Articles in the many of Australia’s most respected broad sheets have highlighted a number of instances of how micro lending has caused more misery than good in developing countries. Examples include suicides in India, extortionate interest rates in Mexico and even critism by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh that micro lenders were “blood suckers of the poor”.
The truth is greed, and even political ambition, has tainted micro lending as the unscrupulous manipulate the concept for their gain rather than the benefit of the borrower.
In a letter published in yesterday’s Financial Review, (reproduced below), MicroLoan Australia’s CEO, Clive Hughes, draws a distinsion between, “commerecially focused” micro lenders who are in it for the profit they can gain, and organisations such as the MicroLoan Foundation, which follows the highly successful “socially focused” model developed by Dr Muhammad Yunus – the winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace prize, and one of a very few members of the Global Elders, which includes Nelson Mandella, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson.
Unfortunately, due to Dr Yunus short run political ambitions in his home country of Bangladesh, in 2007, he has become subject to harrassment by it’s political leaders rather than being treated as perhaps one of it’s country’s greatest sons. Earlier this year, Dr Yunus was made to step down from the Grameen Bank he founded in the 1970s, because Yunus was too old to hold the position at 70. This was instigated by the Finance Minister who is 77 years old.
We would love to hear from you if you have any observations or concerns about our operations at the MicroLoan Foundation