Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eradicate poverty according to Muhammad Yunus

The seventh Mandela Memorial Lecture was presented by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize winner and the founder of the Grameen Bank recently. (Read more here). This was particularly meaningful to me as a South African. First, because this was a lecture in honour of Nelson Mandela (The icon of South Africa), who as Prof Yunus put it: "...inspired the whole world". Second the lecture was given by some-one that has done so much to help human kind achieve what I also believe in and that I have been working on for the past ten years. Some of the messages of the lecture rung true:

1. … those who told us it (Grameen Bank) would collapse – they collapsed.
2. ...that poverty does not lie in the person but rather is a result of systems put in place by society.
3. ...capitalism needs to evolve such that it encourages businesses that incorporate the selfless aspects of the human condition.
4. Let’s make South Africa the first county without poverty,” he said, “and let’s do it fast, let’s do it in the next 20 years,”

However, I still believe that the community based model of Grameen Bank is not really scalable and that the only way that we can truely bring financial inclusion to every-one is via mobile banking, as I have been quoted saying.

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