Queen Máxima is visiting Bangladesh this week in her role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
Queen Máxima’s visit coincides with Bangladesh’s plans to implement a financial strategy to improve access to its financial services, as only 50% of the adult population have bank accounts or use financial services with banks.
According to a press release posted on the Royal House’s website, “Despite the increase, there are almost 58 million adults who cannot use a bank or savings account, insurance, loan or digital payment methods. This limits their development opportunities. In Bangladesh only 36% of women have a bank account, men 65%.”
Queen Máxima’s visit begins on Wednesday when she’ll hold consultation meetings at the UN office in Dhaka with development partners and ‘fintech’ sector representatives.
Her Majesty will also visit financial companies, like iPay, which provides online payments, and ShopUp, which helps entrepreneurs sell products on Facebook.
On Thursday, Queen Máxima will meet with private sector workers for a roundtable discussion; as well as meetings with the Governor of the Bank of Bangladesh, the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Finance, the President of Bangladesh and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Queen Máxima has held her Special Advocate position for a decade, since 2009. According to the Special Advocate website, she is a “leading global voice on advancing universal access to and responsible usage of affordable, effective and safe financial services.”
Her Majesty also “champions universal access to affordable, effective, and safe financial services for the poor. Collaborating closely with global and national partners, she raises awareness, encourages leadership, works to break down barriers, and supports action to expand financial inclusion.”
Queen Máxima holds a host of financial positions on boards and organisations around the world, including honorary patron of the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion and honorary chair of the Netherlands’ Dutch Money Wise Platform.