Queen Máxima delivers opening remarks at ASEAN Women Leaders' Summit

November 13, 2020 - 09:33

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands delivers opening remarks at ASEAN Women Leaders' Summit on Thursday, highlighting the importance of good access to and use of financial services for development


Queen Máxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Photo Martijn Beekman

HÀ NỘI — In her role as special advocate to the UN Secretary-General for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), Queen Máxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has addressed the importance of good access to and use of financial services for development.

Delivering opening remarks at the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit, on Thursday, on the theme of "Women Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Development in a Changing World", Queen Máxima focused in particular on disadvantaged groups such as women, small entrepreneurs, farms and people with a low income. 

She emphasises that the development of public goods such as good telecom connections, cyber security, data privacy, digital ID cards and financial and digital skills are crucial for the safe and full use of financial services. This is in line with the recommendations of ASEAN's Working Committee on Financial Inclusion.

The current corona crisis shows that inclusive financing is an important tool for partially absorbing the socio-economic consequences. According to the World Bank Group's Global Findex 2017, in many Asian countries, less than 50 per cent of the adult population has access to a formal bank account.

The virtual ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit was held on Thursday within the framework of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings which takes place from Thursday to Sunday.

Invited participants to the Women Leaders' Summit are heads of state and senior government representatives from member states and representatives of international organizations such as the World Bank Group.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc described women as an indispensable factor in the process of building peace and sustainable security.

Most recently, women’s role has been proved in the fight against COVID-19 when countries led by women record deaths that are six times lower than those in other countries, he said.

He cited the UN’s estimate as saying that 435 million women and girls will be pushed into poverty by 2021, 47 million of them are directly hit by COVID-19. Additionally, social distancing policies and national resources for pandemic prevention and control also contribute to increasing domestic violence and reducing the quality of key medical services for women. VNS