Queen Máxima visits German Development Ministry

More support for financial inclusion in developing countries, especially for women

Federal Minister Gerd Müller welcomes Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in the BMZ in Berlin

Press release of 14.12.2016 |

BERLIN – Today there was a meeting between Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), and German Development Minister Gerd Müller. Their discussion focused on ways of boosting efforts to foster the financial inclusion of people in developing countries, especially women. In her UNSGSA capacity, Queen Máxima is attending a meeting in Berlin in preparation of the G20 conferences to be held in Germany next year.

Queen Máxima is the Honorary Patron of one of the G20 working groups. The Development Ministry chairs that group. The group, which is called Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), seeks to give all people – and especially a larger number of women and young people – access to bank accounts, small loans, and cashless payment transactions.

Queen Máxima talked to Minister Müller about Germany's leadership and contribution to the financial inclusion agenda over the years. "Given the strengths of Germany in the financial sector and in supporting financial inclusion globally through its different agencies, Germany has the opportunity to amplify financial inclusion and prepare a multi-year, implementation- and results-oriented agenda under its G20 presidency through the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion GPFI," said Queen Máxima. "It is time for GPFI to move to the implementation phase now, and the link between GPFI and the G20 needs to be strengthened. The Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion should focus on fewer areas in order to increase impact, and on the potential of technology for advancing financial inclusion. Special attention should be given to analysing the finance gap for small and medium-sized enterprises."

German Development Minister Gerd Müller noted: "We can lift millions of people out of poverty by giving them access to microcredits and cashless payment solutions. A small loan and a bank account can be all that someone needs in order to start a business and pay for health insurance. For many people, that is the first step towards establishing a livelihood and that also benefits growth and employment. Our aim is above all to help women become financially autonomous. They are the cornerstone of the family and of society. Through their incomes, women help to support their families and give their children access to education. As the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is a prominent advocate for this topic, which we want to take forward together with our G20 partners."

Savings accounts, loans and insurance products are anything but commonplace for many people. More than two billion people are still excluded from those kinds of services. Until November 2017, Germany will be presiding over the G20, the group of the world's largest industrialised and emerging economies. Germany will use its Presidency to make headway on this topic.

Digitalisation plays a special role in this context. In Kenya, for instance, the mobile phone payment system M-Pesa has become very widespread. It enables people to pay by using a mobile phone. They do not need a bank account to do that. They can upload money at a filling station or at a small shop. Money can be transferred from one mobile phone to another or to a regular bank account. In Ghana in West Africa, where less than half of all people have a bank account, Germany has been providing funding in support of a cashless payment system called e-zwich. If a small village does not have a bank, people can go to a kiosk or a post office to upload e-money and use that money to pay goods or services. Some 1.6 million people are currently benefiting from that system. More than eight million e-zwich payment cards are to be distributed by 2023.

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