Over the last few days, a crisis which had been building for months, reached a peak. The Central Bank of Bangladesh decided to remove Pr. Yunus from his post as Managing Director of Grameen Bank, which he founded 30 years ago. Pr. Yunus is remaining in his post for the moment and his lawyers are appealing the decision with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
I started paying attention to Pr. Yunus after I picked-up his book, Creating Social Business in New York city last summer. I then had the privilege of attending a workshop of the Grameen Creative Lab in Montreal and being invited to attend the Global Social Business Summit in Germany in November 2010. Pr. Yunus was present during these events. I heard him talk and saw him interact with hundreds of individuals.
Muhammad Yunus is one of the most impressive individuals I have had a chance to meet. He speaks softly, but with assurance. His purpose is serious but he uses wit and humour to deliver a compelling message. He appeals to man’s highest values. He comes across as a champion humanitarian. His power of attraction is universal.
Pr. Yunus is a pioneer of social innovation. Often called the father of microcredit, he started the Grameen Bank and a movement that spread all over the world. He has helped take millions out of poverty. Here are some quick facts:
- Grameen Bank has loaned more than $9 billion to 8 million poor people
- 97% of its clients are women, who are also owners of the bank
- It operates 2,500 branches in over 81,000 village
- It has a 97% loan recovery rate
- It has a record of 99% literacy in 2nd generation
Recently he developed the concept of Social Business which is just taking off and winning converts from grass-roots non-profits, academics and large corporations like Danone, and Adidas: “I am proposing to create another kind of business, based on selflessness that is in all of us. I am calling it social business.”
I have a hard time believing the allegations mounting against him. I am not alone: a tsunami of support is building from all corners of the world: the World Bank, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, The New York Times, The Bangladesh paper Daily Star and dozens of public figures (including Hilary Clinton, Mary Robinson and James Wolfensohn) are publicly supporting Pr. Yunus.
You can learn more by consulting the www site of Friends of Grameen here.