Her Majesty Queen Máxima had a number of online digital meetings with government representatives of the Togolese Republic on April 22. The meetings concerned digital inclusive finance and the role it will play in economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. Queen Máxima is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).
In recent years Togo has undergone positive changes when it comes to inclusive finance. This is partly thanks to mobile banking. In the period 2011 to 2017 the number of people aged 16 or over with a bank account rose from 10% to 45% (Global Findex 2017). In response to effects of the corona pandemic Togo recently launched the Novissi emergency cash transfer scheme, which has so far provided an estimated 820,000 people with financial help. The entire process – from applying for financial support, providing identification and assessing applications to transferring funds to a bank account – takes place digitally.
Queen Máxima spoke with a number of key figures including the Prime Minister of Togo, Victoire Tomegah-Dogbé, Minister of Economy and Finance Sani Yaya, Minister of the Digital Economy and Digital Transformation Cina Lawson and Minister for Financial Inclusion and the Informal Economy Mazamesso Assih. The subjects they discussed included completing the National Strategy on Inclusive Financing and improving access to digital financial services for disadvantaged groups, such as women and residents of remote rural areas. Togo is one of the eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The other members are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
The African continent is one of Queen Máxima’s priority areas as UNSGSA. In early March she spoke with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who was previously also Chairperson of the African Union (Government Information Service news item no. 56 ). In January she paid a virtual visit to Senegal (Government Information Service news item no. 13) and spoke with Governor Tiémoko Meyliet Koné of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which serves the countries of the WAEMU.
Photography by Martijn Beekman.