BANKER TO THE POOR
MUHAMMAD YUNUS & A. Jolis WINNER OF THE 2006 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
‘It’s not people who aren’t credit-worthy. It’s banks that aren’t people-worthy’ Muhammad Yunus ‘The story of an extraordinary achievement’ Doris Lessing Muhammad Yunus set up the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to lend tiny sums to the poorest of the poor, who were shunned by ordinary banks. The money would enable them to set up the smallest village enterprises and pull themselves out of poverty. Today, Yunus’s system of ‘micro-credit’ is practised in some sixty countries, and his Grameen Bank is a billion-pound business acknowledged by world leaders and the World Bank as a fundamental weapon in the fight against poverty. Banker to the Poor is Yunus’s own enthralling story: of how Bangladesh’s terrible 1974 famine underlined the need to enable its victims to grow more food; of overcoming scepticism in many governments and in traditional economic thinking; and of how microcredit was extended into credit unions in the West. ‘An amazing account of the way in which one man with a vision and the right values can turn the established order on its ear’ John Elkington, Guardian
AUTHOR’S PREFACE My experience working in the Grameen Bank has given me faith; an unshakeable faith in the creativity of human beings. It leads me to believe that humans are not born to suffer the misery of hunger and poverty. They suffer now as they did in the past because we turn our heads away from this issue. I have come to believe, deeply and firmly, that we can create a poverty-free world, if we want to. I came to this conclusion not as a product of a pious dream, but as a concrete result of experience gained in the work of the Grameen Bank. It is not micro-credit alone which will end poverty. Credit is one door through which people can escape from poverty. Many more doors and windows can be created to facilitate an easy exit. It involves conceptualizing about people differently; it involves designing a new...