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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9008
    JPY
    USD
    116.30
    GBP
    USD
    0.6957
    CAD
    USD
    1.3951
    INR
    USD
    68.033

    Rates may not be current.