July 18, 2024

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Nobel laureate Yunus slapped with 6 month jail term before Bangladesh election

2 min read

The Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, is credited with lifting millions out of poverty in the country of Bangladesh. Grameen became famous for pioneering the concept of microcredit, granting loans of under $100 to Bangladesh’s rural poor. That helped spark a worldwide movement which helped win Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. But a Bangladeshi court now wants to add something else to Yunus’s résumé: A six-month prison sentence.

On Monday, a judge in Dhaka convicted Yunus and three executives of Grameen Telecom of failing to create a welfare fund for employees, among other violations of labor law. The judge sentenced Yunus to six months in prison.

The Nobel laureate called the verdict “contrary to all legal precedent and logic” in a statement on Monday, and called upon Bangladeshis to speak in “one voice against injustice.”

Who is Muhammad Yunus?

Yunus founded Grameen Bank in October 1983, and the bank has since lent over $37.5 billion to Bangladesh’s poor at a recovery rate of 97%. The bank is credited for boosting the South Asian country’s growth through small cash loans, mostly to rural women, for investing in farming tools or other business equipment. The bank lists 12 indicators on its website to determine when one of its customers has moved out of poverty.

Grameen’s success helped pioneer the microcredit model of development. Proponents argued that small microloans to those without steady employment or good collateral could help encourage entrepreneurship among poorer populations, as customers used the funds to start micro- and small-sized enterprises. Microfinance has since come under fire for not being able to deliver on its lofty goals, yet some analysts argue that offering access to financial services still makes a difference to the poor.

In addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, Yunus has received many other accolades including Bangladesh’s Independence Day Award, the…

Lionel Lim

2024-01-03 01:44:54

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