ISLAMABAD: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands arrived in Islamabad on Monday morning, the latest royal to visit Pakistan following the October tour of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The Dutch queen and a six-member delegation were welcomed in the federal capital by officials of Pakistan’s foreign ministry and the Dutch embassy.
Queen Máxima is visiting Pakistan in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) for Inclusive Finance for Development.
She will be in Pakistan till Wednesday, November 27, and will call on President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, besides engagements with a range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
She is expected to attend the Pakistan Innovation Forum today (Monday) and will later attend the launch of the 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.
Queen Máxima has been the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development since 2009. In this capacity, she is actively engaged worldwide in promoting access of individuals and enterprises to financial services at a reasonable cost, with the aim of improving economic and social development opportunities.
“She [Queen Máxima] plans to discuss progress made on providing access to financial services with the aim of improving the financial lives of people in Pakistan. The Special Advocate will undertake the visit at the invitation of the Pakistani government. It is a follow-up to Her Majesty’s visit as the UNSGSA in February 2016,” read a statement issued by the UNSGSA earlier this month.
“In Islamabad the UNSGSA will speak with international development partners, representatives from the fintech sector, the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Reza Baqir, the Prime Minister’s Financial Advisor Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and the Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Usman Mubin. The Special Advocate will also meet with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.”
“Queen Máxima will attend the launch of the Micro Payment Gateway, an initiative of the State Bank aimed at reducing the costs of small payments and boosting digital transactions to benefit people living in poverty in particular.
“She will also conduct a field visit to a project set up by the CEO Partnership for Economic Inclusion (CEOP). The CEOP is an informal partnership of 10 international businesses in various sectors, working to improve access to financial services and expand market potential. The CEOP met for the first time during the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018 at the Special Advocate’s invitation.
“In Lahore, the UNSGSA will visit several projects with a focus on digital financial services that help business owners develop their businesses,” read the UNSGSA statement.