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Friday, October 13, 2006

Muhammad Yunus Wins Nobel Peace Prize

By Rob Katz

Muhammad Yunus, who developed the idea of microfinance and later founded the Grameen Bank, is the 2006 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is not his first peace prize. The Wikipedia entry is already updated to reflect today’s news; I suspect the mainstream media will be saturated with coverage over the next few days.

I?m thrilled to see a pioneer like Yunus receive an award of this caliber; it will probably mainstream microfinance in a way that we’ve never before seen. Maybe now the press will stop its often cookie-cutter coverage of the topic, and instead focus on more cutting-edge news. How about stories on interest rate caps, the underserved gap between microfinance and venture capital, and the role informality plays in keeping businesses micro, just for starters?

Regardless of how this story is covered, however, it can only be a good thing. Congratulations to Dr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank, and to all the people working hard every day to bring financial services to the BOP.
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