The banker who changed the world.
The man, Muhammad Yunus, and his concept of microcredit has swept the world and more than 100 million people have benefited. His mission to eradicate world poverty uplifted the impoverished people of Bangladesh where almost half the country's 140 million people live in poverty.
Dr Yunus pioneered the system of micro-credit; the idea of bankibility of the unbankables, which is today practised in over 60 countries round the world including Europe and the USA. In 1987, when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, he approached Dr Yunus to help them replicate its model in his state. 'Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day,' the old adage runs, 'Teach him to fish, and you feed him for lifetime.'
In 1976, he started by lending the cash he had in his pocket, just $27, to a group of 42 women in a Bangladeshi village. Today, that tiny pool of money has grown into an enormous reservoir of hope and dignity for millions of people the world over. In 1983, he founded 'Grameen Bank'; bank for the poor, in Bangladesh. The bank currently have 28,000 staff and 2,600 branches and are serving 8 millions of borrowers at their door steps, and in thousands of villages, is not only world's unique but also phenomenally successful. The bank lend $100 millions each month and have lent many billions dollars so far.
The rate of loans, which are paid back to the Grameen Bank, is a staggering 98.45 per cent - a recovery rate most commercial banks would love to be able to emulate. The bank now has 6.5m borrowers, 97 per cent of them women, an average loan size of almost $130, is run on an entirely philanthropic basis and is completely self-funding.
Microfinance has played a central part in Bangladesh's success in reducing poverty by almost 10 percentage points over the past five years, to 40 per cent, a rate that puts Bangladesh on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015. It is reported to have bettered the lives of about 70m Bangladeshi women.
Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Noble Peace Prize for 'their efforts to create economic and social development from below,' in 2006. He was also awarded World Food Prize in 1994.
Yunus, born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, won a Fulbright scholarship, in 1965, to read economics in the USA, is acknowledged by the world with his mission, an important break-through, as a fundamental tool in fighting poverty.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin