Vol. 5 Num 849 Sat. October 14, 2006  
Front Page

Nobel Prize was long overdue for Yunus
Economists, business leaders say

In the field of development idea, Nobel prize for Professor Muhammad Yunus was long overdue and it is in recognition that the country has something to offer to the world, top economists, researchers and business leaders observed yesterday.

"We feel very proud. Nobel prize was long overdue for Yunus," said Professor Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think-tank.

It is a great pride for the nation. Grameen Bank has become a globally renowned institution for pioneering microcredit, said Rehman, a teacher of Prof Yunus.

Professor Wahiduddin Mahmud, another noted economist and a former adviser to caretaker government, said: "It will elevate our image greatly in the global community. We are now part of the Nobel prize family. It is a recognition that we have something to offer to the world."

He is the only contemporary economist whose hands-on poverty alleviation experiment has now become part of the mainstream economic theories and been included in the standard textbooks, noted Wahiduddin.

"Yunus has had little faith in the traditional economic ideas for poverty alleviation. Economic theory has been enriched by his practical work," he said. "Today, microcredit is one of the most influential ideas world-wide for poverty alleviation."

By this award, the Nobel committee has recognised the importance of empowerment of the poor for poverty alleviation. That global poverty and peace are interlinked signifies this year's Nobel Peace prize, Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud said.

"It is a great day for Bangladesh. And it is matter of pride and pleasure for all of us," said Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, former finance minister.

Professor Yunus deserves the award because he has long been pursuing a dream and a revolutionary idea that succeeded, he said adding that Yunus gave microcredit to the poor and it worked and another high point is empowerment of women.

"He has done the country proud and we are very happy. Congratulations!" Muhith went on.

Professor Muzaffer Ahmed, who taught Yunus at Dhaka University, said, "I am very proud of him. He has done what he dreamt."

Debapriya Bhattacharya, executive director of CPD, said Yunus has made the Bengali nation proud.

Eradication of poverty is the most important challenge for the mankind and Prof Yunus had made a singular innovative contribution to it, he said. "In that, he is one of the greatest revolutionary social reformers of our time."

And the award is going to inspire those who are fighting for social justice and social inclusion, female empowerment and the interest of the low-income countries, Debapriya mentioned.

It's not just an achievement for Dr Yunus or Grameen Bank, rather it's a great stimulus for the people groping for something to improve the country's image abroad, said the business leaders yesterday.

Dr Yunus' winning the Nobel prize is the recognition of successful entrepreneurship and also enterprise, they observed.

It proves the country is an emerging tiger in the context of world economy that Dr Yunus himself had mentioned in his speeches. By winning the prestigious award, he and Grameen Bank have showed all that ours is not a country of failure, but of success, they noted.

"It's a great news for the nation," said Mir Nasir Hossain, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

When the country had been struggling with its image a few years ago, Dr Yunus's Grameen Bank introduced it to the world as a pioneer of microcredit. The same person is here again to introduce Bangladesh as an emerging nation at a time when it has been suffering badly from an image crisis.

Fazlul Huq, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said,"When the entire nation is going through political unrest, this news can work as an inspiration for them to go forward to better days."

Latifur Rahman, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said it is a very deserved honour for Dr Yunus as well as Grameen Bank and a great day for the country.

"We should take it as an inspiration for the country," he observed.

He said it shows that Bangladesh and its people have the potentials for good things as well.

Rokia Afzal Rahman, convener of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (BFWE), said this recognition will help the country's women in their struggle for empowerment.

Yunus strives to bring the distressed and poor women into the economic mainstream by providing collateral free small loans, she added.

She said the idea of forming groups among the poor women and lending them start-up money for business changed the scenario of women empowerment in Bangladesh.

"It's an event of great joy. The whole nation as well as the business committee are happy about this achievement," President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) MA Momen said.

"The award has come at a time when the nation is in a state of instability, and this may help solve the ongoing political crisis," he added.

Those who have been confused about the role of microcredit lending scheme will now be able to accept it with an open mind, the DCCI president said.

President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) SM Fazlul Haque in a press release said that Dr Yunus has brought a huge honour for the country by winning the award.

Mentioning his contribution to poverty alleviation, he said the microcredit scheme of Grameen Bank is followed as a model not only in Bangladesh but also in other developing countries.