Monday, February 22, 2010

Bangladesh - bringing a financial revolution... to Glasgow and New York?

Those who take an interest in economics will be aware of the Grameen Bank, and some will know that it is a Bangladeshi creation, founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus.

For those of you who know less, Grameen Bank specialises in micro-finance, and started off in 1976, offering loans of as little as $1, allowing individuals to create self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. It has developed from such humble beginnings to an organisation with eight million members, having lent $8 billion to the poor of Bangladesh, and has inspired similar enterprises across the developing world.

Recognition came in 2006 with the joint award of a Nobel Peace Prize to Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank, and last year, President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Professor Yunus.

And now, Grameen comes to the West, with a start-up being developed in Glasgow, and has started operations in the home of the brave and land of the free. Ironically, the Scottish project has run into the barrier of the Department of Work and Pensions, with questions being raised as to the impact of withdrawal of benefits on incentives to strive for self-sufficiency.

But that isn't all that Grameen are doing, and tomorrow, I'll be looking at a project attempting to address malnutrition...

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