H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands held a virtual meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on 2 March 2021. Queen Máxima attended in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). President Ramaphosa is also a former Chairperson of the African Union.
The Special Advocate and President Ramaphosa explored avenues to deepen cooperation to advance women’s digital and financial inclusion, and women’s economic empowerment, throughout the African continent. Digital financial services for underserved groups have been critical to respond and rebuild from the pandemic.
Today’s meeting follows the participation of both the UNSGSA and President Ramaphosa in a G7 Partnership event on women’s digital financial inclusion in Africa held on 23 September 2020. Queen Máxima delivered a speech on this subject to support COVID-19 resilience and recovery strategies.
Increased financial inclusion on the African continent is a priority area of the UNSGSA. The Special Advocate works together with French Minister of Finance Mr. Bruno Le Maire and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Ms. Melinda Gates on advancing digital financial services for women across Africa.
Additionally, last month, the Special Advocate conducted a virtual country visit with Senegal to support inclusive finance efforts in the country. In December, she also held a virtual bilateral meeting with Mr. Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Governor, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), to discuss the progress in inclusive finance throughout the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
Over the years, the UNSGSA has engaged with numerous countries across the continent, including a previous visit to Senegal, along with visits to Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.