Monday, February 26, 2024

Achievements in 10 ‘unlawful’ yrs

When a person passes a decade in a position “unlawfully” and then is suddenly removed for that “unlawful” occupation, one tends to ask what he did and how his organisation fared during that passage of time. For Prof Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank in which he served as the managing director, those ten years were the golden time of phenomenal rise and glorious shine. Bangladesh also shone bright with him and Grameen Bank.
Set aside the fact that it was the deeds during that decade that actually caught the attention of the wider world and eventually brought Nobel to the country, Grameen Bank became a model to be emulated in 40 countries — from China to America, from Bolivia to India — across the globe to set millions of impoverished people free from the yoke of poverty. Millions of faceless people suddenly got their faces back as human beings. For once, the world had a solution to help the end-of-the-line people come out of poverty.
And with the transformation of Prof Yunus, whom the international community regards as the messiah of the poor, Grameen Bank also shone in its ledgers. If the simple and traditional parameters of banking are applied to measure its progress during that ten years, its achievements were astounding.
For one, Grameen Bank’s deposits increased 20 times; its profits soared to a new height; and the number of its members tripled.
The year 2000 — when, according to Bangladesh Bank, Grameen’s founder Professor Muhammad Yunus exceeded the mandatory retirement age — saw the bank making a profit of only Tk 1.1 crore. The next year, its profits jumped six times.
Since then, there was no looking back for the microfinance bank in terms of profit.
In its history, Grameen Bank posted profits exceeding Tk 100 crore thrice after that period.
The?bank?had deposits of nearly Tk 105 billion and outstanding loans of Tk 68 billion, as of 2010.
The bank stepped into the new millennium with 23.78 lakh members across the country. Their number has tripled to 83 lakh — 97 percent of them women — at the end of the last year.
Its coverage reached great heights during that period. The microcredit institution had 68,467 centres covering 40,225 villages in 2000. It now operates in 83,458 villages with 144,106 centres, covering the whole of Bangladesh.
Grameen Bank doubled its branches in a decade to 2,562 in 2009 from 1,160 in 2000.
Since its inception, the bank has disbursed Tk 622.26 billion.
The bank charged the lowest interest rate — 20 percent — in the sector in Bangladesh, where allegations of charging a lending rate as high as 45 percent are rife.
The bank has not only provided means of livelihood to the country’s poor, but also created jobs for more than 22,000 people by doubling its staff in the last one decade. The majority of its employees are from the poorer section of the society.
The bank and its legendary founder Prof Yunus jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below” in 2006.
The achievement, seen as the best prize for the country since the independence, gave the sector a strong boost at a time when critics started to question the effectiveness of microfinance programmes in Bangladesh as well as other countries across the globe.
The bank received the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize in 2000 awarded by the Indian government and Petersberg Prize four years later by the Development Gateway Foundation of USA.
These followed the Independence Day Award in 1994 and World Habitat Award by Building and Social Housing Foundation in the UK in 1997.
US President Barack Obama conferred Prof Yunus the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour that recognises the awardees’ contribution to the nation and the world, in August 2009.
Prof Yunus’ dedication to lift people out of poverty brought him more than 110 awards including the Bayreuth Leadership Award 2009, SolarWorld Einstein Award 2010, PICMET Award 2009, Gold Medal of Honor Award, USA 2009, Golden Biatec Award 2009, Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service 2009, Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize 2009, World Affairs Council Awards, California 2008, Global Humanitarian Awards 2008, and RED CROSS Gold Medal 2007.
The long list also includes Seoul Peace Prize 2006, Global Citizen of the Year Award 2006, King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award 2000, and Sydney Peace Prize 1998.
Yunus’ microcredit concept of giving small loans to the poorest of the poor without any collateral in an exception to conventional banking methods, has given birth to thousands of similar organisations in Bangladesh as well as other countries across the world.
The Grameen Bank model has been applied in 40 countries around the globe. It was first replicated in Malaysia in 1986.
In January 2008, Grameen America opened its doors to underserved people, who do not have access to banks and mainstream financial institutions in the world’s biggest economy.
Although a new player in the domestic microfinance industry, Grameen America saw considerable growth in the first year. It disbursed more than $350,000 in micro-loans and registered more than 165 borrowers in the first three months.
Grameen America opened a branch in Omaha, Nebraska in 2009, making it the first microfinance institution in Omaha and Grameen America’s first operational branch outside New York City.
It also opened two additional branches in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in January, 2010. All the branches have witnessed rapid growth in the short period of their operation, according to Grameen America that has more than 5,000 borrowers.
Washington-based Grameen Foundation supports microfinance institutions in countries including India, China, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, the United States of America, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Grameen Bank model continues to be replicated around the globe, despite the fact that Bangladesh Bank relieved Yunus of the post of managing director of Grameen Bank on claims that his reappointment to the position was not done in line with the laws that govern the microcredit organisation — a decision that stunned his countless admirers across the world.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more