Friday, March 11, 2011

Prof Yunus and the Grammen Bank

I met Nobel Prize winning economist Prof Muhammed Yunus at his Beatty lecture last year. I found his entusiasm infectious and his ideas very interesting. He wants to help people escape poverty by lending them small amounts of money to start businesses. This is a basic belief in capitalism and human dignity. He apparently has made the government of Bangladesh angry. I side with Prof Yunus!

Nobel winner fights to keep his Bangladesh 'poverty eradication' bank


A long-running vendetta between the government of Bangladesh and the country's Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist, Muhammad Yunus, came to the boil last week when the champion of fighting poverty with small business startup loans was ordered to quit the leadership of his Grameen Bank.

But a spokesman for the bank, general manager Jannate-Kownine, said Yunus will stay on as managing director while he challenges in court the order from the Bangladesh Bank, the country's central bank. The Bangladeshi High Court heard arguments from lawyers at the end of last week.

The picayune grounds for demanding Yunus's removal underline the view that this is a political vendetta against him.

The Bangladesh Bank says Yunus should have retired 10 years ago, at age 60, and a decision by the Grameen Bank board to allow him to continue indefinitely is invalid because the central bank did not approve it.

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