The three-day visit of Netherland’s Queen Maxima to Pakistan in her capacity as United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development has brought into focus financial inclusion and digitization and its significance for the country’s development.
As Special Advocate, Queen Maxima is a leading global voice on advancing universal access to and responsible usage of affordable, effective and safe financial services.
During her stay in Islamabad, she attended the Pakistan Innovative Finance Forum jointly organized by and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Karandaaz in collaboration with local partners.
Queen Maxima in her address termed financial inclusion pivotal to the development of Pakistan, which would create more opportunities for people.
She said women and poor segment of Pakistan had great potential to reap the benefits of financial inclusion and digitization in the country.
“There is a great potential for rapid change in the financial inclusion particularly for women and the poor people of Pakistan,” she said at the forum.
She highlighted that the 2017 survey showed that Pakistan had made a remarkable improvement as its financial inclusion had expanded from 13% in 2014 to 21% in 2017.
Queen Maxima pointed out that the UN administration had welcomed the Pakistan government’s efforts of expanding financial inclusion.
She also termed the Pakistan government’s efforts in formulating a revised policy to achieve the financial inclusion goals by 2023 as welcome measures.
Queen Maxima also called on President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan where she lauded the financial inclusion plan of the government.
She also met Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and discussed inclusive financial technology (fintech) and digital finance, which she stressed could present a great opportunity to improve people’s financial lives.
She took keen interest at the State Bank of Pakistan’s initiatives and achievements for increasing financial inclusion under National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2023.
Queen Maxima attended the launch of Micro Payment Gateway, an initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan aimed at reducing the costs of small payments and boosting digital transactions to benefit people and promote financial inclusion.
She also held meetings with PM’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Welfare Dr Sania Nishtar and Chairman NADRA, beside a range of stakeholders from public and private sectors.
Queen Maxima spent an eventful and busy day on the last leg of her visit in the Punjab’s capital Lahore.
In the metropolitan, she visited Bykea, a Pakistani company providing mobile application based services for transportation, logistics and cash on delivery payments.
She interacted with a group of Bykea users and appreciated the success stories, profiling and approaches to the concept.
Queen Maxima earlier visited Pakistan in February 2016.