Grameen bank under threat?

Campaigning site Avaaz.org is reporting that the autonomy of Grameen Bank, the pioneering microloans bank set up by Dr Muhammad Yunus, is in danger of losing its autonomy in a move by Bangleshi PM Sheikh Hasina, which Avaaz reports as being politically motivated.

The Avaaz site says:

" One powerful woman is threatening the future of millions of others. But if we all weigh in right now we can rescue the people-powered bank that's an inspiration to the world.

The Grameen Bank has enabled millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them tiny loans to buy animals or equipment to start earning money. But Bangladesh's jealous Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has fired its Nobel Prize winning founder Muhammad Yunus and now wants to seize control of the bank, all to silence a political rival. This takeover could break the bank and destroy millions of people's hope. "

Avaaz go on to call for a petition to shame the PM into dropping her plans to change the way a new leader is selected for the bank. You can read more, and sign the petition here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_world_best_bank/?copy




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Ann Andrews CSP

annandrews-72869

Grameen bank under threat?

perhaps this is a classic lesson in having a successor!! ann

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Andrew Horder

andrew-horder

Grameen bank under threat?

I think it worth pointing out that the Bangladeshi PM's stated intentions do not include closing the bank down. However, appointing the wrong person to run it could seriously damage it, and microlending generally, especially in the region. The technical reason for the removal of Dr Yunus is that he is over the mandatory retirement age for a bank leader in the country. And, officially, the government has the right to appoint 25% of the bank's board and its chairman. Talk of Grameen upping sticks and moving out of Bangladesh is probably unrealistic, to be effective it needs to able to operate on the ground, and that requires cooperation with those in authority locally. A bit more detail in these opinion pieces, but do your own research too: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/microfinance-under-fire/ http://beinformedjournal.org/2011/3/3/pioneer-of-microfinance-dr-muhammed-yunus-fired-from-the-gra.html#.UHaIL1Hor-A

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Ann Andrews CSP

annandrews-72869

Grameen bank under threat?

Tell Dr Yunus to come to New Zealand - we'd love to have him here and we have one of the most trusted banking systems in the world. Don't know what he is supposed to have done wrong but whatever it is it can't warrant closing down this amazing service ......are we sure this isn't just jealousy and politics? ann

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Peter Jones

innovator-35196

Grameen bank under threat?

Agreed about the "on-the-floor" view. Yet we live in the internet age. Should the Bangladeshi politicians find the Grameen Bank "inconvenient", Dr Yunus could up sticks and move it somewhere else, preferably with a low World Bank corruption index to make the transition smoother. Easy to say, getting easier to do. If the economic litmus test here is "Is Bangladesh better off with the Grameen Bank than without it", the ploiticians of all hues will normally take notice and moderate their actions. Should Dr Yunus be deemed to be outside what is legally or morally acceptable, then there is a conversation to be had about adjusting what is happening on the ground. Threat of closure seems extreme, so publicity and public opinion is another tool that can be brought to bear on "miscreants". But the huge majority of us in the West don't know enough to be able to compare the Grameen Bank situation with what Bangladesh deems acceptable. We need a trusted commentator. Who would you recommend, Venkataramanaiah ? Peter Jones.

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Grameen bank under threat?

That's really interesting, listening to Venkataramanaiah's response, it confirms that there's an 'on the ground' reality that differs from our external perspectives. So new approaches to the same problem need to be applied to shift the paradigm from the village to the country's capital.

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Venkataramanaiah Chekuru

venkataramanaiahchekuru-485007

Grameen bank under threat?

Dr.Yunus seems to have assumed that he will be allowed to work when the rulers interests are threatned/inconvinient?In South Asia we call it ADDA and that is normally reserved for heriditory political class of the area and you have to mend your ways even if you want to do public good?This culture exists from village to country's capital?Paradigm shift is needed to tackle this issue without which development in the long run is impossible?

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Ann Andrews CSP

annandrews-72869

Grameen bank under threat?

yes I've signed the petition too - can't believe a woman would do this or even think about doing it. The Grameen bank has saved so many women and young girls having to go into prostitution - shame on her. ann

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Gary Grimshaw

garygrimshaw-78181

Grameen bank under threat?

It is my understanding that these type of micro-loans have a very low rate of failure compared to that of more traditional banking and it would be a great shame to have politics stand in the way to those that need it most.

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Grameen bank under threat?

I know the background well. The question I raised recently was of ethics in social investment. Yunus is without question a force for good, yet some of those aligned with him have questionable ethics. Is it acceptable for those lesser known and their own beneficiaries to be pushed asife in the name of social impact? Do we need ethics in social investment?

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Mike Turner

miketurner

Grameen bank under threat?

Well done for posting here Andrew. I've signed the petition the result of an email from another member this morning. Mike

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