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November 14, 2019

Netherlands’ Queen Máxima says mobile technology key to financial inclusion

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gives a key note speech at Convocation Hall of Yangon University.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gives a key note speech at Convocation Hall of Yangon University.

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands on Tuesday urged Myanmar to capitalize on the rapid increase in mobile phone services and other digital technologies, saying the country has a “unique opportunity” to overcome challenges and expand its recently adopted Financial Inclusion Roadmap.
Visiting as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, the Dutch royal told a meeting of ministers, professors and students at the Convocation Hall of the University of Yangon that “Myanmar has an exciting chance to leap far ahead with financial inclusion thanks to the rapid rise of mobile phone services and other digital technologies.”
“Other countries have relied on traditional infrastructure such as physical banks,” she said.“But Myanmar may have a unique opportunity to skip this costly and difficult step by using mobile phones to provide financial services.
“This isn’t to say that financial inclusion will happen easily. It will take strong leadership, close cooperation, and careful planning.”
Queen Máxima called for cooperation between ministries, the central bank, regulators, commercial banks, mobile phone companies, payment service providers and knowledge institutions to work together on the delivery of financial services at affordable prices to less-advantaged sections of society.
Mobile penetration in Myanmar is growing fast and is expected to reach 90 per cent of the population by 2019.Currently, about 10 per cent of the population transfers money through a formal institution.
“We know that sustainable and inclusive development never happens overnight, but we also know that by taking lessons from other countries, you can go faster and evade mistakes made elsewhere,” Queen Máxima said.
Today’s students will be the first generation to benefit from the financial inclusion that will be central to making a lasting leap forward for Myanmar, she said.
During her opening address, Queen Máxima also expressed her delight at Myanmar’s efforts for developing a detailed road map to significantly expand financial inclusion responsibly, taking into account the needs of customers as well as banks and government.
After her address at the University of Yangon, Queen Máxima visited the World Vision which is conducting a microfinance programme in 10 villages/wards in Myaungdagar in Hmawby Township.
She began her three-day visit to Myanmar on Monday and held talks with representatives of banks, microfinance institutions and telecom providers in Yangon.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development will attend the launch of the Financial Inclusion Roadmap in Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday.

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