Vol. 5 Num 1072 Thu. June 07, 2007  
Front Page

German president seeks advice from Prof Yunus on cutting poverty

German President Horst Köhler has sought advice from micro-credit guru Prof Muhammad Yunus on what the industrialised countries should do on reduction of poverty, globalisation, trade, climate change and the environment.

All these issues are likely to come up for discussion at G8 Summit that began yesterday in Heiligendamm in northern Germany.

The Nobel laureate was a guest of President Horst Köhler on Tuesday at the Bellevue Castle in Berlin, according to information received from Prof Yunus's secretariat here.

Explaining the poverty reduction strategies in Bangladesh, Yunus requested the German president to discuss at the G8 Summit setting up of a micro-finance fund for Africa, which is a priority area for Germany.

He said in order to make globalisation meaningful, the industrialised countries should open up their markets for the poor countries.

"Garment export from Bangladesh has been a direct route out of poverty for two million women in Bangladesh today," he said adding, "If export of textiles to the United States could be made duty-free for Bangladesh, a facility already available to LDCs in the Caribbean and Africa, then millions more women could also come out of poverty."

Yunus thanked Germany as the president of the European Union for allowing duty-free access of all Bangladeshi exports to its market.

On climate change, he mentioned that Bangladesh would be one of the countries to be greatly affected by continued rise in global warming.

The founder of Grameen Bank said it is important for the industrialised countries to understand that the actions and lifestyles in the rich countries are directly affecting the lives of millions in the poor countries.

The German president told the Nobel laureate that he would like to continue the discussions with him on globalisation and the environment over the coming months.

Afterwards, Yunus was the chief guest at the opening of the "German Week for the Environment" at Bellevue Castle. Over 1,000 high officials and representatives of NGOs and media were present at the function.

The main theme of the weeklong exhibition is state of the art environmental technology and renewable energy, with possibility of application in developing countries such as Bangladesh.