Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who was in Indonesia for a three-day visit (30 August - 1 September), emphasized the importance of financial inclusion. Máxima, who came in her role as United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), met several high-positioned policy makers and officials (including Indonesian President Joko Widodo) in Jakarta and made a field trip to a school in Bogor (West Java) to inspect a student savings program that was initiated by Indonesia's Financial Services Authority (OJK).
Argentina-born Máxima, who married Dutch King Willem-Alexander in 2002, also spoke at the FinTech Festival and Conference in Jakarta, where she expressed positive words about Indonesia's progress in economic development. She was also positive about the rising pace of financial access in Indonesia, while savings have become widespread. Financial access in Indonesia grew from 20 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2014, she said.
Financial inclusion (or inclusive financing) is defined as the availability of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. Maxima, also the Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, is tasked to raise awareness of the benefits of nationwide financial systems that support the poorer segments of society.
Máxima added that a remarkable finding in (unspecified) research is that women's financial inclusion is ahead of men's financial inclusion in Indonesia. This is something rare, around the globe. She added, however, that there is still ample room for further growth and that the geographic composition of Indonesia (an archipelago that consists of thousands and thousand of island, characterized by weakish infrastructure) creates challenges. It is of vital importance, however, to provide banking access to small businesses, farmers and fishermen in order to combat poverty, create a just society and push for accelerated growth.
During her visit Máxima also inspected the implementation of student bank accounts and e-warung cooperatives that sell staple foods.
At Indonesia's Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), where she met Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, Maxima emphasized the importance of the nation's electronic identity card (e-KTP). Through this card Indonesian citizens get a unique number along with encrypted fingerprint, photo and demographic data. This unique number is used for online verification and is therefore also a vital element for financial inclusion.
When visiting the central bank of Indonesia, Maxima found a friend in Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo who explained that financial inclusion is one of the priorities of the central bank. Financial inclusion is important especially as a World Bank report (released in 2014) states that only 36 percent of Indonesia's adult population holds a bank account.
Earlier this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the Netherlands to discuss bilateral trade relations, investment, water management and maritime partnerships. On that occasion (22-24 April 2016) Widodo also met Queen Maxima and King Willem Alexander.