Why the banker who helped millions of Bangladeshis out of poverty became his country’s enemy number one
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Muhammad Yunus is an unlikely target for a hate campaign. The 73-year-old economist is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with his pioneering concept of microfinance – a feat for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.
In the past few years, he has been removed as the head of the bank he founded, investigated for tax fraud and subjected to personal attack by the prime minister. And this week, a coalition of Islamist groups with links to the government will bring thousands on to the streets in Dhaka to denounce him. So why is a man known as the “banker to the poor” the target of so much ire?
Despite his age, Professor Yunus is an energetic man. He lives in Bangladesh but travels much of the year all over the world promoting and setting up social businesses to encourage the use of microcredit – the awarding of small amounts of money to those who are unable to get loans from traditional lenders.