President Cyril Ramaphosa has held talks with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, aimed at advancing economic inclusion for women in Africa.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Presidency said the two discussed tangible action to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women on the continent as a cornerstone of the response to, and recovery from, the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During yesterday’s online discussion ... Queen Máxima sought to understand what key challenges African women face in accessing financial services, and what programmes South Africa and the African Union were currently implementing to address these challenges,” it said.
The queen stressed she was keen to advance the cause for African women in her capacity as UN special advocate, through measures such as connectivity, regulation supportive of digital financial services, digital IDs and robust financial consumer protection measures.
Ramaphosa told Queen Maxima that South Africa was committed to fighting gender-based violence and advancing the economic inclusion of women, his office said.
He highlighted, among the main challenges facing African women, a lack of suitable and affordable financial services for those on the margins of society, restrictions relating to Covid-19, gender-based violence and a lack of access to technology and digital infrastructure.
Some of the fundamental steps South Africa had embarked on to address these challenges included the development of a financial inclusion national policy to ensure that 40 percent of public procurement was in favour of women.
“President Ramaphosa and Queen Máxima agreed on the need to work together to achieve their shared goal of women economic and digital emancipation and committed to meet again to further concretise collaboration and coordination,” the Presidency said.
“Queen Máxima aims to work with President Ramaphosa and other African Union leaders to champion and address key challenges to the empowerment of women in Africa.”
African News Agency (ANA)