Queen Máxima (centre) briefing reporters
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and UN agencies- WFP, FAO and IFAD – senior officials paid a two-day visit in Ethiopia aimed at supporting efforts to make financial services more accessible, help improve the lives of the rural poor, among others.
In a press briefing held at Sheraton Addis Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) Queen Máxima said: “Greater access to affordable, timely and reliable financial services such as savings, payments,credit and insurance can help low income households enhance their food security and resilience, as well as benefitting small business owners, smallholder farmers and other groups in terms of overall economic and rural economic development.”
She indicated that as Ethiopia has great potential, 80 - 85 per cent of the population live in rural areas, realizing financial inclusion service is extremely important for rural, agricultural development and transition.
“We had very good conversations with the Prime Minister including other senior government officials, donors, partners and cooperatives about how we can improve financial inclusion issue further,”Queen Maxima said.
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin also said that they visited jointly implemented projects run by UN agencies to improve food security and income generation activities of smallholder farmers in Hawassa.
“Over the years, WFP has moved from food aid to food assistance. It has been working hard to ensure and provide the tools that would allow people to feed themselves. In Ethiopia, we have a number of programmes working with IFAD and FAO to implement targeted projects.”
Designated in 2009 by the UNSGSA, Queen Máxima is an active global voice on the importance of inclusive finance for achieving development and economic goals.