05.09.2011

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Jacques Attali supports Muhammad Yunus

source : csmonitor.com

“Instead of living a peaceful and confortable life, he chose to engage himself in fighting poverty by developing microcredit, a tool that has succeeded far beyond his expectations. But as often in history, no one is prophet in his country”. By these words, Jacques Attali, economist and writer, co-founder of MicroWorld, defends Muhammad Yunus in an article published in the American “Christian Science Monitor” Revue. Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank who has been dismissed by the Bangladeshi government for political reasons, has done nothing wrong, said Jacques Attali, who described him as a “humble visionary”.

Jacques Attali, who confesses to know Muhammad Yunus for over 10 years, remember that his troubles with the government of his country did not begin yesterday and that Grameen Bank had already been accused to practice high interest rates many times. Attali believes that these rates “are part of the microfinance system, because they help to cover the high administrative costs and to develop a financially sustainable business”. According to him, the charges against Yunus are baseless, so as to judge that Muhammad Yunus maybe “overestimate the impact of microfinance”.

Joining an opinion formulated by Sir Fazel Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the second Bangladeshi Microfinance Institution, Jacques Attali considers that the eviction of Yunus is irresponsible because it may weaken a strong institution of 25 000 employees and more than 8 million of active borrowers. Attali also remembers that Yunus has always been “a pioneering promoter of an intelligent regulation of microfinance, which is essential to enable it to meet its promises”. More broadly, the microfinance sector needs the experience and the legitimacy of Professor Yunus to address the issues of profitability and excessive debt. The international dimension of Yunus may preserve him that chance.

Traduction : Guillaume Blandin

This article is part of the special report: