UN

UN on Thursday promised to support the Ethiopian government’s efforts through strategic planning and expertise, mainly in the financial and digitalisation endeavours.

The Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, said this during her meeting with Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance Ahmed Shade.

The queen, who is currently in Ethiopia as part of a three-day visit aimed at promoting access to financial services to the country, envisaged to promote digital applications in Ethiopia’s financial services and the development of digital national identification (ID) system.

The queen currently in Ethiopia for a three-day visit aimed at promoting access to financial services to the country.

The queen envisaged to promote digital applications in Ethiopia’s financial services and the development of digital national identification (ID) system.

On Wednesday, Maxima, during her meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, also stressed that “the timing of the changes taking place in the country were crucial.”

“She lauded the changes in liberalisation and privatisation of various sectors, particularly telecom as impressive in facilitating financial inclusion,” the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office said in a statement late Wednesday.

Ahmed shared key priorities of the Ethiopian government “in laying the critical foundation for structural changes to enable technology enhance inclusive financing,” the statement read.

Maxima reiterated the UN’s continued support to the Ethiopian government’s efforts towards digitalisation.

Maxima, who also met with Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria as part of her ongoing visit to Ethiopia, stressed the UN’s readiness to provide technical, knowledge, and advisory support.

Maxima, expressing her concern regarding internet speed and information security, also urged the Ethiopian government to give particular emphasis to rural communities, according to the ministry.

The Netherlands queen has been the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development since 2009.

Similarly, the gender digital divide remains largest in Africa, especially in the low income countries, Fatou Lo, UN Women Representative in Rwanda on Thursday said.

Lo said this at a panel session on the sidelines of the 5th edition of Transform Africa Summit in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

“When you compare to other regions across the globe, you find that gender digital divide, especially in the use of internet, mobile ownership and computers, remains largest in Africa.

“Bridging the gender digital divide in low and middle income countries could add up to 140 million dollars a year to the mobile industry, Lo said.

Technology can be a great enabler for girls but a lack of opportunities, skills and a fear of discrimination prevent many from embracing the global digital revolution, said the official.

According to her, to bridge the gender digital divide gap in Africa, girls and young women need equal access to technology and digital training.

The four-day summit, dubbed Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy, brings together about 4,000 participants including policymakers, regulators, young innovators and officials from Africa.