US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus would hold a meeting early today at the residence of the US ambassador to Dhaka.
The meeting between Prof Yunus and Clinton, an ardent supporter of the pioneer of microcredit, comes almost a year after Prof Yunus resigned from Grameen Bank, which
he set up three decades ago.
The meeting would take place at a time when the financial health of Grameen Bank is looking shaky and the government is apparently trying to take over about 50 legally
independent associate organisations linked to the bank.
In March 2011, only five years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Prof Yunus was ignominiously thrown out of his job as managing director of the bank, which shocked
many of his admirers and supporters around the world.
“The Banker to the Poor” had challenged the legality of the central bank letter in court. But the High Court upheld Bangladesh Bank’s decision. He also had appealed
against the verdict with the Supreme Court but the decision remained unchanged.
Prof Yunus, who also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the King Abdul Aziz Medal, and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, resigned on May 12 last year to avert
undue disruption in Grameen Bank activities.
Bangladesh Bank’s move to remove him came several months after a documentary film was aired on a Norwegian TV channel alleging that Grameen Bank had transferred
donors’ money, given to Grameen Bank, to another sister organisation. This generated an uproar at home and abroad.
A section of Bangladeshi media jumped to take a swipe at him publishing fabricated stories one after another. At the same time, political heat was fanned with
politicians belonging to the ruling alliance making provocative comments.
Later, Norway refuted the allegations saying no irregularities or corruption had taken place, giving Prof Yunus a clean chit.
The brazen removal of Prof Yunus from the bank has apparently started to affect profitability of its core business–a fact that was repeatedly stated by supporters of
The bank incurred a loss of Tk 24 crore last year.
Grameen Bank is the first bank in the world, which provides money to poorer people without asking for collateral. Its 83.5 lakh borrowers, most of them women, own 97
percent of the bank.
Its microcredit operations have been copied across the world including the United States. It has lent $10.3 billion since it began operations.
-With The Daily Star input