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April 14, 2008 Bahrain - Trade Exchange : Yunus Microcredit knowhow; Bangladesh Inward Investment - This from Gulf News: By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor
Dubai: Nobel laureate Professor Mohammad Yunus is to advise the Gulf governments,
including the UAE, to enact legislation and establish a regulatory framework for microcredit institutions.
East's two million microcredit borrowers represent about 1.33 per cent of the world's 150 million microcredit borrowers,"
said Professor Mohammad Yunus, who in 2006 won the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering microcredit that changed the lives of
7.5 million Bangladeshis.
He told Gulf News on the sidelines of the International Islamic Finance Forum in
Dubai which kicked off on Sunday, "The region has the lowest penetration of microcredit simply due to lack of initiatives.
However, the governments here must enact legislation and set up regulatory bodies to facilitate the growth of microcredit
in the region.
"We are talking to the governments of the Gulf countries to set up the regulations for microcredit
institutions. I will meet Shaikh Nahyan [Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan] on these issues."
In the Arab world, microcredit
has penetrated slightly in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt. Yunus will discuss microcredit and social business
legislation with Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, whose Abu Dhabi
Group has pledged $3 billion investment in Bangladesh.
"I will also be exploring joint venture projects with
Shaikh Nahyan on social business projects," he said.
Some of bangladesh's most innovative
“Grameenphone CellBazaar is a user-generated virtual marketplace, accessible via mobile phone or PC
to nearly 17 million people in Bangladesh. In developing countries, limited communications hinder commerce and uninformed
farmers and traders have little bargaining power with exploitative middlemen. Using CellBazaar, buyers and sellers trade basic goods from their mobiles, bringing the benefits of information exchange and one-to-many trading
to a previously unwired rural population. Users post or search an item, spending less than US$.02, either by SMS or WAP or
WEB, depending on their preferences. While common telephony establishes one-to-one communication, CellBazaar links many-to-many
using the same basic mobile infrastructures.”
Judges’ comments: “Great initiative - full marks
for self-sustainability. This grass root level initiative is not only for operators to make money but for rural folks to sell
and trade their goods and increased price transparency and help for the illiterate is also available. It has clear environmental
benefits through reduced travel.”