He’s an economist, a banker and the man who developed the concept of microcredit. Mohammad Yunus set up the Grameen bank in Bangladesh more than 30 years ago, and in 2006 they were jointly awarded the the Nobel Peace Prize. In simple terms the concept he dreamt up was to loan small amounts of money to entrepreneurs, too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. His view was that rural poor people had skills that with a little financial backing could help lift them out of poverty. He also strongly believed that people from a poorer background were more likely to repay their loans.
He’ll be with us for the whole of Friday’s programme taking your questions not only about microcredit but about the global financial crisis. If you’ve recently lost your home or job or fear they are under threat or are feeling the pinch in your pocket – he is here to answer your questions.
But in these difficult economic times, when many people are thinking that western banking systems have failed – are there lessons to be learnt from microcredit?
For many people in poverty in the developed world, the only way to get hold of money is to borrow from loan sharks with exorbitant interest rates – have you borrowed money in this way? Do you think microcredit could work for you?
The loans are primarily taken up by women and by 2006 it had loaned $5.7bn and had 6.6 million borrowers in Bangladesh.
Not everyone believes it works. This blogger says the problem lies with the expectation by some that it is the answer to rural poverty. Vijay Mahajan, Chairman of Basix, an Indian rural finance institution says microcredit “seems to do more harm than good to the poorest”
Post your questions below for Mohammad Yunus.