BUENOS AIRES – After meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, The Netherlands’ Queen Maxima, visiting her native land as a United Nations adviser, said Wednesday that there is much yet to be done regarding financial inclusion in the South American nation, calling for increased access to banking services, loans and Internet connectivity.
In a joint appearance with Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti, with questions posed to the queen in her capacity as a UN representative on financing for development, Maxima said that on her two-day visit she has spoken with government and private sector officials about the benefits of inserting the public into the financial system.
“It’s expensive to be poor because people who are in ... poverty don’t have access to the services that other people can have. Being included in the financial system is very important” so that “they don’t incur those costs,” the monarch said.
Among Argentina’s problems with regard to financial inclusion, Maxima said that today only 50 percent of the public has “access to a bank account,” that people’s savings represent only 15 percent of the GDP – compared with 41 percent in neighboring countries – and just 3 percent of all loans are given to small and medium businesses, the lowest figure in the region.
Also, access to the Internet and smartphones are key, according to the wife of Holland’s King Willem-Alexander, to be able to make progress in electronic access to money.
Before meeting with Macri, the queen visited the Argentine Central Bank to speak behind closed doors with its president, Federico Sturzenegger, and other officials, meeting later with Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay.