Nobel Peace Prize goes to Bangladeshi Yunus !
The Grameen Bank, which means ‘rural bank’ in Bengali, was also given the award jointly.
In 1974 Muhammad Yunus led his students at Chittagong University on a field trip to a poor Bangladeshi village. They met a woman who made bamboo stools, but whose profits were eaten up by the extortionate rates of local lenders. Yunus started lending money himself in the form of "micro-loans" and in 1976 the Grameen Bank Project was born.
Today, Grameen Bank is owned by the rural poor whom it serves. Borrowers of the Bank own 90% of its shares, while the remaining 10% is owned by the government. As of May, the bank had 6.6 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women. With 2,226 branches, the bank claims to provide services to every village in Bangladesh.
The success of the Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations including the United States. The World Bank estimates that there are now more than 7,000 microfinance institutions, serving some 16 million poor people in developing countries. Today, more than 100 countries around the world follow the Grameen model.
Grameen Bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world.
Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.
Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.
Yunus' long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision cannot be realised by means of micro-credit alone.
- Official English text of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's citation in awarding the 2006 Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank.
Congratulations to Professor Yunus !!