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By Godfrey Olukya 10-12-2013

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the three food
agencies of the United Nations have teamed up to raise awareness of
how access to financial services such as bank accounts, short-term
credit, small loans, savings and insurance can help improve the lives
and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the rural poor,Africa press
has reported.

Queen Máxima has joined s the visit in her capacity as UN
Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for
Development (UNSGSA). She arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday at the
start of a five-day trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania, together with
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme
(WFP), Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy-Director-General of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization(FAO), and Adolfo Brizzi, the Director of
Policy and Technical Advisory Division at the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD). On Wednesday, the group is scheduled
to travel to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where they will stay until 13
December.

Queen Máxima and the senior representatives of the three Rome-based UN
food agencies FAO, IFAD and WFP will meet in both Ethiopia and
Tanzania with senior government officials and high officials of
national and international financial organizations. During fieldtrips
in both countries they will meet rural community members and
smallholder farmers and discuss how expanding access to financial
services can help farmers to manage irregular cash flows and respond
to external shocks such as drought and flood, invest in capital to
improve their productivity, reach markets and access insurance to
mitigate risks of crop loss.

The UNSGSA and the three food agencies are working together with
governments and the private sector to extend financial services to
marginalized groups, especially women, who often face legal and policy
barriers, as well as disproportionate obstacles to services, training
and information. Greater financial inclusion can also help increase
the success of small producers who are not served by microfinance, but
are also often perceived as ‘too risky’ by commercial banks.

On Thursday, 12 December, Queen Máxima will givethe keynote speech
during the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Framework at the
Bank of Tanzania. A press conference will follow this event.

Press briefings of the four UN organizations will be held in Addis
Ababa on 11 December and in Dar es Salaam on 13 December.

END

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