Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Microfinance Has Macro Impact

"Most people in the world never get to unwrap the gift they carry with them and then we say they're poor people and have pity on them. It's not them, it is the way we built ourselves, our system..." - Muhammad Yunus

According to Matthew Swibel at, “Microfinance has become a buzzword of the decade, raising the provocative notion that even philanthropy aimed at alleviating poverty can be profitable. Instead of merely writing a check (then writing it off), why not make a tidy profit from a short-term, high-interest loan, most for under $200, so that a Mexican seamstress may buy a new sewing machine? Billionaires, global leaders and Nobel Prize recipients are hailing these direct loans to uncollateralized would-be entrepreneurs as a way to lift them out of poverty while creating self-sustaining businesses.”

In a recent online list, economist Muhammad Yunus was listed as one of the “stars” of the Microfinance movement. Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight poverty through micro-credit, and has essentially been dubbed "the father of microfinance." His model of lending small sums to people too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans has been copies globally and has become the basis for a new and growing private-equity industry.

eClips captured a recent lecture given by Yunus where he discussed his background and how he came to create the concept of microfinance. He also shared his belief that society has to give all people the ability to reach their potential.

View one of Yunus' clips below:

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