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3 Apr, 2008 05:44

Nobel Prize winner shares secrets of micro-credit

For three decades, Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has been using micro-loans as a weapon to fight poverty. With loans as small as $US 10, he helped millions to launch small businesses. Now he is in Moscow to share his id

At his Moscow presentation on Thursday, Yunus said the need for micro-financing in Russia is huge.

Mikhail Mamuta, the head of Russia’s micro-financing centre, agrees. He says Russia needs no less than $US 10 million for micro-credit.

Most banks won’t loan money unless the borrower has both a credit history and a guarantor. The Bangladeshi economist believes the financial sector should not view micro-credits for small businesses as charity work.

“Anyone can be brought within the framework of the financial services. It is not charity, it’s business, but the business which changes people’s lives,” Yunus says.

To date, Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank is among the top lenders in Bangladesh, and more than 95 per cent of its seven million borrowers are women.

“All the poor families in the world should be leased with micro-credit because it is so helpful. Particularly, it is very beneficial for poor women as they can take their life into their own hands,” Yunus says.

As the Russian government is busy taking anti-corruption steps to protect small businesses, it could also use professor Yunus’ experience to help its economy grow.