Queen Máxima wrapped up her 3-day UN visit to Pakistan with a promise. If the ambitious targets for financial inclusion the country has set for itself are met, she will gladly return. The queen confirmed her promise during a press meeting in Islamabad, where the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wahtra confessed to having changed the goal posts at the urging of the queen.
Pakistan set a goal of having 50 percent of the adult population have a bank account by 2020. A tremendous challenge while currently only 11 to 16 percent, depending on the definition, have that access. Mr Wahtra suggested the goal could me met one or two years earlier. 'That would ensure the reurun of the queen. We are looking foward to that', he said in a most charming way. Queen Máxima did not voice any doubts about the goal being reached, but emphasized that Pakistan now has to implement all the plans drawn up for the extension of financial inclusion of its 200 million strong population.
The queen paid a visit to Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in the morning, and sollicited his support for the far reaching plans. Earlier during her visit she also held talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
As she usually does during her country visits the queen in her role as Special Advocate for financial inclusion explored projects that aim to improve the lives of the poor by utilizing transformative financial tools. Among the programs she visited were the Benazir Income Support Programme, which delivers government support to women through digital accounts, and Easypaisa, a digital, branchless banking service that utilizes banking agents located in shops, where customers can deposit or withdraw cash, and even take out insurance.
Máxima also met with clients at the Kashf Foundation, which offers small loans to women to promote entrepreneurship, provides them with financial training, and inform them about other financial products. © RB Hans Jacobs