News / Economy

Nobel Laureate Urges Financial Services for Poor

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Bangladesh's Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus gestures as he speaks to media representatives before the opening of Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit in Nairobi, 6 Apr 2010
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Bangladesh's Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus gestures as he speaks to media representatives before the opening of Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit in Nairobi, 6 Apr 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

Nobel Laureate Muhammed Yunus is calling on business, philanthropic and political leaders gathered in Nairobi to help eradicate poverty by providing the world's poor with access to financial services.

Speaking to more than 1,500 delegates from 75 countries at the 14th annual Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit in Nairobi, Nobel Laureate Muhammed Yunus called it a "landmark summit".  He said it highlights the microfinance industry's success in the face of the global financial crisis.

Yunus said microfinance continues to flourish, providing opportunities for people in the developing world to lift themselves from poverty.

"In this crisis, microcredit was not the one which was closing down the shops," Yunus said. "It was the big banks which were closing down their shops.  So one of the lessons of these dark days: we need to reinvent banking.  And microcredit provides the direction in which we have to go."

Microfinance is a movement within international development to provide financial services to the poor.  Organizations typically provide small loans, called microcredit, for individuals to start business in their communities.  The practice is seen by many as a means of empowerment for people who have traditionally been denied access to credit and banking institutions.

Called "the Banker to the Poor," Yunus is seen as one of the pioneers of microcredit and the microfinance industry.  He is the founder of the Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank, an organization which has been providing microcredit since the 1970's.  In 2006, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to Yunus, microcredit provides a sustainable business model to solve the world's problems.

"That is what microcredit is all about: business to change the world.  Not making money.  We can change the world by making businesses for healthcare, for environment, for housing, for drinking water, whatever problem we have," Yunus adds.

But Yunus told the delegates many African countries lack the laws necessary for microfinance institutions to operate.  In these countries, donor-funded, humanitarian organizations often provide microcredit, which Yunus sees as inefficient.  He called for African states to establish the legal structure necessary to fully realize the potential of microfinance.

The four-day summit will explore new ideas in poverty eradication.  Discussions throughout the conference will focus on the applications of microfinance in core development fields such as the environment, agriculture and health.

The Africa-Middle East Microcredit Summit is the latest in a series of regional summits held by the Microcredit Summit Campaign.  The organization seeks to ensure credit for more than 175-million families worldwide by 2015.  The next summit will be hosted by Spain in 2011.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9152
JPY
USD
122.70
GBP
USD
0.6494
CAD
USD
1.2374
INR
USD
63.925

Rates may not be current.