Muhammad Yunus wins 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2006The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.
Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty. Grameen Bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world.
Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.
Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.
Yunus's long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision can not be realised by means of micro-credit alone. But Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that, in the continuing efforts to achieve it, micro-credit must play a major part.
Oslo, 13 October 2006
Here is more information about the Grameen Bank and its vision, from www.GrameenFoundation.org:
What we do
Microfinance - a powerful poverty-fighting tool: Microfinance helps people to escape poverty by giving them collateral-free loans and other financial services to support income-generating businesses. As each loan is repaid, the money is redistributed as loans to others, thereby mulitiplying its impact. For Fatima, a FONDEP client in Morocco, the loans have helped her build a business and new horizons for her children.
Learn more about microfinance
We support microfinance programs that enable the poor, mostly women, to lift themselves out of poverty and make better lives for their families. To do this, we partner with a worldwide network of microfinance institutions. Our work focuses on four key areas:
Supporting microfinance institutions
Our partner microfinance institutions (MFIs) work on the front lines daily, meeting the needs of clients and reaching out to others who can benefit from microfinance. To help them be efficient and effective and increase their outreach, we provide microfinance program support in the form of funding, technical assistance, training and new technology.
Harnessing the power of technology
Grameen Foundation's Technology Center is the leader in information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives that are dedicated exclusively to advancing microfinance. To help microfinance reach its full potential, we are driving industry-changing innovations that increase the efficiency of microfinance institutions' operations, create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor, and provide telecommunications access for the world's rural poor.
Connecting microfinance institutions with capital markets
Our Capital Markets Group is harnessing the vast resources of local and international capital markets to bring new financial resources to our microfinance institution partners. With more than 400 million poor people cut off from financial services, there is a huge, unmet need for microfinance. To reach them, MFIs need capital beyond the traditional philanthropic support to rapidly expand their operations and increase outreach.
Expanding microfinance industry knowledge
New ideas and innovative thinking will drive the expansion and effectiveness of microfinance. Knowledge sharing is an important component of our work. To have the greatest impact on global poverty, we are committed to sharing ideas and innovations with the wider microfinance community. We hope this "open-sourcing" of information will guide other organizations in improving the industry's outreach to the more than one billion people living in abject poverty.