyone’s financial inclusion.
As the special advocate, Máxima campaigns for the advancing the financial inclusion agenda, in particular on financially excluded people and small businesses.
Since 2011, Queen Máxima has also been the honorary patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.
The highlights of the Queen’s trip were: improving mobile financial services for financially excluded populations and SMEs, and strengthening the microfinance sector in Bangladesh.
Máxima wrote in an online statement: “Above all, we must keep in mind that financial inclusion is about human development and empowerment; about giving people the means to improve their own lives.”
“Throughout the coming year I look forward to working closely with a community of dedicated local, national, and international partners to break down the barriers for those who remain outside the financial system. A more inclusive future is starting to unfold.”
During her visit, the Queen met with President Md Abdul Hamid, Prince Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, and Bangladeshi Bank Governor, Atiur Rahman.
In order to achieve her goals, Queen Máxima spent time with members of civil society, the private sector, development partners, and senior officials of the Bangladeshi government.
Outside of her meetings in Dhaka, Máxima visited several locations outside the city to understand the needs of low-income customers like garment workers who are paid their wages digitally.
She also took the time to meet a female entrepreneur who started and grew her business with the help of financial services, with staff and clients of mobile money operations, and banking agents.
The UN has said that access to financial services is important to help reduce poverty, empower women, boost economic development, and achieve development goals as noted in the recently adopted 2030 sustainable development agenda.
Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain].